A staple for households the world over, pasta dinners aren’t anything new but a perfect vegan bolognese to accompany some carby goodness? That’s a revelation.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
1 medium white onion
2 cloves garlic
150g closed cup mushrooms
2 medium carrots
3 large celery stalks
1 box of passata
90g dried soya protein mince
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp mixed herbs (optional)
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp turmeric
3 smalls sprigs of thyme
200ml hot water
- Start with the labour-intensive part, which is finely dicing all the vegetables. There’s no hard rule about piece sizes, but the smaller you dice, the morse tender your veggies will get and in a shorter amount of time. Also, you want to try and create a consistent texture, so aim for the vegetables to be of a similar size to your soya mince.
- Combine the hot water and stock cube, stirring until there are no lumps. Add the dried soya mince and leave to one side to hydrate and soften up.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and add your diced white onion. Sautée until it starts to take on a translucent appearance. You are not looking for colour here, just the cooking process to begin. Add the garlic and all your herbs (leave out anything you dislike), before also bringing the tomato paste into the mix.
- With everything thoroughly combined and starting to sizzle, add the rest of your vegetables in roughly two-minute intervals. Start with the carrots as they will take the longest to cook, then add the mushrooms and celery. By now, the pan will be smelling like a proper vegan bolognese, so throw in the soya mince and any leftover stock too.
- Make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan, perform another big stir and finally, bring everything together by adding in the passata. Cook for a few minutes to allow the tomato sauce to heat through and take on the aromatic flavour of the other ingredients, before using to top your favourite pasta.
Don’t think that just because you’re whipping up the ultimate vegan bolognese that you have to plump for spaghetti, though it will pair so well, especially if you reserve a little of your pasta cooking water to add to the sauce, to help it cling to each carby strand.
We have to admit that as much as it might be sacrilege to some, we have enjoyed conchiglione shells with bolognese (they fill up with sauce so neatly). Farfalle and rigatoni tubes are outstanding when a big dollop of tasty sauce creeps inside.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to adapt, upgrade and tweak your vegan bolognese, so consider the following:
- Add a glug of earthy red wine just after the tomato paste to deglaze the pan.
- Include some diced red pepper.
- Add a splash of balsamic vinegar or soy sauce for depth of flavour (tamari can be used for a gluten-free alternative).
- Use a fresh plant-based beef mince alternative for a faster version.
- Finish with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan and a few fresh basil leaves.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can play around to create the ultimate vegan bolognese that suits your palette. As long as you end up with a rich, thick and glossy sauce that leaves you feeling full and satisfied, you can’t go wrong.
Also, if you find yourself with any leftovers (unlikely, we know), combine sauce and pasta, pop it in the oven in a bake-proof dish, top with breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast and you have a perfect pasta bake for lunch the next day.