Bolognese is a recipe that is very close to my heart as it is the first meal I ever learned to cook. It is also the first recipe I ever wrote. As a single parent I would make spaghetti Bolognese for my son, Connor, as it’s his favourite. I only gave him Bolognese on bath nights as he would get himself into such a mess with the sauce all over his face, arms and clothes!
This incarnation of my little boy’s favourite meal has come a long way since I came up with my first recipe about six years ago. So has my little boy, but he still loves Mummy’s Bolognese! The original recipe was made with Quorn mince but, as a vegan, I no longer eat Quorn since it contains egg. For the version I’ve used a combination of red and green lentils and I have fallen in love with it! It may be a cliché, but the humble lentil really is a vegan’s best friend; it’s packed with protein and there are countless types of lentil ranging in size, colour, flavour and texture. I could never get bored of lentils!
Nowadays, we enjoy Bolognese as a family, and neither of my boys ever leave a scrap of it!
In other news, my first batch of homemade tempeh has been a success. I’ll be making a few more batches and trying out different types of tempeh before I post about making tempeh, but I will also have a few quick and easy recipes to show how convenient it is to have a batch of tempeh in the fridge!
This post is shared at Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up and Veggie Wednesdays along with loads of other great plant-based recipes!
Chunky Vegetable and Lentil Bolognese
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 pointed red peppers (or two red bell peppers), sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 courgette, halved lengthways and sliced into half-moons
75g each red and green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp vegan Worcester sauce
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried marjoram
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried rosemary
¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
½ tbsp agave syrup
50ml non-dairy milk
Sea salt and black pepper
Vegan cheese to serve, if desired
- Place a large cast iron pan or other heavy based saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray with olive oil. When hot, add the onion, carrot and celery and saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
- Add red peppers, mushrooms and courgette and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their water and the liquid has evaporated. Add the lentils, passata, 300ml water and 1 vegetable stock cube. Stir to mix well.
- Add the Worcester sauce, dried herbs, dried chilli flakes and nutmeg. Stir and bring to a low boil. Cover partially and reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes until the lentils are tender. The red lentils will be mushy but the green lentils will still hold their shape and have a bit of ‘bite’.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh herbs, agave and non-dairy milk. The agave and milk will cut through the acidity of the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with whole wheat spaghetti and garnish with fresh herbs and a grating of vegan cheese, if desired.