Vegan Bolognese Sauce – Why Did I Decide to Make It?
Bolognese sauce was probably one of the first Italian pasta sauces I cooked. (Although looking back, I am not sure if I can even refer to it like that. Now I know it was so far from being authentic!). Years later I learnt how to make it the proper, Italian way. And now, for some time already, I have felt I had to make Vegan Bolognese sauce.
Why vegan Bolognese? There are at least two reasons.
Firstly – both of my daughters haven’t been eating meat for a while now. But they used to love the classic pasta Bolognese.
Secondly – if we care about ourselves and our planet, we all should reduce the amount of meat we eat. This plus a few other suggestions are the recommendations of scientists from 16 countries gathered around EAT-Lancet Commission that defined a healthy and sustainable diet.
I am obviously not trying here to convert all the meat-eaters to feed on greens only. Furthermore, I have never hidden that I do eat meat occasionally. But I do think that it is healthier for us and better for the environment to have more plant-based meals. Especially if they look and taste the same as their meaty prototypes.
Can Mushroom Bolognese Taste Like the Original, Meaty One?
You may wonder how it is even possible for the mushroom Bolognese to taste the same as the one cooked with beef and pork? I myself think there must be a bit of magic happening in the pot while the sauce is cooking!
Because I just replaced the meat with the champignons and some red lentils, and then prepared the vegan sauce almost exactly the same way as the meaty one. But, miraculously, the final dish – Vegan Bolognese sauce – really tastes like the original. You can either believe me (I checked it on many people) or even better – you can test it yourself!
Vegan Bolognese Sauce (Mushroom Bolognese)
- 1 onion peeled
- 1 carrot peeled
- 1 celery stalk*
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g mushrooms
- 2 tins tomatoes (400g each)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp sugar
- 300 ml dry red wine
- 50 g red lentils
- salt and pepper.
- Either very finely chop or process in a food processor the onion, carrot, celery stalk and garlic.
- In a big heavy pot warm up the olive oil, add the chopped vegetables and fry on a medium heat stirring often for 5 minutes.
- Finely chop the mushrooms using a knife or a food processor (if you use the latter, be careful not to turn the mushrooms into a mash!).
- Increase the heat to high and add the chopped mushrooms; fry for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, sugar, wine, some salt and pepper (you will adjust the taste at the end so don’t add too much at this stage); once everything starts to boil, decrease the temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Stir in the lentils and cook for further 15 minutes.
- Check the seasoning.
- Serve the sauce with tagliatelle or pappardelle cooked al dente and grated Parmesan cheese (if you are vegetarian) or its vegan substitute.