Amazingly delicious, the perfect weeknight family dinner
If you’re looking for pasta comfort food that is easy to make, filling and full of flavor then our vegetarian vegan spaghetti bolognese recipe is just what you are looking for!
This delicious lentil, vegetable spaghetti pasta sauce recipe is amazing, tasty and is a firm family favorite.
Ideal for meatless Mondays, Veganuary in January or simply for a good healthy dinner, you’ll love this family meal and want to cook it again and again.
Where does it come from?
It won’t come as a surprise to hear that bolognese sauce comes from Italy, not actually from Bologna as you’d presume but the general consensus is that it’s from the West of Bologna, from a city called Imola.
The traditional bolognese sauce is a meat sauce that is very slowly cooked, the longer the better, and it’s known as ragu.
To the rest of the world, bolognese sauce is a tomato sauce that usually has meat added, but obviously not in this plant based meat free recipe!
Worried you’ll miss the meat?
That’s understandable, many people worry that a spaghetti bolognese recipe without meat won’t satisfy them.
This hearty, delicious vegan spaghetti bolognese recipe will chase all of those doubts away!
Using the natural umami, which is a meaty flavor, that mushrooms have, we ensure that this bolognese sauce recipe is delicious.
What mushrooms should I use?
We’ve used two kinds of mushrooms in our recipe, porcini and woodland mushrooms.
A Porcini mushroom has a delicious meaty and earthy flavor.
That’s what makes them ideal for vegetarian and vegan cooking as it’s a great way to add an umami flavor to your meal.
These mushrooms are very popular in Italian cooking, they are great for sauce and you’ll find them in many pasta dishes.
The great thing with a porcini mushroom is that it is dried, so you can keep a jar in your store cupboard, rehydrate them when you need them and never run out.
We threw in some delicious woodland mushrooms for some extra depth and flavor in our recipe.
What mushrooms can I substitute porcini mushrooms with?
If you can’t get your hands on porcini mushrooms, then we’d recommend using shitake mushrooms to give you that umami boost, they are a good alternative in this vegan spaghetti bolognese recipe.
Is it vegan?
The traditional bolognese sauce isn’t vegan or vegetarian because it’s simmered with beef.
Our delicious plant based meat free vegan spaghetti bolognese sauce recipe is 100% vegan!
What lentils do you use for vegan bolognese sauce?
In this delicious hearty meat free recipe, we’ve used red lentils, green lentils and puy lentils.
Lentils are good for you and, when cooked right, they taste great.
They are high in fiber and in protein and they are also low in fat. It’s no wonder lentils are used so often as an alternative to meat.
In vegan bolognese sauce recipes, they give a good texture to the sauce in replacement for the meat.
What vegetables go in a vegan bolognese?
We’ve taken the traditional spaghetti bolognese recipe and included many of the vegetables and ingredients and of course, with this delicious vegan bolognese, we’ve put our own mark on it.
The veggies we’ve used are porcini mushrooms, woodland mushrooms, onion, aubergine (eggplant), carrot, celery and parsley.
If you don’t have all of those then the bolognese sauce will still taste great, just substitute with vegetables that you have that will suit the style of the dish.
Do you simmer bolognese with lid on or off?
You’ll need to simmer your vegan bolognese sauce with the lid off.
The reason is that you want the water in the sauce to evaporate and to become thicker.
How long should you let bolognese cook?
You can decide the cook time, how long you do this for, it all depends on how thick you like your yummy bolognese sauce but be careful not to burn it!
We’ve simmered our sauce for an hour but you can do it for two, three or four hours – it’s totally up to you.
Do I use vegetable stock or red wine?
In this tasty vegan spaghetti bolognese recipe, we’ve kept it family friendly and used vegetable stock.
If you’d like, you could use red wine or a mixture of stock and wine.
Can I batch cook it?
Absolutely! Our vegan spaghetti bolognese sauce recipe is great for batch cooking.
Especially as the plant based tomato sauce needs to cook for at least one hour.
It’s ideal to do all of the prep all of the ingredients and cook a large batch that can be frozen in your freezer.
Then when you are looking to feed your hungry family midweek, all you need to do is to pull out the plant based bolognese sauce from the freezer, defrost and reheat with a really quick cook time, what’s not to love about this yummy recipe?
Can you freeze it?
The great news is that you can freeze vegetarian spaghetti bolognese sauce!
So, in the unlikely event that you have any leftovers, you can put them in a airtight container and freeze them.
So it’s a good idea to make ahead and make a batch and freeze some of it so it’s ready to eat whenever a hassle free family fancy this amazing hearty dish.
You’ll also be able to keep the bolognese sauce in the fridge for up to three days.
Don’t freeze the pasta though, you’ll want to cook that fresh on the day.
What pasta should I use?
The obvious pasta choice is, of course, spaghetti.
But if you don’t have spaghetti or fancy a change then tagliatelle pasta, pappardelle, linguine or fettuccine are all great types of pasta.
You could even choose tubular shaped pasta such as penne or rigatoni can be used.
Gluten free spaghetti is also available, so if you have a gluten intolerance, then try gluten free spaghetti.
With pasta, you should always buy the best you can afford.
Quality pasta always makes such a difference to your meal.
Can I buy shop bought sauce?
Yes, you could buy store bought, that’s no problem but we think making your own vegan bolognese sauce is much better, fresh sauce made by you always wins hands down.
What are the ingredients for the sauce?
In our recipes, we love to use the earthy and umami taste of the porcini mushroom and woodland mushrooms.
We prefer to use a combination of passata, canned chopped tomatoes and tomato puree for the base of the sauce. It’s all a personal choice and you can definitely make your sauce using fresh tomatoes if you’d prefer, our recipes are flexible.
Other veggies that we include are celery for a little crunch, grated carrot and aubergine or eggplant.
Lentils are delicious in our vegan bolognese sauce and we use a mixture of lentils, in this recipe we’ve used the fabulous puy lentil, also green and red lentils.
The beauty of using lentils is that they give the bolognese sauce a real texture and replaces the meat.
Of course, you can’t cook Italian food without including garlic! We also throw in thyme, parsley, chilli pepper flakes and sweet paprika.
We’ve not used dried oregano or fresh basil in this recipe, as we don’t think it needs it but you can if you want to.
Is it worth the effort?
Oh yes, we think it definitely is worth the effort!
Once you’ve completed your prep time, have all the veggies chopped and have started cooking this amazing vegan bolognese sauce, you’ll start to realise how special it is.
Something wonderful happens when all of the ingredients start to cook, the aroma, the texture and the flavor is just beautiful.
We think you are going to love it and be very glad you cooked this bolognese recipe!
How to make spaghetti bolognese without meat
Get ready to make one of the best spaghetti dishes you’ve ever made!
Don’t get put off by the amount of prep time for this dish as it’s totally worth it and will soon become one of your favorite recipes and you’ll be glad you’ve put the effort in.
This delicious fresh vegetarian spaghetti bolognese serves 4 – 6 hungry people.
The first thing to do is to soak your porcini mushrooms in boiled water. You’ll need 250ml or 1 cup of water and a heatproof jug or pot.
Give the mushrooms a stir, make sure they’ve all been under the water and then set them aside and cover the jug or pot with a small plate.
Then it’s onto your onions, you’ll need to roughly chop them, there’s no need to chop your onion finely in this recipe.
Once you’ve done this, then heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy pan, you’ll need a pan that has a good fitting lid to it.
Add the onions to the pan and season with sea salt and then you’ll need to cook over medium heat for around 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to low heat so that they can cook nice and slowly. Give them an occasional stir as you don’t want them to catch, cook for around 20 minutes until they turn a lovely golden color and are soft.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to cut your aubergines or eggplants, into approximately 1 cm or 1/2 inch dice and set them aside.
Next, it’s onto your carrots, it’s not necessary to peel them if they are looking good. Grate your carrots and set them aside.
Now it’s on to your parsley. You’ll need to trim your parsley stalks and remove the ends and then finely chop them, you want to have around 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup.
Don’t discard the parsley leaves, you’ll need them later so put them in your fridge so they retain some of their freshness.
Chop your celery into small chunks and when your onions are cooked, add in another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, turn your heat to high and add in the celery and aubergines or eggplants.
Give them a good stir for around 5 – 7 minutes, lower the heat if you need to, then remove the pan from the heat.
Now you’ll need to chop your woodland mushrooms and you need them finely chopped.
Strain your porcini mushrooms but keep the amazing umami mushroom water as you’ll need this later. Once again you’ll need your porcini mushrooms finely chopped.
Put the mushrooms in the pan and then crush your garlic over the mixture, add in your smoked paprika, chilli pepper flakes and dried thyme, then throw in your chopped parsley stalks and give your mixture a good stir and put it back on the hob on medium heat for around a minute.
Add in 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes (we love Maldon sea salt flakes) and then 2 tablespoons of your tomato puree, stir and on medium-low heat cook for a further 3 minutes.
Next add in a teaspoon of marmite or vegemite
Now it’s time to add in your grated carrot and also all three of your lentils (make sure that you have rinsed your lentils thoroughly so that when the water pours through them, it’s clear) and then it’s time for your canned chopped tomatoes.
Once the tomatoes are in, pour 250ml or 1 cup of boiling water into the can, swirl it around and pour into the pan, followed by the reserved mushroom water. Give the mixture a good stir.
Now add in 500ml or 2 cups of passata sauce and then 2 tablespoons of tomato puree. Your sauce should be turning a lovely deep color now.
Give the mixture a good stir, turn the heat low and put the lid on your pan. You now want the sauce to be simmering gently for at least an hour.
It’s important to let the lentils soak the sauce up so they become soft but if you think the bolognese sauce is too liquidy then remove the lid and let it gently simmer and reduce a little until you get the consistency and texture you prefer.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
When your lentils have cooked and your bolognese sauce texture is perfect for you, then take the parsley out of the fridge and roughly chop the leaves.
You’ll want roughly around 250ml or 1 cup give or take. Stir them into your bolognese sauce leaving a few to sprinkle on top for garnish.
Then you’ll need to cook your spaghetti or pasta of choice. Follow the packet guidelines for the amount needed per person and cooking instructions.
You want your pasta to be al dente, al dente means to be firm when you bite into it. No one wants mushy spaghetti!
When your spaghetti or pasta is cooked, add it into the pan of bolognese sauce, don’t worry if you get the pasta water in the sauce, that’s a good thing as you need it to help bind the pasta to the sauce.
Give everything a good stir and make sure that the spaghetti or pasta is coated with the bolognese sauce and then transfer to serving bowls.
Sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and serve with garlic bread or a salad.
The flavor of all of the vegetables and lentils combined is going to be amazing!
This is yummy hearty meatless Italian food that everyone will love eating.
The recipe will serve 4 – 6 hungry people.
There shouldn’t be any leftovers but if there are, then put them in the fridge to enjoy eating the next day or freeze them.
What to serve with this yummy family meal
Vegan bolognese goes great with a nice hot slice of freshly made garlic bread!
If you want something lighter, you could serve your spaghetti with a nice green salad with cherry tomatoes and Italian dressing.
What wine should I pair this dish with?
It’s natural to think that red wines work best with spaghetti bolognese and, of course, they do work incredibly well.
There’s nothing better in our opinion than a glass of chianti to compliment the flavor of the vegan bolognese sauce. The great thing is that it’s vegan too!
We’re so glad you visited Splash of Taste and we hope that you love our delicious recipes and would really love to hear your comments and feedback.
More spaghetti recipes for you to try
If you like our spaghetti bolognese, then you should check out these spaghetti recipes; cacio e pepe, tahini pasta, veggie meatballs and spaghetti, pesto pasta, and spaghetti aglio e olio.
VEGAN SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE
- ⅓ oz Dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup Freshly boiled water
- 2 Large onions
- 4 tbsp Olive oil
- 3 tsp Sea salt flakes
- 1 Aubergine
- 5 oz Carrots
- Large bunch of parsley
- 2 Celery sticks
- 5 oz Woodland mushrooms
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1 tsp Smoked paprika
- ½ tsp Dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp Dried thyme
- 1 oz Tomato puree
- 1 tsp Marmite or vegemite
- 1¾ oz Red lentils
- 3½ oz Green lentils
- 3½ oz Puy lentils
- 14 oz Chopped tomatoes
- 14 oz Cold water
- 18 oz Passata sauce
- The first thing to do is to soak your porcini mushrooms in freshly boiled water
- Give the mushrooms a stir, make sure they've all been under the water and then set them aside and cover the jug or pot with a small plate
- Then it's onto your onions, you'll need to roughly chop them
- Once you've done this, then heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy pan, you'll need a pan that has a good fitting lid to it
- Add your onions to the pan and season with 1tbsp of sea salt and then you'll need to cook over medium heat for around 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to low heat so that they can cook nice and slowly
- Give them an occasional stir as you don't want them to burn, cook for around 20 minutes until they turn a lovely golden color and are soft
- Meanwhile, you'll need to cut your aubergines or eggplants, into approximately 1 cm or 1/2 inch dice and set them aside
- Next, it's onto your carrots, it's not necessary to peel them if they are looking good. Grate your carrots and set them aside
- Now it's on to your parsley. You'll need to trim your parsley stalks and remove the ends and then finely chop them, you want to have around 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup
- Don't discard the parsley leaves, you'll need them later so put them in your fridge so they retain some of their freshness
- Chop your celery into small chunks and when your onions are cooked, add in another 2 tbsp of olive oil, turn your heat to high and add in the celery and aubergines or eggplants
- Give them a good stir for around 5 – 7 minutes, lower the heat if you need to, then remove the pan from the heat
- Now you'll need to chop your woodland mushrooms and you need them finely chopped
- Strain your porcini mushrooms but keep the amazing umami mushroom water as you'll need this later. Once again you'll need your porcini mushrooms finely chopped
- Put all of the mushrooms into the pan and then crush your garlic over the mixture, add in your smoked paprika, chilli flakes and dried thyme, then throw in your chopped parsley stalks and give your mixture a good stir and put it back on the hob on medium heat for around a minute. Add in a little extra oil if you think it needs it
- Add in your remaining sea salt flakes (we love Maldon sea salt flakes) and then your tomato puree, stir and on medium-low heat and cook for a further 3 minutes
- Next, add in a teaspoon of marmite or vegemite
- Now it's time to add in your grated carrot and also all of your lentils (make sure that you have rinsed your lentils thoroughly so that when the water pours through them, it's clear)
- Then it's time to pour your canned chopped tomatoes into the mixture
- Once the tomatoes are in, pour 250ml or 1 cup of boiling water into the can, swirl it around and pour into the pan, followed by the reserved porcini mushroom water. Give the mixture a good stir
- Now add in your passata sauce. Your sauce should be turning a lovely deep color now
- Give the mixture a good stir, turn the heat low and put the lid on your pan. You now want the sauce to be simmering gently for at least an hour
- It's important to let the lentils soak up the sauce so they become soft, but if you think the sauce is too liquidy then remove the lid and let it gently simmer and reduce a little until you get the consistency and texture you prefer
- When your lentils have cooked and your sauce texture is perfect for you, take the parsley out of the fridge and roughly chop the leaves. You'll want roughly up to the 250ml indicator in a measuring jug or 1 cup give or take
- Stir them into your bolognese sauce leaving a few to sprinkle on top for garnish
- Then you'll need to cook your spaghetti or pasta of choice. Follow the packet guidelines for the amount needed per person and cooking instructions
- When your spaghetti or pasta is cooked, add it into the pan of bolognese sauce, don't worry if you get the pasta water in the sauce, that's a good thing as you need it to help bind the pasta to the sauce
- Give everything a good stir and make sure that the spaghetti or pasta is coated with the bolognese sauce and then transfer to serving bowls
- Sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and serve with garlic bread or a salad
- Bellisimo – spaghetti bolognese like you've never had it before – enjoy!
Please note that nutrient values are estimates only. Variations can occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of origin, preparation, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.
Did you make this recipe?
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