Bolognese has long been a favourite dinner in our house.
We have a pretty non-traditional version, but it works for us – there are always 6 empty plates and 6 happy tummies when it’s on the menu.
Easy to make, a massive serve of veggies, great fibre and it’s a very budget friendly meal, that cooks up in bulk and freezes well too.
More recently as we are reducing the number of meals we eat that contain meat, we’ve moved from making our standard beef mince bolognese, to this vegan version.
The kids haven’t blinked an eye with the transition, in fact, Harry recently requested it as his birthday party dinner – hope you like it too!
- 1 finely chopped medium brown onion
- 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
- 1-2 tsp minced chillies (depending on your heat preference)
- 2 large carrots
- 2 large zucchini
- 2 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we also use black beans)
- 2 400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
- 3-4 cups mushrooms (a mixture of types is good to give textural variety)
- medium sweet potato or pumpkin (roughly 2 fist sized pieces), peeled and diced
- 3 large handfuls spinach
- 700 ml tomato pasata
- 3 tbsp tomato paste OR preserved tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
- 1/2 cup stock (we use the vegan, but beef stlye stock by Massel for a store bought option)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- spaghetti or pasta that suits your diet to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and stir until soft.
Add in the chillies, mix well and turn down to low heat.
In your food processor (or with a knife if you have the patience!), pulse the mushrooms until you get a fine chop. Add the mushrooms to the onion mix in the hot saucepan. Stir them in well to coat in onion mixture.
Add in the lentils, plus the stock, tomato paste and red wine then stir well to combine.
Meanwhile, in the food processor blitz or grate the vegetables, spinach and beans. Add in the pasata to help bring the mix all together. Process more or less depending on how smooth you want your sauce.
Add the veggie and pasata mix to the mushroom and lentil mix in the pan and stir well. Bring to a very gentle simmer, then add the fresh herbs. I tend to finely chop the basil before stirring through, but I leave the rosemary on it’s stems, just bruising the leaves before adding it to the pot, just remove the stems when you serve. Simmer for about half an hour, stirring regularly.
Serve on your choice of pasta, zucchini noodles or a bed of steamed green beans – add cheese of choice to top if you like, or even sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
Serves about 10 adults (freeze left over sauce in an airtight container for a couple of months)