I’ve come up with a couple of vegan Bolognese recipes over the years, that usually have a few extra ingredients in them, such as butternut squash or sweet potato. This Bolognese recipe I wanted to keep as traditional as I could, without any embellishment. I also wanted to make a very rich tomato sauce, which is why this one not only has canned tomatoes, but also fresh (vine-ripened), sundried and tomato puree, all of which help to really intensify the tomato flavour.
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I also wanted to make a lot of it. Batch cooking is great for when you have a busy week ahead and you know you’ll be left with little time for making meals during the week. This recipe makes about ten portions, which will serve a whole family for a couple of evenings, or one or two of you for a good while longer. Use fresh vegan mince if you want to freeze it, as you shouldn’t refreeze produce that has already been frozen and defrosted. It will say on the packet whether it’s suitable for freezing or not. It will also last a good five days in the fridge if you think you can get through it that quickly. I used about half for a family meal and then froze the rest in smaller portions to have at our leisure.
Rather than fresh basil, which can be quite expensive when using a lot of it, I elected to use a vegan pesto. Morrison’s has a new Plant Revolution range, which also includes a jar of pesto that is £1 at the time of writing, making it quite an affordable way of getting the basil flavour into your Bolognese.
This recipe uses a lot of canned tomatoes. I used a 2.5 kg tin (the sized used in restaurants), which I got from Macro, but you don’t have to go to this length. Just make the weight up with regular sized canned tomatoes (you’ll need 6).
If you don’t fancy making this full recipe, then feel free to half it, or even make a third if you prefer.
Vegan Bolognese Recipe
Easy to make gluten-free.
- 50 ml olive oil
- 3 red onions sliced
- 2 sweet peppers sliced
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 800 g vegan mince use gluten-free variety if requited
- 5 medium vine-ripened tomatoes cut into wedges
- 220 g sundried tomatoes with a little of their oil, chopped
- 200 g 1 tube tomato puree
- 200 g vegan pesto
- A large handful fresh parsley chopped
- 50 ml vegan Worcester sauce
- 2 vegan stock cubes
- 2 ½ kg 6 regular cans canned chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp hot paprika
- Salt to taste
- 50 ml maple syrup
- You’ll need a large saucepan to make this full recipe. Heat the olive oil in the largest saucepan you have and fry the onions for 5-6 minutes, stirring often. Add the peppers and cook again for another 5 minutes or so, until all have softened. Now put in your garlic and chilli flakes and give it another 3-4 minutes.
- Put in the vegan mince and cook through, keep stirring throughout and don’t let it stick. This will take about 8 minutes.
- Now add the tomato wedges, sundried tomatoes (along with the oil), tomato puree and pesto, stir through and cook down for another 5 minutes or so to allow the tomatoes to soften. Full flavour is achieved by using ripe tomatoes, so if you have a local supplier, get tomatoes from them rather than the supermarket, which tend to be underripe.
- Now put in the parsley, Worcester sauce and stock cubes, pour in the canned tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 2 hours, stirring from time to time. Serve with your favourite pasta.
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