When I think about comfort food, Italian food always comes to mind. Vegetarian Bolognese, for example, is one of my favorite dishes. Bolognese sauce, although traditionally a meat sauce, can easily be made vegan with just a few adjustments.
In fact, Bolognese sauce is much thicker than a typical American red sauce, because it's creamier with just a touch of tomato. Since most Italian sauces are mostly tomato-based, my vegetarian Bolognese is similar to a ragout.
HOW TO MAKE VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE SAUCE
As I said earlier, traditional Bolognese contains meat and heavy cream. My bolognese, however, is full of lentils, vegetables, and a little oat milk and nutritional yeast for the creamy component.
WHAT VEGETABLES ARE IN THE BOLOGNESE SAUCE?
WHAT OTHER INGREDIENTS ARE IN VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE?
- POMI Chopped Tomatoes
- Oat Milk (unsweetened and unflavored or other plant milk)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Tomato paste
- Vegetable Broth (only if making the one-pot option)
- Red Wine (dry)
- Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (I used Annie's )
- Whole-Grain Spaghetti or Pasta of Choice
- Italian Seasoning
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
In order to make the sauce, simply cook the ingredients in what I call layers in a large pot. For example, begin by sautéing the garlic and onions until translucent. Then, I add the chopped mushrooms and cook until brown. Next, I add the celery, carrots, and lentils and cook for about 10 minutes.
Once the carrots and celery soften, I add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and tomato paste. As the mixture cooks down, I add red wine and allow it to cook down further with the ingredients.
COOK THE PASTA SEPARATELY OR USE THE ONE-POT VERSION
Even though I chose to cook the bolognese sauce separately from the pasta today, I love one-pot meals. Similar to my other one-pot meals, vegetarian Bolognese can be made in one pot by adjusting the ingredients. Because I planned to freeze half the sauce, and only make 6 servings today, I cooked the spaghetti.
ONE-POT VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE OPTION (QUICK, EASY, AND ALL IN ONE-POT)
- Increase the vegetable broth to 3 cups
- Increase pasta to 16 ounces
- Add pasta to the pot after liquids, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes
Regardless if you cook the pasta to the pot for the one-pot version, or you cook the spaghetti separately, the plant-based milk and nutritional yeast are added last. As a result, the sauce becomes cheesy and creamy.
SERVING VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE
FREEZING VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE SAUCE
Whenever I make vegetarian Bolognese, I always freeze half the sauce or use the sauce for a variety of other Italian recipes during the week.
In order to freeze the sauce, make sure to leave 2 inches between the top of the freezer-safe container and the sauce. For best results, make sure the sauce is defrosted completely before reheating.
IF YOU LOVE QUICK AND EASY PASTA RECIPES, CHECK OUT THESE RECIPES
- One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
- Vegan Cajun Pasta
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta Recipe
- Creamy Spicy Vegan Sausage Pasta
- Pumpkin Rigatoni
- Bruschetta Pasta
- Lemon Pasta
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms
- Enchilada Pasta
- Chicken Pot Pie Noodles
- 1 white onion diced yield 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 16 ounces mushrooms chopped
- 2 ½ cups cooked brown lentils I used Trader Joes steamed lentils
- 1 26.46 ounce Pomi Chopped tomatoes or diced tomatoes of choice
- 1 cup dry red wine I used Merlot
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 16 ounces whole-grain spaghetti or pasta of choice ( I used 12 ounces for 6 servings and froze the rest of the sauce)
- ¾ cup unsweetened unflavored oat milk (or plant milk of choice)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- Parsley garnish
- Vegan parmesan cheese optional
- In a large stockpot, saute garlic and onions until onions are translucent.
- Next, add the chopped mushrooms, diced carrots, and celery and cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms are browned, and the carrots and celery are tender.
- Add cooked lentils and stir into vegetable mixture.
- Then, add the red wine, chili flakes, Worcestershire sauce, chopped tomatoes, and Italian seasoning.
- Stir and allow to cook for a few minutes.
- In a small cup, blend the oat milk (or plant milk of choice) and nutritional yeast. Set aside.
- In a separate pot, boil water and cook spaghetti according to directions while the sauce cooks.
- Now, pour in the plant-milk/nutritional yeast and stir.
- Drain the noodles and add the sauce to the noodles (especially if you plan to freeze the rest of the sauce.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese
- ONE-POT QUICK VERSION
- If you plan to make it all in one pot, skip the 3 previous steps, add 3 cups of vegetable broth to the sauce, and bring it to a boil.
- Now, add the pasta to the sauce, cover, and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Then, add the plant-mil/nutritional yeast combination and stir.
- Serve in individual bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan cheese.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂