Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

The perfect Autumnal taste for those of you looking to do something different with your pumpkins from Halloween. Instead of pumpkin soup, try this delicious and warming Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese.

Bolognese is an Italian classic that normally involves meat and parmesan cheese. This vegan version of a traditional dish loved the world over, replaces these ingredients with red lentils for filling out the sauce and nutritional yeast for that final loving touch. A firm family favourite, you can vary the vegetables you add or strip them away for a simpler taste.

About the Ingredients

When it comes to choosing ingredients for our Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese, we like to choose the items with the lowest carbon footprint and the least packaging waste.

Vegan Meal with The Natural Essex Girl

Red Lentils

Before choosing a plant-based diet, we had NEVER cooked with lentils before. When we got the first bag of dried lentils home, we didn’t know what to do with them. When it comes to lentils, or any other bean or pulse you aren’t used to cooking with ordinarily, don’t be put off. It’s easier than you might think to start cooking with new ingredients. Even if they sound odd at first, you’ll be surprised how quickly they might become a staple food in your vegan kitchen.

You can choose either green or red lentils but for this recipe, we prefer red lentils. They taste a little different to each other, but mainly our choice to include red lentils in our Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese is because of the colour. The red ones compliment our homemade bolognese sauce perfectly.

Lentils come in two forms. Either buy your lentils already cooked in a tin can for quickness – in this form they can be added to the recipe just to heat through for a few minutes only with no actual cooking required. Alternatively, buy dry red lentils that will need cooking first. These will usually be available in larger quantities for a much lower price.

 

Cooked lentils are a great option because they come in recyclable tin cans but we normally like to buy dried lentils because they use far less packaging where bigger quantities are being sold together. You can decide which choice is probably better for the environment. Bear in mind that a bag of dried red lentils will last for a very long time whilst a can of lentils will do just one meal.

Black Pepper & Himalayan Salt

Salt and pepper are of course a winning combination. Used in pretty much every recipe in the world, we’re pretty confident you probably already have salt and pepper in your kitchen right now. But which types do you have?

We didn’t really know about the different types available before we started eating more naturally. Turns out, most cheap brands of course are not actually that great for you. When it comes to salt in particular, you should be super choosy about what you buy and put in your body.

Most table salts are not natural and can contain harmful chemicals – think of the brilliant white, super fine stuff. This type of salt is bad for you and should be avoided. However, naturally occurring salts are useful to your body and necessary in an important water-salt balance.

Choose a salt like Maldon sea salt or the premium option, Himalayan salt. We always use Himalayan salt in all our vegan recipes. We use it in the exact same way we used to use table salt but it’s much better for our bodies.

When it comes to choosing pepper, again avoid the fine, dusty looking stuff and pick whole black peppercorns and use them in a refillable grinder. This provides the freshest taste as well as the best nutritional value to your body.

Print Recipe
Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese
The taste of Autumn - this Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese uses pumpkin in the rich sauce making it ideal for an Autumnal dinner recipe.
Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese
Instructions
  1. If you are using dry lentils, start by cooking these off. Ideally, you want to leave the lentils to soak for an hour or two before cooking them. Place the lentils into a saucepan of water, bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for around 20 minutes.
  2. Start cooking the pasta around 10 minutes after the lentils first went on. Place your pasta or spaghetti into a separate saucepan of water, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer on a low heat. We often find that spaghetti takes less time to cook than fusilli or penne. Handy Tip: Slow the cooking time of your pasta by adding extra cold water and/or lowering the heat.
  3. Next, chop your vegetables. Dice the red onion, carrot and mushrooms into small chunks and the garlic into tiny pieces.
  4. Add a little olive oil or water to a pan with the diced onions, thyme, oregano, garlic and tomato paste. Add the balsamic vinegar and red wine, and cook for a couple of minutes on a high heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the carrots. Cook for around 5 minutes, adding a splash of water to your pan if needed to avoid sticking.
  6. Then add the mushrooms, pumpkin puree and chopped tomatoes. Stir well and leave to simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Drain the red lentils and add them to your sauce, stirring well and keeping the heat low. Leave to simmer for another 3 minutes.
  8. Drain the pasta. Add the fresh basil leaves to the top of your sauce and remove from the hob. Serve with nutritional yeast, a great vegan 'cheese' alternative.
    Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

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