Bolognese pasta has been one of my favourites dishes since I can remember. My dad used to cook it for the family on special nights like birthdays or celebrations. I know, it is not a fancy meal for special nights but my sister and I were just delighted when he was in the kitchen cooking bolognese pasta for us.
When I decided to stop eating meat, I thought I was going to miss bolognese pasta. Little did I know the vegetarian or vegan bolognese sauce can be just as good. Let me tell you, it can be better than meat bolognese.
After 7 years of being vegetarian, I can proudly say that I have an amazing recipe to keep our family tradition at home with my husband and baby Luca. If you want to check our toddler-friendly bolognese you can do it here.
You can make this dish quite fast. I used to cut all the vegetables into really small cubes and that would take a bit of time. Now I chop all the ingredients and put them in a food processor for around 1 minute (depends on the food processor you have).
Use pre-cooked lentils to speed up the cooking time. I use brown lentils for this recipe, but we have cooked it sometimes with red lentils and it works fantastic.
Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 to 4 mushrooms we use white button or portobello mushrooms
- 5 big and juicy tomatoes or passata
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 150 gr brown lentils
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Chop all the vegetables and add them to a food processor. You want to get the vegetables finely chopped as in the picture above.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add the chopped vegetables together with the bay leaves. Cook for around 15 minutes stirring frequently. You want the tomatoes to release the juice and the rest of the vegetables fully cooked.
- Pour in the red wine and let ithe alcohol cook off for a couple of minutes, then add the lentils, stir and let it cook for a few more minute.
- Add the oregano, sweet paprika, agave or maple syrup and lemon. Stir and remove the bay leaves and turn off the heat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish the sauce by adding yeast flakes before serving.
- To get a smoother sauce, pour 2 spoonfuls into a blender and blend until smooth consistency. Mix again with the rest of the sauce and it will be ready for serving.