The best vegan Bolognese sauce
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
I won't lie, despite the decision to go vegan being mainly ethical, I did have that weak moment of "I won't ever be able to eat *this*" again, whatever that this might be. But as I started to dive more and more into the options around us, I embraced the idea that you can veganize literally anything. And a good Bolognese sauce is a staple of all comfort foods. With this recipe, you will easily fool any meat eater and you can show them that by going vegan, they won't lose anything. Quite on the contrary - they will get some delicious foods with no unnecessary suffering to animals. What else to wish for?
There are several ways on how to make a vegan Bolognese, you can find plenty of them online using either vegan or plant-based meats (yes, there's a difference) or you can for example opt for lentils or mushrooms to replace the meaty part. I wanted to keep this recipe as close to the "meat" feeling as you can get without causing any pain. I used minced Beyong meat and the result was just amazing. I admit, Beyond meat is not the cheapest of options out there, however with a bit of luck, you can find some really sweet deals. I got mine for 4$ (CAD) per package. The rest of the recipe, I kept it pretty similar to what I used to go for in my old Bolognese recipe.
There's more and more vegan and plant-based meats available in your markets nowadays. I would highly suggest to go for the ones carrying the vegan brand. For example the Impossible meat is classified as plant-based (and they even state it themselves) as they tested, for no reason whatsoever, on animals. Testing is not in sync with the vegan philosophy so if you do this for the animals, make sure that you learn where your products come from.
You will need:
2 tbs olive oil (for frying)
1 big red onion, finely sliced
4 sticks of celery
4 smaller to medium size carrots, grated
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium egg plant, diced
1 courgette, diced
2 packages of Beyond meat mince
2 small tins of tomatoes
3 tbs tomato puree
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Ever since I started cooking (or pretty much so) I go for the whole tinned tomatoes, not the chopped ones. Usually, the producers used a second or third quality tomatoes for the chopped ones, they cut off the bad parts and put the rest in tins. If you buy the whole ones, you have the quality guaranteed as you can see what they look like. You will just need to take an extra minute to chop them yourself.
Put your pan on medium high to high heat and add the oil. First, cook your minced Beyond meat to nicely caramelize it. Make sure that you salt and pepper it (as all what you will be adding to the pan later on). Once you can see it being nicely caramelized, remove it from the pan and put it on the side.
Use the same pan (eventually add a bit of olive oil), now on medium heat, to sweat your onions, then add celery, carrots and finally garlic. Wait in between each to let them sweat properly and add garlic as last as otherwise it would go bitter. Add then the courgette and egg plant. Again, don't forget to salt and pepper. Cook them down for a few minutes. Add a few branches of thyme, just the leaves not the stalks. Cover it for 5 minutes and let them sweat so the flavors get to mingle a bit. Remove the lid and put the heat up a bit, add your meat and stir the mix and cook for a 2 more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the balzamic vinegar. Add the tomato paste, mix well and cook one more minute before you add the tinned tomatoes. Add the cinnamon sticks with bay leaves, cover it up and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon sticks with bay leaves, season it and serve with pasta or use it for lasagna (recipe coming soon!).