Healthy Vegan Bolognese Sauce on Italian Pasta
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Vegan Bolognese

This take on the classic red pasta sauce uses a variety of veggies, lots of fresh herbs, mushrooms, and lentils to unlock a ton of flavor. And the texture is thick and meaty enough to coat whatever pasta strikes your fancy.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Thomas

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 onion minced or diced finely
  • 1 rib celery minced or diced finely
  • 1 medium carrot minced or diced finely
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms white or brown; minced or diced finely
  • 1/4 large eggplant peeled and minced or diced finely

Herbs

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil chopped finely
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh sage chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves chopped finely

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon miso
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup shelled hemp hearts
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 15 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1 can cooked lentils 15-oz
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened unflavored plant milk

Optional Garnishes

  • Parsley basil, and sage leaves, chopped finely
  • Grated vegan parmesan cheese
  • Nutritional yeast

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and eggplant. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the mushrooms, continue to stir for another 4 minutes. Add the chopped herbs and cook for 3 minutes, still stirring.
  • Add the wine and bay leaf and scrape up any bits stuck on the bottom of the pot. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, until the wine has evaporated.
  • Add the tomato paste, miso, and hemp hearts. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, lentils, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and plant milk, again scraping any stuck bits from the bottom of the pot. When the sauce returns to a simmer, reduce to low heat and cover the saucepan. Cook at least for another 20 minutes, up to 40 minutes to develop the flavor.
  • Serve sauce over pasta with any of the optional garnishes.

Notes

If you have any doubt about the quantity, make a double batch. It’s easy to eat a lot of this sauce.
The vegetables can be processed in a food processor to save time. Alternatively, you can just slice the vegetables and achieve a similar flavor, though the texture will be quite different from the intended meaty bolognese texture.
You can add slightly more olive oil and mushroom than called for, and it will enhance the flavor of the sauce.
You can use red wine instead of white wine.
The hemp hearts can be skipped. They add substance and nutrition to the sauce but are not essential.
The lentils don’t need to be canned. You can use pre-cooked lentils instead. The amount corresponds to 1.5-2 cups