Italian vegetable bolognese

Everyone needs a good bolognese recipe up their sleeve- it’s filling, delicious, easy and I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. My mum used to have it on toast as a kid! It was the first thing she taught me to make, when I was around 10 years old. The beauty is in how easy it is- just chuck everything together and leave it to simmer as long as you can. It tastes even better the next day! I like to cook up a big batch and freeze it in portions for an easy midweek spag bol/ weekend lasagne.

Making bolognese without the meat is super easy and much lower in fat. My boyfriend swears by putting pancetta in his bolognese though, so if you’re cooking for a mix of meat-eaters and veggies/vegans, I’d recommend separating it into two pans’ worth, but with a little pancetta in one. Alternatively, you could fry the pancetta separately and add it to the meat-eater’s portion at the end, if you don’t want to wash up two pans.

I personally swear by the copious amounts of red wine in my recipe, which I haven’t been able to substitute with anything else. Just make sure it’s vegan!

It’s also a great way to use up leftover veggies that you have, and tinned ones work great here, too.


Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

2 tins tomatoes/ 1 carton passata

2 tbsp concentrated tomato puree/ tomato ketchup

2 tbsp brown sauce

750ml red wine

2 shakes Italian/ Mixed dried herbs

4 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp mustard

1 onion, diced

1 celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 head broccoli, diced

2 courgettes, diced

Handful mushrooms, diced

1 red pepper, diced

Handful dried lentils

Handful frozen peas

Handful spinach


Although it looks like a lot of ingredients, most of them you will already have in your store cupboard or can be substituted for other similar things. That’s the beauty of this beauty.

First, sweat the chopped onion, celery, and carrot (and pancetta, if using) in a glug of olive oil in a heavy based saucepan.  Then add the rest of the ingredients apart from the spinach, topping up with vegetable stock if not enough liquid. Simmer on a medium high heat until the ingredients are soft, but ideally for an hour at least.

Dish up with spaghetti, into a lasagne, or on a jacket. Wait to cool before freezing. It’s not pretty or glamorous, but it’s hearty, packed with nutrition and vitamins, and versatile.






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