Rich, bold and savory, this Vegan Bolognese is reminiscent of the Italian classic we all love. The filling combines mushrooms, ground walnuts, grated carrots, and onions for a meaty mince that is hearty and satisfying!
I love to veganize meat-based classics, especially when they taste just as good as the original. A few months ago, I created this Vegan Shepherd's Pie that I adapted from Gordon Ramsay's recipe. It was downright delicious!
Well, his Bolognese Recipe has a very similar base and method, so I decided to veganize that too. I've made Vegan Bolognese before but it was never as good as this one. You guys are going to love it!
I replaced the ground meat with finely chopped mushrooms and ground walnuts and used the rest of his recipe as a guide. His version calls for grated onions and carrots which broke down and added to the texture of the vegan mince.
HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
(full ingredient amounts in recipe card below)
- Preferred Cooking Oil
- Tomato Paste
- Red Wine
- Crushed Tomatoes
- Vegetable Broth
- Nutritional Yeast
- Italian Seasoning, Bay Leaf, Salt & Pepper
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN BOLOGNESE SAUCE
- Heat a Large Pan (with high sides) over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the oil and wait until it's shimmering. Add mushrooms and sauté until they have released their moisture, reduced in size and are slightly browned. The pan should be mostly dry (see photo #2 above).
- Now, reduce heat to medium and add onions, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until cooked down (see photo #4 above).
- Make a small open space in the pan to add the tomato paste and make sure it's touching the surface. Cook for 30 seconds before combining. Add tamari and Italian seasoning and cook until the herbs are fragrant about 30-60 seconds.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high and pour in the red wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it's almost completely reduced. Turn the heat back to medium.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and bay leaf. Combine and bring to a simmer then reduce to a low simmer.
- Cook until sauce thickens and flavor deepens for about 10-15 minutes (longer for deeper flavor). Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let the sauce sit a few minutes to thicken.
Now you can top it on freshly-cooked pasta then sprinkle it with fresh basil and Vegan Parmesan Cheese. It pairs nicely with a medium-bodied red wine, too!
You can also use this Bolognese Sauce for Vegan Lasagna. It's heavenly!
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT VEGAN BOLOGNESE SAUCE:
The carrots need to be finely grated to soften and add to the texture of the ground "meat" texture, so don't use matchstick carrots.
Nutritional yeast helps to deepen the flavor and thicken the sauce. If you don't have it, you can omit it. Cook longer if the sauce needs to thicken more.
If you want extra richness, you can add a few tablespoons of full-fat canned coconut milk or a pat of vegan butter the last 5 minutes of cooking.
This sauce should be thick and saucy (not dry). Cooking it down should thicken it beautifully. However, if you want a thicker sauce, you can add a cornstarch slurry the last 5 minutes of cooking. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and then add to the sauce.
Feel free to add more seasoning to taste. I like to add ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper for a little heat.
LOVE PASTA? HERE ARE MORE RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
If you make this recipe, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Vegan Bolognese Sauce
- 1.5 tablespoons grapeseed oil or preferred oil
- 16 ounces cremini mushrooms , finely chopped (sub baby bella mushrooms)
- 1 medium onion , grated
- 2 medium carrots finely grated (*see note)
- 4 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari , low sodium (sub soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ cup red wine
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth , low sodium
- 1 cup walnuts , ground into a course meal or chopped finely (measured whole)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast * Optional (see note)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and fresh-cracked pepper , to taste
- Heat a Large Pan (with high sides) over medium-high heat. Add oil and wait until it's hot and shimmering. Now add mushrooms and sauté until they have released their moisture, reduced in size and are slightly browned. The pan should be mostly dry (about 7-8 minutes).
- Reduce heat to medium and add onions, carrots, and garlic. Sauté until cooked down about 3-4 minutes.
- Make a small open space in the pan to add the tomato paste (make sure it's touching the surface of the pan). Cook for 30 seconds and then stir into the veggies.
- Add tamari and Italian seasoning. Cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high and pour in the red wine. Cook until almost completely reduced, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat back to medium.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, walnuts, nutritional yeast bay leaf. Bring to a simmer then reduce to a low simmer. Cook until sauce thickens and flavor deepens, about 10-15 minutes (longer for deeper flavor). Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf and remove from heat. Let the sauce sit a few minutes to thicken. Top over freshly-cooked pasta if desired.