In Britain, ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ is a very popular dish, though I believe in Bologna it is more common to serve ragù with tagliatelle. I’m used to making ragù with minced meat and pancetta, but since I cut out meat from my diet, I’ve been looking for a lower-carbon-footprint, vegan-friendly alternative. My friend Annette gave me this recipe, which I adapted a little to fit the ingredients I had in the fridge at the time. There is plenty of scope for adaptation, and I was pleased with the end result.
- 400g plant-based mince.*
- 1 large onion, finely diced.
- 1 large carrot, finely sliced.
- 1 celery stalk, finely sliced.
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or very finely chopped.
- 2 tbsp olive oil for frying.
- 1 tbsp tomato puree.
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes.
- 200ml vegetable stock.
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme.
- 2 bay leaves.
- salt and pepper to taste.
- lemon juice to taste.
- 500g cooked pasta to serve (serves 4-6).
- To make your sofritto, heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic along with the herbs. After 1-2 minutes, turn down the heat and simmer gently until the carrot and onion have softened.
- Add the mince and stir until ‘browned’ (i.e. sealed on the outside, as not all vegan mince ‘browns’ well.
- Add the tomato puree and stir for a further minute.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock, and bring the mixture to the boil.
- Simmer until the sauce has thickened and reduced, then season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- add enough sauce to the pasta to coat it well, and stir together.
- Spoon any remaining sauce over the top of the pasta, and serve with vegan cheese, or grated parmesan (for a non-vegan alterative, which I’ll admit to using!)
Many thanks to Annette for this delicious recipe!
*I used mince from pea protein, which I do not recommend because the taste was too sweet and the texture a little rubbery. Next time I will try a more mince-like alternative. If you have a favourite vegan mince, please let me know in the comments below.