Although not local to England, one of our favourite meals is spaghetti bolognese (we name it this after the Bologna area of Italy, whereas in Italy it is simply called ragu). It’s up to you whether to go the natural route (lentils etc) or veggie mince. Both taste good! Try this One-Pot Pasta Bolognese (Mississippi Vegan) from a chef in the USA’s Deep South. He writes and photographs as well as he cooks, check out his wonderful recipe book Mississippi Vegan.
Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Keep recipes away from pets, due to toxic ingredients like onion, garlic and fresh dough (can expand in the stomach).
Italians mostly use dried pasta over fresh, so don’t try to be posh! Also most fresh pasta contains eggs from factory-farms. Unless for medical reasons, salt the water first (in Italy, they call dishes with unsalted water ‘silly pasta!) Then bring the pan to a rolling boil, before adding your favourite wholewheat or gluten-free shapes. Choose thick pastas for chunky sauces!
You can usually sub olive oil for local rapeseed oil to fry onion, garlic, celery etc. Do this first for best flavour, there’s nothing more tasteless than spaghetti with a jar of tomato sauce. Unless for medical reasons, it’s usually good to add a little local sea salt to the water before adding your pasta (in Italy, leaving it out names the dish ‘silly pasta!’)
Treat yourself to some nice big pasta dishes. If you worry about spilling spaghetti sauce down your face, do what the Italians do: just spiral a forkful of spaghetti into a dessert spoon, and eat it off the fork once coiled. It’s a super-simple trick to learn, and makes it more elegant to eat!
Serve your pasta dishes with vegan Parmesan. Conventional Parmesan cheese is not even vegetarian as by law, it is made with calf rennet. Or just sprinkle over some cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast, which is also packed with vitamin B12 (the one missing in most plant foods).
beet & mushroom spaghetti bolognese
Hearty Beet & Mushroom Bolognese (The First Mess) uses two natural ingredients over fake meat. The natural sweetness of beets and the ‘meaty’ flavour and texture of mushrooms means this is authentic as you can get, without buying ready-made vegan mince.
30-minute lentil bolognese
30-Minute Lentil Bolognese (The First Mess) is also made with natural wholesome ingredients. The lovely flavours include dried porcini mushrooms, tomato paste, garlic, thyme and tamari (a quality soy sauce). It uses canned brown lentils, for convenience.
Carlo’s lentil bolognese recipe
Pappardelle with Lentil Bolognese Sauce (Carlo Cao) is a wonderful recipe by a Swiss-Italian chef. Use any large flat pasta like fettuccine, in place of fresh. The sauce has affordable ingredients like carrot, onion, celery, canned tomatoes and paste, olive oil, plant milk and a little wine if wished.