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). These plant-based recipes taste just as good, and are free from cholesterol and kind to animals. It’s up to you whether you want to go the natural route (lentils etc) or fake meats (veggie mince). Both taste good!
Pappardelle with Lentil Bolognese Sauce (Carlo Cao) is a wonderful recipe by a Swiss-Italian chef. If you don’t want to make the fresh pappardelle, just use any large flat pasta, like fettuccine. The sauce is made with easy-to-find affordable ingredients like carrot, onion, celery, canned tomatoes and paste, olive oil, plant milk and a little wine if wished.
Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Keep these recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (fresh dough, garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms, nuts, avocado, nutmeg, jackfruit).
You can usually sub olive oil for local rapeseed oil to fry your onion, garlic, celery etc. Do this first for best flavour, there’s nothing more tasteless than spaghetti with a jar of tomato sauce. You need all the extras to make the dish taste good! 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!
Did you know that Parmesan cheese is not even vegetarian? That’s because by law, it has to contain a cheese that contains calf rennet. So restaurants and chefs that offer dishes for vegetarians with Parmesan, are often unwittingly serving their customers animal meat. So instead go for a good vegan Parmesan!
One-Pot Pasta Bolognese (Mississippi Vegan) is a wonderful recipe from one of America’s most talented plant-based chefs. This browns vegan sausages with onions, carrots and celery, along with garlic, herbs and fire-roasted tomatoes, adding in plant milk for a creamy texture.
Spicy Mushroom Rigatoni (So Vegan) uses chestnut mushrooms for a meaty-tasting sauce, cooked with rich tomatoes. It uses vegan cream cheese (coconut cream can be used instead, if wished).
Rich Lentil Ragu with Red Wine (The Veg Space) is cooked with herbs and mushrooms. Perfect with pasta, and you can freeze this too.
Where to Buy Good Vegan Bolognese Sauce
Finding a good vegan bolognese sauce is not just more exciting than plain tomato sauce, but also packs in some protein and calcium, whether made with lentils or faux meats.
- Epronto Seitan Ragu uses a natural meat alternative, made from wheat gluten. Made in Edinburgh, this is perfect with any type of pasta, and also good with rice.
- Mr Organic Bolognese Sauce is a good brand, from a range of organic pasta sauces, all made with Italian tomatoes.
- We Can Vegan Bolognese is made with veggie mince in a rich tomato herb sauce – also makes a great filling for lasagne.