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Best Vegan Bolognese

January 26, 2023 4 min read

Best Vegan Bolognese

We are always on the hunt for the most delicious plant based recipes.  This is truly the yummiest version of a vegan "Bolognese"-style sauce we have ever made.  It wins both in terms of multi-layered, smokey and umami tastes as well as in terms of texture.  We haven't had better. 

This recipe is a great match for so many dishes when you want to take a break from eating meat.  It goes well with pastas and in lasagnas, with rice dishes, tortilla wraps, all forms of stuffed veggies and so much more.  It is so versatile that we make it in larger quantities and freeze it for different meals.  This entire recipe is packed with nutrients from folate, magnesium and calcium to Omega 3s, fibre and protein.  


2 aubergines                                            1 tbsp soy sauce (or brown miso)

3-4 tbsp Opus extra virgin olive oil       1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight

2 large onions, chopped                        1 cup brown lentils, dry

4 garlic cloves, minced                          1 jar tomato passata

3 carrots, coarsely grated                     salt and pepper to taste 

1 cup red wine                                        1-2 dashes of chili sauce (optional)

1 tbsp tomato paste                               chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

2-3 bay leaves


1.) Cover your walnuts with just enough water in a bowl for a few hours before you prepare this recipe, or even overnight.  When you're ready to  prepare your ingredients to cook the recipe, cook the walnuts to evaporate most of the water, then roughly chop them on a chopping board with a large sharp knife.  Set the chopped walnuts aside in a bowl, ready for use.  The walnuts will give your vegan bolognese ragu its ground beef texture.

2.) Bring a pot with some water to the boil and add your lentils (do not add any salt).  Cook for 15 minutes, then drain and cool with cold water to interrupt the cooking process.  They should be "al dente", but not crunchy.

3.) Wash your aubergines.  Use tongs to grab each one whole and hold over the open flame of a gas hob to char the skin all around for about 10-15 minutes each.  If you do not have a gas hob, pre-heat your oven grill and place aubergines on a baking sheet in the preheated oven.  Let char this way and turn once so the charring happens on both sides of the aubergine.  Once you are done charring a whole aubergine, place it straight away in a large enough bowl and cover the bowl immediately with a large enough plate.  Let the hot and charred aubergines steam in the covered bowl and cool.  The steaming will cook them through in their own juices and will also make the charred skin easy to peel off with your fingers and/or the aid of a knife.  When cooled enough to handle, pour away whatever liquid has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl, then gently remove the skin from the aubergines with your fingers and remove their top with a knife.  Roughly chop the cooked aubergine flesh and set aside, ready for use. 

charred aubergines   One charred and one peeled aubergine charred and peeled whole aubergines  chopped charred and peeled aubergines

4.) Pour your olive oil into a large pan over medium heat and add the chopped onions for about 8-10 minutes, until they become translucent, but not brown.  We will be layering in all the other flavours and textures one by one.  Continue by adding the minced garlic and bay leaves and stir for 1 minute.  Then add your grated carrots and stir to mix well with the onion.  Cook for 4-5 minutes.  Once the mix is all warmed through, add the red wine and allow to cook off the alcohol for about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and the soy sauce and stir through for 3-4 minutes.  Now add your chopped aubergine flesh, the lentils and the walnuts.  Stir through to combine well.  Add the tomato passata and combine.  Once all heated through, reduce the heat to simmering point and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste.  If you like some peppery heat, add a couple of dashes of chili oil or sauce of your choice.  You may garnish your Bolognese-style sauce with fresh, finely chopped flat leaf parsley if you would like.

One of the many examples of how this sauce can be used, is together with pasta shells filled with a mixture of ricotta, mascarpone and parmesan cheese as well as some grated nutmeg and pepper.  Alternatively vegan cheese can be used. 

chopped onions and grated carrots in a pan with a wooden spoon  tomato passata being added to a pan with chopped onions and grated carrots  lentils being added to tomato sauce in a pan  adding wine to tomato sauce in a pan  walnuts being chopped with a knife on a cutting board  adding walnuts to a pot of tomato sauce  Vegan Bolognese-style sauce   cheese filled pasta shells with vegan Bolognaise-style sauce