Autumn, Winter, Main, Pasta

Spaghetti Bolognese

So, you need to believe me when I tell you this really is the only plant-based Bolognese recipe you need. I often use lentils in replace of meat but have recently been experimenting with soya mince. I have found a good organic 100% soya dried mince, that I love using instead of minced meat. It contains 52g protein per 100g, compared too that of beef which varies between 15-19g per 100g. so no need to worry where your protein is coming from this recipe. The secret to a good Bolognese, it to let it cook down for as long as possible, regardless if it has meat or not. This one tasted amazing after about 4-6 hours, and even more incredible the second time round a few days later. Its perfect for a slow cooker left on overnight, turn it off in the morning and let it deepen over the day, then reheat when you're home. Or let it bubble away on a Saturday afternoon.

I use some special ingredients to give it that deep richness and dare I say meaty flavour. One of them that I find key is porcini mushrooms and that gorgeous earthy rich broth that you get from soaking them. Other ingredients if you can get your hands on some, is umami paste and porcini paste. I also add a tsp of marmite. I would love you know how you get on if you try this recipe. Hopefully it will become your go to Bolognese, weather your vegan or not.



  • 200g dried soya mince
  • 1 veg stock cube
  • 40g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 250g diced onion
  • 4 gloves garlic finely chopped or grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 celery sticks diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 1tbs fresh or dried oregano
  • 4tbs tomato puree
  • 500ml vegetable stock cube
  • 150ml red wine
  • 3 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3tbs tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 2tsp porcini paste (optional)
  • 1tsp umami paste (optional)
  • 1 tbs red/brown miso paste
  • 4-5 sundried tomatoes in oil finely chopped
  • To serve
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 500g spaghetti


  1. First get you soya mince rehydrated by place it in a large bowl and covering with boiling water, drop in a vegetable stock cube, stir till the stock has melted and leave to soak.
  2. Place your dried porcini into a jug and cover with 500ml boiling water, leave to soak.
  3. Whilst their soaking get you veg going. Start by gentle frying your diced onions until starting to soften, add your celery, carrots, bay leaves and dried oregano. Gentle cook down on a medium to low heat till they start to soften, and the onion is translucent. About 5-10mins.
  4. Whilst this is cooking go back to your mushrooms.
  5. Drain your porcini mushrooms by placing a piece of kitchen towel in a sieve and pouring the mushrooms and their liquid through and into a bowl reserving the liquid. Squeeze out any remaining liquid from the mushrooms in the kitchen towel. This helps to hold back and small pieces of grit from the mushrooms. Remove the mushrooms from the kitchen towel, discard the towel and finely chop the mushrooms.
  6. The soya will also have rehydrated and need draining. Drain through a large sieve and give it a little squeeze with the back of a spoon to remove excess liquid. You want a relatively dry mince. Set aside.
  7. Back to your vegetables, add the garlic to the vegetables and let in cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the tomato puree and stir till combined.
  8. Turn the heat up to medium high, once the pan is hot add he red wine so it bubbles and deglazes.
  9. After a couple of minutes add your chopped porcini and soya mince and stir till combined.
  10. Next add in your tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, reserved porcini broth, ketchup, marmite, umami and porcini paste and miso if using and the sundried tomatoes.
  11. Season with a good amount of freshly ground pepper and 1 tbs salt.
  12. Stir till combined and bring to a boil, as soon as its boiling reduce to a low simmer and leave with the lid off for several hours, stirring occasionally. Or place in your slow cooker on low for as long as you need.
  13. The Bolognese should be starting to reduce and thicken after a couple of hours, taste and adjust the seasoning. It will be delicious eaten now, but I highly recommend leaving this a good 4 hour to mature. I am very impatient, so I know this can be hard.
  14. Once your happy with it and adjusted the seasoning, prepare your spaghetti by the packets instructions and stir the Bolognese through the pasta. You may not need all this Bolognese, depending on how many your serving, so add in as much as required and leave the rest to cool. top with freshly chopped basil and my quick cashew parmesan (optional).

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