Recipe: Vegetarian Bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is such a winter classic, and my not eating beef this year has thrown a real spanner in the works. Finally though, I have found a recipe that replicates spagbol pretty darn accurately, except with the added bonus that it’s healthier and there is no beef. It takes just as long as cooking meat (it has lentils as a substitute) and is a good way to use up any veges that may have seen better days!

Collect for the bolognese sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 t dried oregano
  • 1 c stock (vegetarian is fine, but you could use beef if you wanted that additional flavour)
  • 2/3 c red split lentils
  • 1/4 c tomato paste
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 t brown sugar
  • 2 t balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 c water
  • 400 g pasta


  1. Boil a large pot of water to cook the pasta.
  2. Splash some oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and oregano for 6-7 minutes, until softened. Add stock and simmer for 1 minute, until nearly all evaporated.
  3. Add the lentils, tomato paste, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover for about 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked. Season with salt and pepper. If the liquid appears to evaporate too quickly, just stir in some more water.
  4. Serve with salad (spinach and parmesan tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and top with toasted pine nuts, basil and cheese.

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