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  • Writer's pictureNathalie Morris

Bolognese Sauce with a Twist

I am so happy to share with you that I have found a plant-based recipe for bolognese sauce that feels like the original and tastes even better. It's much simpler than I thought it would be.

I have always been a massive fan of spaghetti bolognese. When I transitioned to a plant-based diet, I thought that Andy's family recipe for bolognese sauce would be the thing that I missed the most.

After experimenting with a few different substitutes for mince, however, I have discovered a recipe that uses familiar ingredients, is easy to prepare, is exceptionally tasty, and that totally satisfies my craving for rich, meaty, tomatoey goodness.

Give it a go!


Serves 5

The sauce

A dash of olive oil

A brown onion

2 large garlic cloves

2 medium carrots

2 celery stalks

A red or yellow capsicum

3-4 button mushrooms

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 x 400ml cans diced tomatoes

1L vegetable stock

3/4 tsp thyme

3/4 tsp sage

A couple of bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

The mince

1 block tofu (roughly 400g / 14oz)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 1/2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

A pinch of chilli flakes


First, pre-heat the oven to 190C.

The sauce

1. Prepare

Dice the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into very small pieces. Chop the capsicum into bite-size chunks, and slice the mushrooms.

2. Sauté

Heat a dash of olive oil in a large saucepan, and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir for a few minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the onion and celery are translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a couple minutes, and then add the capsicum and mushroom and stir for a couple more.*

3. Cook

Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. While the sauce cooks and thickens, prepare the mince.

The mince

1. Crumble tofu

In an oven tray, use your hands to crumble the tofu.

2. Flavour tofu

Mix the tamari, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, and chilli flakes through the tofu.

3. Bake tofu

Bake the tofu in the oven until it is browned and crispy, giving it a toss every 10 minutes. This will take up to 30 minutes.

Tofu mince - before and after it goes in the oven.

When the sauce is ready, stir through your tofu mince, and yippee! Serve your bolognese sauce on spaghetti, toast, baked potato, brown rice, whatever you like.

If you love parmesan on your spag bol, grind together a handful of almonds or cashews with a couple spoons of nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt. So good!


*If you're feeling fancy, you can de-glaze the pan after you sauté your veggies by adding a splash of white wine. Stir the wine and veggies for a couple of minutes, and then continue on with step 3 of the recipe. This process lifts up all of the flavour from the bottom of your pan, and makes this sauce even more delicious.

Get creative with your leftovers.

We ate our leftovers over a baked potato, with guacamole and fresh tomatoes. It was also amazing.

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