Plant-based Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese has always had a place close to my heart. As a kid it was my favourite meal – in fact, it was the only dinner that I would happily slurp and get messy with, because I couldn’t get enough of its rich flavour and smooth texture!

Nowadays, bolognese has become a healthier, lighter affair, but it hasn’t lost any of its rich tomato base or flagrant flavour. In fact, this dish is one of my staple dinners, and I eat it at least once a week because it’s so quick and easy to whip up.

As you’ll also notice from the title, this recipe is wholly plant-based, meaning it’s also vegan and vegetarian. I’ve been dabbling with meals from all three diet types (as I still call myself a vegetarian, although “it’s complicated” would be a better description considering I no longer drink cows’ milk). From now on, I’ll be adding little symbols under each recipe that I post so you can more easily tell whether they fit into your diet or not – this one, for example, is vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Whew! Even I was surprised at how it fit into all those categories – you can of course further customise this to fit with your specific diet or dietary requirements.

I’m also going to add a little note here that you will indeed need a spiraliser or julienne peeler for the courgette spaghetti – you could make courgette slices if you don’t have these to hand, however.

Plant-based Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves: 2

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
200g mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp fine sea salt
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 medium carrot
½ yellow bell pepper
Splash of olive oil
2 medium courgettes
Handful of pine nuts

  1. To prepare the vegetables for the sauce, chop the onion, crush the garlic, grate the carrot, slice the mushrooms and dice the pepper – this will give a chunkier bolognese, but you can finely chop everything if you prefer
  2. Next, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and fry the onion and mushroom. Leave the lid on to capture all the mushrooms’ expelled water, but make sure to have enough olive oil in the beginning, otherwise the onion will burn
  3. Turn down the heat and add the crushed garlic, leaving to simmer for a minute
  4. Now add the tomato purée, oregano, basil, and sea salt, stirring in so all the flavours mix
  5. Throw in your chopped tomatoes, grated carrot, and chopped pepper and leave to cook for 10 minutes on a low heat
  6. While this is cooking, heat the pine nuts in a small frying pan without any oil. This dry frying technique will work suddenly at a high heat, so make sure to keep the nuts moving and remove from the pan as soon as they are brown
  7. To make the courgette spaghetti, use a spiraliser (I have a handheld one) or julienne peeler and twirl into long noodles, directly into the now empty frying pan along with a splash of olive oil. I also usually chop up any excess courgette and throw it into the bolognese at this point
  8. Now fry the “courgetti” at a medium heat until soft, but before liquid is released. Remove from the pan and serve everything together in a bowl


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