When I ate meat, spaghetti bolognese wouldn’t have been a favorite of mine. I liked bacon in my pasta sauces.
For the last seven years I’ve been playing around with different veggie sauces, and this one reminds me of bolognese in both appearance and texture.
But I much prefer the flavor of this to a meat-based version.
The secret is in the mushrooms—they actually give the sauce a meaty taste and texture. So, while you can play around with other ingredients, if it’s a bolognese-type sauce you’re after, be sure to include the mushrooms.
I also add in half a chilli as I like a bit of kick, but it’s not really necessary. And I only ever use organic celery, on the advice of a horticulturalist friend. (If you can’t get organic, it’s better to leave it out—the ridges make it extremely difficult to confidently wash away all traces of pesticides.)
Here’s what I use and it yields four to five portions (and freezes well):
1 medium white onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
1 stick of celery, finely chopped (organic)
I carrot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 large field mushrooms, chopped
2 tins of tomatoes
1 glug oil (I use rapeseed)
1/2 – 1 red or green chilli, sliced (optional)
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, garlic and celery. Season with a little salt and saute on a medium heat for a minute.
Add in the carrots and mushrooms and stir all ingredients until they are coated in the oil. Cover the pan and sweat on a gentle heat for another minute or two.
Add in the tinned tomatoes and oregano. Rinse out each can with half a can of water and add to the pot.
Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for twenty minutes.
Using a hand-held blender, blend all ingredients. In a matter of seconds your tomato sauce will take on the appearance of bolognese.
Season with salt and pepper, then enjoy with cooked pasta of your choice.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s own