How to make a vegan spaghetti bolognese

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Preparing vegan spaghetti bolognese has never been easier. Instead of using meat such as minced beef, you use pulses. In this case, adzuki beans but lentils can be used as well. You won’t even notice the difference between a traditional bolognese recipe and this vegan spaghetti bolognese, it tastes that good…

Prep 30 mins | Cook 2 hours | Total 2 hours, 30 mins
By Michelle Minnaar


450g (1lb) adzuki beans
60ml (4 tbsp) olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 celery sticks, washed and finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
450g (1lb) mushrooms
250ml (1 cup) red wine
1kg (2lbs) passata
1ℓ (4 cups) vegetable stock
5ml (1 tsp) salt
30ml (2 tbsp) brown sugar [optional]
125ml (½ cup) almond milk [optional]


Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight. Drain and rinse the beans the next day before cooking.
Gently fry the onion and garlic in a large saucepan until softened.
Add the celery and carrots, then cook for another 10 minutes.
Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for 5 minutes.
Add the wine and let the mixture sizzle for about 5 minutes.
Add the beans, then the passata, stock and salt.
Stir well and let the bolognese read a bubbling point. Lower the heat and let it slowly simmer.
Cook slowly for around 90 minutes or until the beans are cooked and the flavours have developed.
[Optional] Add the sugar to help with the acidity of the dish and splash of milk to take the edge off it.
Serve with pasta, vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil.


Feel free to substitute the adzuki beans with your favourite type of pulse, such as lentils.
This recipe is for batch cooking bolognese because it’s ideal for freezing. If you want to make less, just halve or quarter the quantities.
You can add your favourite herbs to the bolognese, such as thyme or basil.

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