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Classic Vegan Bolognese


Is there any dish more comforting than a big bowl of Bolognese?? It’s often one of the first dishes we learn to cook and a go-to on a busy week, any time of year. Which is why it’s so important to know how to make a delicious vegan Bolognese. Because, when that craving comes… you want to be prepared!

Everyone has their own twist on this classic dish but, ultimately, it comes down to the same core elements.  So, what makes a great Bolognese?

The mince

In this version of our Bolognese we’ve used a combination of mushroom and cauliflower for the ‘mince’. There are lots of different ways you can replace mince in recipes, such as with a vegan mince, lentils or walnuts. We love this combination of meaty mushrooms and cauliflower as it’s hearty but also feels fresh and healthy. It’s a great way to get some of those 10 a day in!

To make your vegetable mince nice and ‘meaty’, make sure to saute it on a high heat until it feels like most of the moisture has gone. Doing this before adding the liquid to the dish means it won’t all turn to mush.

The sauce

This is where everyone’s individual flare comes out. Do you prefer your Bolognese sauce to be slightly sweet or deep and rich? For us it’s all about lots of garlic, some red wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar to take things up a notch.

If you are one for a slightly sweeter sauce, try adding grated carrot, rather than sugar. It works really well to sweeten the sauce in a more healthy way.

The pasta

Of course you can go for the classic; spaghetti, but with so much choice out there it’s nice to play around. Our favourite pasta to serve this dish with is pappardelle. It’s so hearty and delicious.

If you’re looking for a less carb-heavy dish, why not try stuffing peppers with your bolognese and baking them? Or making some courgetti? 

The garnish

Is any Bolognese complete without Parmesan cheese? In this post we also share our simple vegan parmesan cheese recipe. It’s great for sprinkling on top and can be used in lots of other dishes too, so it’s worth making in batches.


Adding fresh, raw produce to your plate has huge benefits for your health. We love to serve Bolognese with a simple rocket and tomato salad on the side. And of course, a little glass of red never goes amiss!

This dish really is a winner, all year round. In the winter, it’s pure comfort in a bowl and, in the summertime, it’s perfect alfresco in the sun.

In the next video we show you how to turn your Bolognese in to a Lasagne, so why not make double and fill up that freezer with both?

show me how

the recipe


Yield: 2-4
Author: The Brook: Plant-Based Kitchen
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 50 MinTotal time: 1 Hour


To make the bolognese
  • 10 mushrooms
  • 1/2 cauliflower
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 100ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp oil (olive)
  • 1/2 tube of tomato puree
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pasta of choice for 2/4
  • Parmesan cheese alternative
  • 100g nuts (2/3 cashews, 1/3 walnuts)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt


For the bolognese
  1. In a food processor, add the chopped mushrooms and pulse to break down into smaller pieces. Set to one side.
  2. Cut the cauliflower and add to the food processor. Pulse to break down into small pieces and set to one side.
  3. In a pan on a medium/high heat, add the oil. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan along with the crushed garlic.
  4. Add the mushrooms and the cauliflower and stir. Season with the mixed herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Cook for 6-7 minutes to allow for the mushrooms and cauliflower to reduce.
  6. Next, pour in the red wine and the tin of chopped tomatoes along with half a tin of water. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the tomato puree.
  7. Leave to simmer with a lid on for 40-50 minutes.
  8. After 40-50 minutes, remove the lid and leave to cook for another few minutes.
  9. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and serve with the bolognese topped with the parmesan cheese alternative (optional)
  10. To make the parmesan cheese alternative
  11. Note: this is best made with a milling blade, but if you don't have a machine with one then use an s-blade food processor. Place all the ingredients into your mixer and pulse until it's a fine grain.
THE BROOK 101 IS DESIGNED TO TEACH YOU HOW EASILY YOU CAN MAKE DELICIOUS & VARIED PLANT-BASED MEALS AT HOME. IT WAS FILMED DURING LOCKDOWN. IN A WAREHOUSE. NEXT TO A STEELWORKS. PARTLY ON AN IPHONE. THANK YOU TO THE PROFESSIONALS WHO HELPED MAKE IT LOOK CONSIDERABLY LESS BLUE PETER: "Better This Way" Written and recorded by Scott McFarnon: @scottmcfarnon / Mixed by Andy Brook: Graphics by: Georgie May Birch @birchbowl Sound editor: Andy Brook: Video editor: Conor Hayward Advice giver and equipment lender: Jon Boast