If you know anything about Italian cuisine then you definitely know something about or have heard of ragu. Often and commonly referred to as “bolognese” in foreign languages, ragu is a typical recipe of the Italian culinary tradition that can actually be made in two different ways: “napoletano” (Naples) and “bolognese” (Bologna indeed). The difference is that the latter is made with minced meat and the first is made with whole meat pieces instead. In both cases though it requires to simmer for hours in order to create that rich flavorful sauce that normally is.
The cool thing is that you can easily recreate a version of it that causes no harm to animals and is less impactful environmentally speaking because it is entirely plant based. Plus is very filling and rich in flavor and very easy to make.
I probably haven’t created anything new, but this is just my simple version of a vegan ragu sauce that I made without looking at any other recipe (I was simply driven by inspiration in the kitchen and some ingredients I already had). I made it a few times at home already and even with babe it was an absolute hit. It can be used as a pasta sauce, as a rich condiment for vegan lasagna or even on its own with some whole wheat bread and a side dish of veggies.
Here’s what you’ll need for this vegan bolognese sauce (vegan ragu)
onion and carrot for “soffritto”
3 cups plain tomato sauce (you can take diced tomato sauce or smooth tomato sauce, it doesn’t really matter)
1,5 cups dry brown lentils
3/4 cup dry soy chunks (the fine ones, that are almost like a granulated dry soy)
1-2 cups veggie stock
1 pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste (I usually put about 2-3 generous pinches of salt and a couple of pinches of pepper)
How to make vegan “bolognese”
Dice up finely some onion and carrot. In a sauce pan pour about 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or water, if you want to make a soffritto that is lower in fat) in a sauce pan. When the oil has heated up a bit, throw the diced veggies into the sauce pan and let them brown, stirring them well every once in a while.
Add the tomato sauce, some of the veggie broth and the pinch of sugar (don’t skip the sugar because it helps balance out the acidity of the tomato sauce). Stir well until well combined, bring everything to a boil with the lid on on medium heat and let simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the rinsed lentils. Once you add the lentils lower the heat to let everything simmer. Stir occasionally
When the lentils are soft, add the soy and the seasoning. The soy tends to absorb a lot of liquid so if the sauce is a bit too thick, add some veggie stock.
Remove the lid from the pan and let everything simmer for a few minutes until the lentils are nicely tender and the flavors are all well combined together. The important things is that the lentils are well cooked and tender, the fine soy doesn’t need a lot of time to soften and cook through.
This is such an easy recipe and it will take about 35 minutes to make. Being a meat-free recipe, this is also budget friendly (dry legumes and dry soy are usually very affordable but still healthy and nutritious) and if you are lucky enough, you can even buy most of the ingredients package free or plastic free. This recipe makes about 4-5servings if you use it as pasta condiment. In case of leftovers, you can store it in the fridge for a few days or freeze it.
Have you ever tried to make vegan ragu? Which ingredients cannot miss in vegan ragu? Anyway, I hope this post gives you some positive plant based cooking inspiration for your next meal! Happy cooking!
I’ll talk to you soon! xoxo