vegetarian bolognese

Vegetarian Bolognese

Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce

There is great excitement tinged with sadness in our house this evening.  My daughter, of nearly 23 years, is preparing to leave home to live in London!  There has been much emptying of cupboards, clothes washing (until the washing machine broke, good timing!) and heavy suitcases piling up near the front door.  I will miss her.  I have been extremely lucky to have both my adult children living at home during the lockdowns, they have been the most excellent company.

One request my daughter has asked is for me to write down some of my recipes so she can cook them in her new apartment. With both of my not-so-smalls being vegetarians since university I have had to modify many of our family recipes to suit their new tastes.  What struck me when I was writing down the vegetarian bolognese sauce recipe was what a great recipe it is for the galley.  Mostly tins, one-pot, simple and quick.  It’s also very forgiving and will tolerate any fridge leftovers being added for example leftover soups, sauces or vegetables.  Experiment, this often produces the best results.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 x tin of lentils (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x tin of Baked Beans
  • 1 x onion (diced)
  • 2 x cloves of garlic (either chopped or crushed)
  • 125g x mushrooms (optional)
  • oil for frying
  • 100g of double concentrate tomato puree
  • 1 x teaspoon of yeast extract (Marmite, if you love it!)
  • 1 x tablespoon of brown sauce
  • 1 x red wine stockpot (or stock cube of your choice)
  • 300ml water
  • dried mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • Any leftover soup, beans, vegetables anything really can be added to the pot

Large saucepan
hob/gas ring

Preparation and Cooking Time:
40 minutes


  • In the saucepan fry the onions until soft then add the garlic to fry for a few minutes more being careful not to burn the garlic, then place in a bowl to one side.
  • Fry the mushrooms (if adding) in the saucepan.
  • Add the onions, garlic, lentils, beans and tomatoes to the saucepan.
  • Add the yeast extract, brown sauce, red wine stockpot, tomato puree, herbs and water.
  • Add any leftovers.
  • Simmer and reduce the sauce for around 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is the consistency that you like then season to taste.

Serve with the pasta of your choice.

This vegetarian bolognese recipe can also be modified into a chili con carne.  Keep the basic ingredients but swap the tin of baked beans for a tin of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed).  Then add half a sweet red pepper (fried until soft and slightly browned), then add chili powder, cumin and paprika to bring the chili to the heat you prefer.

Photo Credit: sanalisyan Flickr via Compfight cc
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