Nothing screams a winning family dinner more than a really flavoursome Spaghetti Bolognese. Although, in my house growing up it was all about the minced beef and decent sprinkling of grated cheese (with a little veg mixed in)! These days we like to do things a little differently. The Bolognese sauce is packed full of any veggies you basically have in the fridge. This version includes carrots, zucchini, red pepper and half a head of cauliflower. The cauliflower is important for the minced texture of the sauce and soaks in the other flavours.
Crucially though, a good Bolognese really comes down to how long you let it simmer. The Bolognese sauce needs to simmer for at least an hour to soak up all the flavours and it’s often even better reheated the next day or from the freezer stash! Make it in bulk so you can freeze portions and use for quick midweek meals.
Some of you may question the walnut sprinkles but I can’t exaggerate enough how much they add to this vegan dish – a good crunch, the perfect balance in flavour and some good quality fats and plant-based protein! I put loads on mine, the kiddies choose how much goes on their own plates, sometimes it’s a lot, sometimes it’s just a sprinkle.
Lastly, make sure you blitz everything together at the end, this gives the texture of a Bolognese and makes it much more appealing to the kiddies (and adults!).
Vegan All the Veggies Bolognese with Sprinkled Walnuts
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chopped chilli (if you / your family likes the heat)
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 1/2 zucchini chopped
- 1 large carrot peeled and chopped
- half a small cauliflower head chopped
- Good squirt tomato paste
- 2 x 400ml tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup veggie stock
- Pink salt and pepper as desired
- Add more water if the Bolognese starts to dry out
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped (chop small for children, particularly those under 3)
- In a large frying pan, sauté the onion on a medium heat for 5 minutes / until soften.
- Add the herbs, garlic and chilli and give it a good stir.
- Add the pepper through to cauliflower, stir and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes and veggie stock, stir and season as desired.
- Bring to the boil and once boiling reduce the heat to simmering. Allow the Bolognese sauce to simmer for an hour, keep coming back to it every 15 minutes or so to give it a stir and check the fluids. If it’s drying out add a little water/ stock.
- Once ready blitz in a blender for 20 seconds (ish), so it still retains the texture of a Bolognese but all the large pieces are gone.
- Serve on a bed of your favourite spaghetti with a good sprinkling of chopped walnuts.