Plant-based alternatives for Bolognese sauce are common choices nowadays as more and more people find that many recipes can be just as good, if not better without meat.
Following a plant-based diet has been proven to reduce the risk of several diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer and type 2 diabetes, not to mention the diet is extremely beneficial for people who want to lose weight.
One of the easiest ways to add more plants and less meat to your diet is to start replacing meat ingredients with plant ingredients in recipes such as sauce, for example.
The perfect meaty-like sauce that you can cook without the meat is Bolognese, vegan-style. Follow the recipe down below for a delicious plant-based alternative for your favorite sauce and you’ll never miss the meat ingredient.
Bolognese sauce vegan-style
This recipe for Bolognese sauce without the meat is a great way to start eating a little more vegan and a little less meaty. It includes ingredients such as mushrooms, tempeh and lentils, which we’re going to be talking about in just a minute that provide a meaty texture and great nutrition to one of the most popular sauce recipes of Italy.
- Mushrooms are low in calories, low in fat and contain zero cholesterol. They are high in antioxidants, so a great alternative to beef up on nutrients that help protect the cells and reduce the risk of chronic inflammation in the body.
- Lentils are also low in fat and low in calories, but high in fiber and protein. Coupled with a whole grain, lentils are just as much a protein powerhouse as actual meat. They contain nutrients such as potassium, iron, folate and manganese that fight against disease and protect against free-radical damage.
- Tempeh contains big nutritional players, such as carbohydrates and protein that come from the ingredients used to make this Indonesian soy product. Tempeh can be made using quinoa, brown rice, sesame seeds, spices, flax seed, and barley millet – sometimes all of the ingredients being added to the recipe, bringing about a higher nutritional value.
Because of the three main ingredients mentioned above, the vegan Bolognese sauce is the perfect way to start approaching a plant-based diet. It will provide a high protein intake without ripping the sauce of its meaty texture and a similar calorie intake as the meat version, about 269 calories per serving, making it a great diet option.
Here are the ingredients for making this delicious sauce.
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil;
- Minced garlic, about 3 cloves;
- 1 finely chopped yellow onion;
- 1/2 finely chopped green bell pepper;
- 1 finely chopped carrot;
- 1 finely chopped stalk celery;
- Crumbled tempeh, about 1 8-ounce package;
- Chopped white mushrooms, about 8;
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes;
- 1 can of tomato paste, 6-ounce;
- 1 bay leaf;
- 1 tsp dried oregano;
- 1 tsp dried basil;
- 1/2 cup dried lentils;
- 1 can crushed tomatoes, 28-ounch.
- 1 can chopped whole tomatoes;
- 1 cup dry red wine;
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley;
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper;
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed;
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt.
The vegan Bolognese sauce is best cooked in a Dutch oven, as this will help prevent splatters provided you choose a larger one. The Dutch oven is one of the most recommended pots for cooking pastas, also stews and soups.
Instructions: bring the oil to medium heat, add the garlic, the onion, the bell pepper, the carrot, the celery and the crushed red pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
Turn the heat up another notch and add the mushrooms and the tempeh, let cook for about 3 minutes while stirring constantly and add in the tomato paste, cooking at medium heat again for 2 minutes.
Finally, add the herbs, the rest of the tomatoes, the parsley and the wine and bring to a boil to simmer at low heat for approximately 10 minutes.
Add the lentils and cook until tender, adding boiled water if the sauce gets too dry and the salt to taste at the end of cooking. For added nutrition, use wheat spaghetti.