This is my vegan version of spaghetti Bolognese, which is a kind of British-Italian fusion dish, I believe. Traditional Bolognese sauce is made with beef or lamb mince, but here I use soya mince, which is just as good – you really can't tell the difference when it is cooked! (I know this as I have given it to meat-eaters who have enjoyed it! And I don't think they were just being polite). I used soya mince from the Tesco Meat-Free range, which is vegan and very versatile (some of the meatless minces, like Quorn, for example, contain animal products like egg-white, which is why I now use the Tesco one). I like to make this dish with extra-virgin olive oil and quite a lot of herbs, which is what gives it its flavour. A tasty, satisfying dinner dish, which is popular with everyone.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
25 ml olive oil (extra-virgin, if possible)
100g spaghetti (dry weight)
100g vegan soya mince
1 300ml can chopped tomatoes, with or without added herbs (or 3-4 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped)
50g mushrooms (any variety, but I generally use chestnut mushrooms, as they give a satisfyingly "meaty"flavour)
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 handful fresh basil, torn
Other herbs to taste, eg oregano, thyme (I usually add a few dried ones, as well as basil)
Salt and freshly ground black and white pepper
Other optional ingredients:
About 50g chopped red and green peppers (if you want to add more vegetables to the sauce, makes it go further , also makes the flavour slightly sweeter). Squirt of tomato ketchup.
1) Boil spaghetti in salted water in a large pan, as instructed on the packet, until tender or just "al dente".
2) Meanwhile, heat the olive oil gently in a large saucepan or frying pan, add the crushed garlic, and fry gently for about 1 minute.
3) Add the chopped onion and fry until soft and transparent.
4) Add the sliced mushrooms and fry for 1-2 minutes.
5) Add the soya mince and fry on a low heat until just browned.
6) Add the tomatoes and dried herbs, if using, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. If you are using the peppers and ketchup, they should also be added at this stage. Add the rest of the seasoning, and the fresh basil last.
7) Check consistency of the sauce; add more water, if too dry, and add more seasoning if required. When the taste and consistency are to your satisfaction, add to the cooked spaghetti. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread or French bread.