Meat-free Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce is one of those sauces that everyone knows how to make and everyone has it’s own version. It is also popular with children, although it is still one of my go-to recipes whenever I fancy some spaghetti! One thing is for sure, and that is that the bolognese sauce we tend to have is anything but authentic! However, I always say that as long as it tastes authentically good it really doesn’t matter, I’m not a purist by any means.

Whether this dish is vegan or vegetarian depends on the type of mince you use. Many veggie minces are not vegan but there are some that are vegan friendly. You can also use the same amount of some minced seitan, minced tofu, or my favourite is dried soya mice (already rehydrated – see notes).

In fact this is a version of my mother’s recipe and since she is Spanish, there is a definite Spanish influence and variation of the traditional recipe. After all, I use white wine and tomato frito sauce as part of the ingredients which may leave some people wondering what is going on, but trust me, it tastes delicious! Tomato frito (or tomate frito in Spanish) is a classic sauce which is basically onion, peppers, garlic and tomato sauce, like a sofrito, but blended which makes it quite sweet as it releases all the natural sugars of the onions. This in turn gives a lovely depth to the tomato and reduces any acidity from the tinned tomato puree.

I also use yeast extract (Marmite) in order to give a savoury depth of flavour and that ‘meatiness’ that classic bolognese has. The Maggi Jugo seasoning (also known as liquid aminos in some places) also helps bolster those savoury flavours. The white wine is used in many Spanish dishes and even though it is normally not used in a bolognese, I have always had it this way and think it tastes good, however you can use red wine too. The thing is that I tend to keep the red wine for myself and won’t use it for food (unless I have to!)

The secret to this dish is to cook it slow, it tastes better believe me! However you can do it faster if you’re in a hurry and make it a meal in 30 minutes. You can also use some herbs, like oregano and thyme and add them towards the end, it will taste good but I tend to simply cook it as is. It is a very simple and tasty sauce to make, especially for the family. You can serve this with any type of pasta but spaghetti is my favourite, and also you can use this as the sauce for a lasagne. Some grated dairy-free parmesan will also take this to the next level.


Meat-free Bolognese Sauce
Yield: 4 Servings
Difficulty: Easy
Cooking time:


Classic twist on the traditional Italian bolognese sauce that keeps all the great taste and goes great with spaghetti. It will be vegetarian or vegan version depending on the type of mince you use.



  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 g veggie mince (see notes)
  • 400 g tinned tomato
  • 300 g tomato frito sauce
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 2 tbsp yeast extract (Marmite)
  • ½ tsp Maggi seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 10½ oz veggie mince (see notes)
  • 14 oz tinned tomato
  • 10½ oz tomato frito sauce
  • ¾ cup of white wine
  • 2 tbsp yeast extract (Marmite)
  • ½ tsp Maggi seasoning
  • salt to taste


  1. Finely dice the onion and sauté in a pan with the oil on a medium heat.
  2. When the onions are translucent dice the garlic cloves and add them to the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add the tinned tomato, the tomato frito sauce, the white wine, yeast extract and Maggi Jugo seasoning.
  4. Mix well, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes
  5. Add the veggie or vegan mince (see notes), bring back to a gentle simmer and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. Taste for salt, and serve with some freshly cooked pasta.


  • To use dried soya mince if you are wanting to keep it vegan it is necessary to re-hydrate it first. This couldn’t be easier, and only takes a few minutes. You can do this while the sauce is cooking away.
  • Put 200 g of dried soya mince in a bowl and pour 200 ml of hot water over it. Mix and allow to rest for 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed. If some of it isn’t you can simpy drain away before using the mince.
  • For a tastier soya mince use vegetable stock instead of water, and maybe a tablespoon of tamari soy sauce, or even some herbs of your liking.


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