Baby it’s cold outside! I want to curl up with a bowl of spaghetti bolognese and vino…
If you’re the type who loves (or used to love) meat for its rich flavour and texture, this is for you. That’s the thing: usually, when people switch over to plant-based foods, the foods they miss the most have strong flavours and textures. So the challenge is to reintroduce those elements to your plant-based cooking.
The soy mince (or TVP, textured vegetable protein) in this recipe comes together with shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, red wine, soy sauce, miso, herbs and spices to create an umami-rich flavour profile and a meaty texture: all without the cholesterol and high fat content of a traditional bolognese. Instead, it’s got lots of protein (complete protein, mind you), fibre, iron and other good stuff.
It’s been more than 17 years since I’ve eaten anything with beef, so I don’t exactly recall how a bolognese is ‘supposed’ to be: I’ve been told my bolognese isn’t enough of a ‘sauce’—I like it this way, but if you want you could definitely add another can of tomatoes to bump up the proportion of tomato and liquid.
Meaty Vegan Bolognese
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 stick celery diced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups dry soy mince (TVP)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 can chopped tomatoes or 2, if you prefer a more saucy bolognese
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp miso paste (optional)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 1.5 cups freshly boiled hot water, and put a plate on top to keep the steam from escaping. Don't discard the soaking water!
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan or large skillet over medium heat, and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes until softened.
- Add the carrots, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft.
- Stir in the dry soy mince, then add the soy sauce and red wine, stirring to absorb.
- Add the can(s) of chopped tomatoes, and mix along with the sugar (to offset the acidity) and mixed herbs.
- In a small bowl, mix the miso paste with some of the vegetable stock, then add it into the rest of the vegetable stock.
- Now stir the vegetable stock into the bolognese mix, and add the soaking water from the shiitake mushrooms.
- Finely chop the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and mix them in.
- Add the smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over pasta of your choice: spaghetti is the obvious option 🙂