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Friday supper: Have a go at Mandy’s vegan bolognese

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This amazing vegan spaghetti bolognese is so very tasty and is a great meat-free meal for meat-free Monday, Veganuary, or any day, writes Mandy Applegate.

Preparation time, 15 minutes. Cook Time, 1 hr 45 minutes Serves 6.

Ingredients: 10g Dried porcini mushrooms, 250ml freshly boiled water, 2 large onions, 4 tbsp olive oil, 3 tsp sea salt flakes, 1 aubergine, 150g carrots, a large bunch of parsley, 2 celery sticks, 150g woodland mushrooms, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp dried chilli flakes, 1 tsp dried thyme, 30ml tomato puree, 1 tsp Marmite or vegemite, 50g red lentils, 100g green lentils, 100g puy lentils, 400g chopped tomatoes, 400ml cold water, 500g passata sauce.


Instructions: The first thing to do is to soak your porcini mushrooms in freshly boiled water. Give the mushrooms a stir, make sure they’ve all been under the water, and then set them aside and cover the jug or pot with a small plate.
Then it’s onto your onions, you’ll need to roughly chop them. Once you’ve done this, then heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy pan, you’ll need a pan that has a well-fitting lid to it.

Add your onions to the pan and season with 1 tbsp of sea salt and then you’ll need to cook over medium heat for around 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to low heat so that they can cook nice and slowly.

Give them an occasional stir as you don’t want them to burn, cook for around 20 minutes until they turn a lovely golden colour and are soft.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to cut your aubergines or eggplants, into approximately 1 cm dice and set them aside.

Next, it’s onto your carrots, it’s not necessary to peel them if they are looking good. Grate your carrots and set them aside.

Now it’s on to your parsley. You’ll need to trim your parsley stalks and remove the ends and then finely chop them, you want to have around 4 table spoons.

Don’t discard the parsley leaves, you’ll need them later so put them in your fridge so they retain some of their freshness.

Chop your celery into small chunks and when your onions are cooked, add in another 2 tbsp of olive oil, turn your heat to high and add in the celery and aubergines.

Give them a good stir for around 5 – 7 minutes, lower the heat if you need to, then remove the pan from the heat. Now you’ll need to chop your woodland mushrooms and you need them finely chopped.

Strain your porcini mushrooms but keep the amazing umami mushroom water as you’ll need this later. Once again you’ll need your porcini mushrooms finely chopped.

Put all of the mushrooms into the pan and then crush your garlic over the mixture, add in your smoked paprika, chilli flakes, and dried thyme, then throw in your chopped parsley stalks and give your mixture a good stir, and put it back on the hob on medium heat for around a minute. Add in a little extra oil if you think it needs it.

Add in your remaining sea salt flakes (we love Maldon sea salt flakes) and then your tomato puree, stir and on medium-low heat, and cook for a further 3 minutes. Next, add in a teaspoon of marmite and stir.

Now it’s time to add in your grated carrot and also all of your lentils (make sure that you have rinsed your lentils thoroughly so that when the water pours through them, it’s clear).

Then it’s time to pour your canned chopped tomatoes into the mixture. Once the tomatoes are in, pour 250ml of boiling water into the can, swirl it around and pour into the pan, followed by the reserved porcini mushroom water. Give the mixture a good stir.

Now add in your passata sauce. Your sauce should be turning a lovely deep colour now. Give the mixture a good stir, turn the heat low, and put the lid on your pan. You now want the sauce to be simmering gently for at least an hour. It’s important to let the lentils soak up the sauce so they become soft, but if you think the sauce is too liquidy then remove the lid and let it gently simmer, and reduce a little until you get the consistency and texture you prefer.

When your lentils have cooked and your sauce texture is perfect for you, take the parsley out of the fridge and roughly chop the leaves. You’ll want roughly up to the 250ml indicator in a measuring jug give or take.

Stir them into your bolognese sauce leaving a few to sprinkle on top for garnish.

Then you’ll need to cook your spaghetti or pasta of choice. Follow the packet guidelines for the amount needed per person and cooking instructions.

When your spaghetti or pasta is cooked, add it into the pan of bolognese sauce, don’t worry if you get the pasta water in the sauce, that’s a good thing as you need it to help bind the pasta to the sauce.

Give everything a good stir and make sure that the spaghetti or pasta is coated with the bolognese sauce and then transfer to serving bowls.

Sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and serve with garlic bread or a salad.

Bellisimo – spaghetti bolognese like you’ve never had it before – enjoy!
The nutritional information is based on the sauce only, please see the packet for nutritional information on your chosen pasta.

Nutrition/Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 1207mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4979IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 6mg.

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