Authentic Veggie Bolognese


This vegetarian version of classic bolognese sauce rivals the real thing thanks to umami-rich ingredients like tempeh, mushrooms and the rind from an old brick of Parmesan cheese. Loaded with fresh veggies, this one-pot meal requires a good amount of chopping time,  plus an hour or more on the stove to let the flavors meld. It’s time well sent though, as this big ol’ pot of bolognese makes plenty of sauce to enjoy now, with much more for freezing. This recipe is a veggie adaptation of Ricardo’s Weekend Cooking Bolognese Sauce.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 package tempeh, coarsely grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup dry red wine (use an alcohol-free version if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 pint mushrooms, diced
  • 2 28oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup green lentils, cooked & well drained
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small Parmesan cheese rind
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh basil for garnish (optional)



  1. In a large saucepan, brown the onions, celery and tempeh in olive oil. Add the garlic and cook a minute longer.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it reduces by half. Add the milk and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (except fresh basil) and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 1 – 1.5 hours.
  4. Serve over your favorite whole grain pasta, garnished with fresh basil.


You’ll notice that this recipe calls for cooking wine – a controversial subject for some parents. Go with whatever you’re most comfortable with. Good substitutes include alcohol-free wine or a hearty vegetable stock.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s