Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Recipe: Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese


When cooking vegetarian food and trying to achieve the same depth of flavour a meat dish has the instant advantage of, the process of drawing out flavour from the ingredients is of utmost importance. Most of the time this will involve slow cooking and caramelisation. My vegetarian bolognese recipe may look like it has the same ingredient list as any other bolognese recipe you have seen, but the difference is in the cooking technique and the way the sauce is put together. It’s utterly delicious, has depth of flavour and is as good as any meat version.


Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves 4


300g mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and cracked black pepper
Olive oil

1 red onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 stick celery chopped fine
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
150ml glass red wine
400g tin tomatoes + water
1 tbsp red wine vinegar + 1 small tsp sugar mixed together
125g halloumi
1 tbsp olive oil
125ml water
Dried spaghetti
Grated parmesan and basil for garnish



  1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Scatter mushroom slices on a baking tray along with crushed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Now drizzle generously with olive oil and combine well. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until mushrooms are dark and crispy (keep your eye on them whilst cooking and be careful not to burn or blacken). Remove from oven when ready and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan fry onions in olive oil until soft and caramelised (start with a medium – high heat then turn to a low heat and cook slowly for 10 minutes to achieve caramelisation). Add garlic, oregano, dried chilli, carrot and celery and continue to cook on a low heat until soft, another 10 minutes.
  3. Next add tomato paste, stir through and cook until dark and sticky. Cooking the tomato paste this way adds the foundation of flavour to the rest of the tomato sauce, giving it a rich depth. When this is done add the red wine, bring to the boil, then turn to simmer until reduced by half.
  4. Chop halloumi into chunks then blend with oil and water until smooth.
  5. Return to saucepan and add tinned tomatoes and vinegar-sugar mix. Fill the empty tomato can 1/3 way with water, swirl around to collect left over tomato and add this to the sauce. Next stir blended halloumi in with the tomato sauce until completely combined. Bring to the boil, turn to simmer, stir sauce again to loosen, then cover with a lid and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, using your hands crush roasted mushroom bits into small pieces so it resembles mince. Add mushroom mince to tomato sauce, stir through, cover again and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Cook spaghetti to packet instructions.
  8. Mix bolognese sauce and spaghetti together and divide between bowls. Top with grated parmesan and chopped basil leaves.


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