A quick and easy meatless bolognese recipe that uses nothing more than minced roasted vegetables as its base. You won’t believe how flavorful and luxurious this sauce is with minimal ingredients required! It’s so cheap and easy to make, plus it’s vegan and soy free.
Whatever your diet, I consider spaghetti bolognese to be one of life’s essential recipes. Which is why this is my third take on meatless bolognese. We’ve done it with lentils and we’ve done it with roasted chickpeas.
And every time I think I’ve nailed the best approach to vegetarian bolognese, I surprise myself by finding something just as great. Seriously guys, the world is positively blessed with veggie bolognese options.
So today we make our bolognese with nothing but the vegetables.
Seriously though. I’ve seen this concept a few times before – pulsing vegetables in the food processor to create a “minced” texture. And it’s a great idea. It keeps things lighter and it packs in more vegetables without being too, I dunno, vegetabley? Some people don’t love big chunks of veggies in their sauce — creating a veggie mince will neutralize that and create the thick and consistent texture that everyone appreciates in a bolognese.
So I like this idea and all, but it was never my favorite… until I decided to try roasting the veggies first. And now I am here to inform you that it works a zillion times better this way.
When you make mince from uncooked veg, it’s tasty, but it’s definitely a light veggie based sauce. When you make mince from roasted veg, some magic happens.
We all know roasted vegetables have a lot more flavor. Especially here, roasted with a generous amount of seasoning and a balsamic drizzle.
And some veggies, when roasted, get tougher so will retain more texture once they’re minced up, which helps keep that sauce feeling substantial and meaty.
But I think the real kicker is that roasting your veg means lots of olive oil is joining the party. So those minced veggies actually bring their own richness, which mimics the way that meat fat would enrich the sauce in a traditional bolognese. For me, this is the something special that was needed.
It’s pretty close to perfect in my books.
If you are on a budget, this recipe is a great choice. Your ingredients list isn’t long, isn’t expensive, and doesn’t need to be top of the range.
Your vegetables don’t need to be organic or super fresh. So much flavor is brought out through roasting them, it’s really no biggie if your starting point is the economy range, the back of your fridge past its best, or both. S’all good.
We also don’t really need the “extras” my other bolognese recipes call for (such as wine or sundried tomatoes) because the roasted vegetables just do it all. They’re enough. We quit while we’re ahead with this one.
Granted, I like to use my more expensive canned tomatoes for this, but it wouldn’t be essential. If your tomatoes are budget versions you will be fine. You could add a little sugar, and be generous with salt and cooking time if you’re worried. I am still confident it will be delicious for you.
How to make it – A visual run through
The full printable recipe card is just below, but here it is in pictures: