In the mood for Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Spag Bol. It’s a dish I grew up on. It’s the first recipe I learnt to cook by myself. It’s been my standby for when I really don’t want to cook but have to. And it’s a dish that is always greeted with cheers when I answer the daily question of “What’s for dinner?”

Sometimes I make it the traditional way with a beef sauce on pasta. Other times I make it with beef and pork and serve it on zucchetti (zucchini spag). But today I’m making it vegetarian. If you’re a complete lover of meat you may be asking “Why? Why would you do that?” And I guess the only answer is that I tried it when my girls were going through a vegetarian phase and I really, really liked it. The sauce is just as big with all the flavours you expect from a traditional spag bol, it just doesn’t have any meat in it. Which is good every once in a while don’t you reckon?


Vegetarian Spag BolB1


You might be asking how I get the same big flavour without meat. I use mushrooms and a can of brown lentils – meaty and filling and just plain good. Not to mention, good for you. It’s packed with 9 grams of fibre per serve, 16 grams of protein, 4.7 grams of total fat (I know, TOTAL fat!) and only 1592 kilojoules (379cals). Big bonus when you’re in desperate need of comfort but want to keep it light and healthy but tasty.


Do you go meatless every now and then? Have you converted a traditionally carnivorous dish to vego? Or are you shuddering at the thought of meat free spag bol?


Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
375g field mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
500g tomatoes*, chopped
1 can brown lentils, drained
1 cup passata
1½ cups stock (I use beef style which is still all vegetable)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper
Enough cooked pasta for 4 (about a cup each)

Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium-low heat for 8 minutes until softened. Add tomatoes, lentils, passata, stock, oregano, bay leaves and sugar and bring to the boil. Check for seasoning, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add basil leaves and parsley and stir through.  Serve on pasta.

*Using fresh tomatoes is fantastic when they’re in season (cheap, cheap, cheap), but if they’re not just use 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
Per serving for 4: 1592kj (379cals); 4.5g total fat (0.7g saturated fat); 6.3g fibre

Healthy eating!




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