Spaghetti Bolognese – meat free

Spaghetti Bolognese – meat free

Can you guess the secret ingredient in this very meaty but meat free spaghetti bolognese? Usually, I would use lentils, or soya mince, or even Quorn, but this version – this is all vegetables! Of course, just because this is called spaghetti bolognese, doesn’t mean you have to eat it with spaghetti! You can use pasta, garlic bread, salad or a jacket potato to eat it with… or just eat it as it is!

Bowl of spaghetti bolognese on a white tea towel with a knife and fork

The spaghetti bolognese recipe

When I looked in the fridge to see what vegetables I had, two things jumped out! I had a punnet of chestnut mushrooms which looked like they needed eating, and a couple of aubergines which were saying ‘pick me!’ So, of course, my mind turned to what I could easily make with not one, but two meaty substitutes and bolognese veggie style was born! There are a smattering of other vegetables in there too, but just use what you have! I have used onion for the base, and tomatoes, so try and keep these, but the leek, carrot and celery can be missed if you have no other need for them. There are Italian style herbs in the form of oregano, basil, garlic and rosemary, but mixed herbs will suffice too. You can add a stock cube if you wish, or a sprinkle of gravy powder, or as I did, a few spoonfuls of nutitional yeast. Check out the recipe below.

Spaghetti Bolognese – meat free
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Bolognese, meat-free, mushrooms, vegan
Serves: 4 servings
Created by:: Laurena @LifeDietHealth
  • oil of choice (I used olive oil spray)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 sticks celery diced
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 1/2 medium leek diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium aubergines diced
  • 400 g mushrooms diced
  • 5 medium tomatoes diced
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste (I used pink Himalayan)
  • 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast (can use a stock cube or 1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon or gravy powder)
  1. Heat (or melt) the oil in a large pan, then add the chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes until starting to brown.

  2. Add the celery, carrot and leek, mix in and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

  3. Throw the garlic in, followed by the aubergine. Stir for a minute, then leave to cook through for a couple of minutes.

  4. Mix in the mushrooms and allow to soften and slightly brown before adding the fresh and then tinned tomatoes. Heat through for a couple of minutes.

  5. Sprinkle over the oregano, basil, garlic, rosemary and black pepper, then stir in. Add salt to taste, then do a quick taste test and adjust salt and spices if necessary. Simmer for 15 minutes.

  6. If using, add in nutritional yeast, stock cube, bouillon or gravy granules for added umami or to thicken. Cook for a couple of minutes then serve.

  7. Enjoy!

Spaghetti in a bowl with bolognese in the centre decorated with fresh rocket leaves.

What do I need?

You can (as with most of my recipes), make this as easy or complicated as you wish! To make this at its simplest, just use the onions, tinned tomatoes, aubergine and mushrooms with the herbs. Or you can follow my recipe exactly or add as many different vegetables as you like! Changing the blend of herbs will tailor the recipe specifically to your tastes – try adding chilli powder, paprika or chilli flakes to spice this up! You could even add kidney beans towards the end of cooking and turn this into a vegetable chilli. If you are new to cooking or your kitchen needs a refresh, here are a few useful things for this recipe. We do receive a small commission if you click and purchase through these links (this is at no additional cost to you)!


How to serve your bolognese

Traditionally, you serve bolognese with spaghetti, but it goes just as well with any pasta or even a jacket potato. You could even just serve it with a salad or lightly steamed vegetables. I have also served this with bread – regular sliced chunks or thin tortillas dotted with garlic butter. You can serve this as a tasty starter, a side or a main! For lunch I added a few spoonfuls to my lentil soup and it would also work well with this pumpkin soup.


This bolognese stores very well. Keep it in the fridge for up to five days, or portion, label and freeze for up to three months.


I’m sharing this over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday this weekend. It is co-hosted by the very lovely Jhuls of The Not So Creative Cook. Come on over and join us… if you didn’t already come from there! 😛

I would love you to make this and see how delicious it is! I love seeing your adaptions and interpretations of my recipes! Please share and tag me @LifeDietHealth or using #LifeDietHealth on InstagramPinterestFacebook or Twitter.

Close up forkful of spaghetti bolognese with the dish in the background.

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you’re serving your vegetable bolognese with?

I hope to speak with you soon

Laurena x


  • tulips79 16th October 2020 at 20:52

    Mmm, this sounds like a hearty ragu sauce☺️I prefer thicker ‘meatier’ pasta like rigatoni or penne for this (but like spaghetti for Marmite and butter/marg pasta haha). Aww, chestnuts…we would normally visit the UK this time of year when my father-in-law would roast chestnuts for us (he’s an expert at it!). As it’s become quite chilly over here, I was thinking of making a chili using quinoa as the ‘mince’- I like the texture. Have a nice weekend 😊

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 16th October 2020 at 21:51

      Eva this is most definitely hearty and a penne would be great with it! I was just talking about chestnut recipes today – I might have a play and see what new things I can create! Novel idea to use quinoa as the mince in chilli – sounds like a perfect slow cooker recipe to me! I think I need to do something pumpkin related for next week, what do you think? Any plans for the colder weekend?

  • tulips79 16th October 2020 at 22:20

    You can’t go much wrong with a spicy (hot or aromatic) pumpkin soup, it’s a classic☺️If you’re looking for something different, maybe a savoury sort of strudel? I was watching a YT video recently where pumpkin/squash was simply cubed-up, fried off and added to pasta- I imagine this would also be nice with some oat milk or cream, as a kind of carbonara. Or…a classic festive pumpkin latte? Not much planned this weekend, working tomorrow though- I have a really bad habit of going to bed late the night before 😉 Goodnight! Have a good one (hope it doesn’t rain whilst watching your boy play football) x

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 16th October 2020 at 22:45

      Ooo… a strudel (or wellington) sounds a great idea👍🏼I need to go on a Kabocha squash hunt! I’m thinking up a cubed recipe now too! Thank you Eva! 😘 Working at the weekend doesn’t sound fun… hopefully not for too long. X

  • tulips79 17th October 2020 at 09:48

    Yay, glad you like the ideas☺️ Ever since I retrained as a beauty therapist, I’ve got used to working on Saturdays but it’s no big deal👍 About to prepare a lava shell massage treatment now (I need one myself haha). Have a good day X

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 17th October 2020 at 09:50

      Ooo… lava shell massage sounds amazing… can I have one please! 😍

  • tulips79 17th October 2020 at 17:29

    You know I would if I could haha, you’d be very welcome☺️

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 17th October 2020 at 17:36

      One day🙏🏼. Hope you’ve had a fab day. Rain held off for us to have a walk (& chips😋) on the beach!👍🏼

  • theyogaheal 19th October 2020 at 09:35

    Need to try this once.

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 19th October 2020 at 11:52

      Thank you… it really is good. Let me know if you try it!

  • Jhuls 19th October 2020 at 11:18

    Laurena, this sounds so comforting and delicious! Can you send some over?😋 Thank you so much for bringing to this week’s Fiesta Friday party!

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 19th October 2020 at 11:49

      Thank you Jhuls! If only I could send you some! I hope you are well. Thank you so much for co-hosting! xxx

      • Jhuls 20th October 2020 at 11:39

        I am well, thank you! I hope you are enjoying your week! xoxo

        • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 21st October 2020 at 10:13

          Yes, thank you x

  • Angie | Fiesta Friday 23rd October 2020 at 00:16

    I think this is a great vegetarian bolognese, Laurena. I actually tried a recipe with soy mince/chunk but didn’t like it all that much. Maybe I’m not used to the texture. Eggplants and mushrooms sound even better to me than substitute soy “meat”. See you tomorrow at the fiesta! XOXO

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 23rd October 2020 at 14:41

      Thanks Angie 🙂 Yes, the texture of processed meat alternatives can sometimes take some getting used to – much better to use some fresh vegetables! I really hope you get to try this (get your daughter to make it?) Yes… see you at the Fiesta! 🙂 xxx

  • Fiesta Friday 351 - Fiesta Friday 23rd October 2020 at 19:48

    […] Spaghetti Bolognese – meat free […]


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