Bolognese vegetarian style


Renouncing meat entirely or to least partly comes into fashion more and more lately. That this doesn't mean we have to quit eating classical recipes containing meat I want to show today using the example of the Ragu alle Bolognese. I own a vegetarian version of this for quite some time, but last weekend I asked myself why not to take the original one and vary it directly. Based on this the following recipe was developed.

Replacing the meat

A "true" Bolognese is of course made with minced meat. So the question comes up for an appropriate replacement. Especially in this case soya granule is a good candidate. It can be purchased from different brands over the internet, in health stores or well-assorted super markets. It is best to use relatively fine granule because it doesn't crumble very much while cooking.

First step: Preparing the soya granule

Soya granule by nature lacks flavor. Thus it is important to spice it up already while soaking. We use the following ingredients:

  • 500 ml water
  • 1 tbs. tomato puree
  • 1 tbs. vegetable broth (instant)
  • 2-3 tbs. soya sauce
  • 150 g soya granule

First, boil the water in a pot. Solve the tomato puree in it and add broth and soya sauce. Once the fluid is cooking, add the soya granule, put the pot aside and let the granule soak for 10 minutes. Afterwards, drain the remaining fluid and put it aside (do not throw it away!). The soya granule should dry now so that it can be browned better later.

Second step: The Soffritto

The Soffritto (italian, meaning relish) is the basis of many pasta sauces like the Bolognese. It is basically just stewed vegetables that spice up the sauce. Ingredients:

  • 60 g butter
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion (not too small)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 piece of celeriac

Onion and celeriac should be as big that the three vegetables are roughly in a ratio of 1:1:1. Clean the vegetables and dice them. Heat butter and oil in a pot, add the vegetables and stew them at low fire until they are smooth. If you like you can add some parsley and garlic.

Third step: The sauce itself

For the last step we prepare the sauce itself. Therefore, the soya granule is browned, combined with different additional ingredients as well as the soffritto and finally boiled down to the desired consistency. We need:

  • 1 tbs. tomato puree
  • a dash of red wine
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1 can of tomatoes (unchopped, 425 ml)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • salt, pepper and further spices according to taste (like basil or oregano)

First, put the soya granule in a pot and brown in at high fire. Add the tomato puree and wait until it begins to stick to the bottom. Deglaze it with red wine and the fluid from the first step. Add the milk (the purpose according to the original recipe is to make the minced meat more smooth; I keep it for the taste since the same effect doesn't seem to occure for soya granule). If it boils add the tomatoes, chop them with a spatula and squeeze the garlic into the pot. Now let the sauce boil at low fire in the open pot (with the lid closed it cannot boil down) until the desired consistency is reached. This usually takes at least 45 minutes. At the end, flavour it with salt, pepper and eventually further spices.


  • alcohol free: Instead of red wine you can use water, broth or - as long as you have enough of it - just the remaining fluid for deglazing.
  • vegan: Replace butter by 4-5 tbs. olive oil and leave the milk out. If the amount of fluid seems to be too small without the milk, just add some water or broth.

Bon appetit!