Vegan Seitan and Mushroom Ragù Bolognese Recipe

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Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Mushrooms add a deep savoriness, while seitan offers a more convincingly meaty texture.
  • Crumbling both the mushrooms and the seitan gives the impression of a ground beef texture.
  • Soy sauce, miso, and coconut oil provide savory depth and a silky, rich texture.

A Bolognese sauce is defined by meat and dairy, which makes creating a convincing vegan version a real challenge. This one pulls it off by combining the flavor and textural qualities of mushrooms and seitan, and building in layer upon layer of savory, meaty, and rich flavor.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Makes: 2 quarts sauce

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (about 12 ounces; 340g), finely minced (see note)
  • 1 large carrot (about 8 ounces; 225g), finely minced (see note)
  • 3 ribs celery (about 6 ounces; 170g), finely minced (see note)
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (see note)
  • 1 pound (450g) cremini mushrooms, stems discarded and caps crumbled into small pea-size pieces
  • 1 pound (450g) seitan, drained of excess liquid and torn into pea-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) dry red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce; 795g) can peeled whole tomatoes, puréed with a blender or immersion blender, or crushed by hand
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) refined neutral coconut oil (see note)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) red (aka) miso
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) dark soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring and scraping frequently, until aromatics are beginning to turn golden, about 8 minutes.

  2. Add mushrooms and seitan and cook, stirring and scraping frequently, until much of the water in the mushrooms and seitan cooks off and a brown film develops on the bottom of the pot.

  3. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer wine until it has almost fully reduced and the raw alcohol smell has cooked off, about 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in puréed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add bay leaf, rosemary, and sage. Stir in coconut oil, miso, and soy sauce and cook at a very gentle simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.

  5. Discard bay leaf and rosemary and sage sprigs. Season with salt and pepper (taste first, as it may not need much salt). Stir in nutmeg.

  6. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Serve it on pasta or polenta, or use it in a vegan lasagna.

Special equipment

Dutch oven, food processor (optional), blender or immersion blender (optional)

Notes

To speed up the mincing of the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, feel free to pulse them in a food processor. Make sure your coconut oil is refined and free of any coconut aroma or flavor.

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