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Vegan Soy Bolognese

Let me tell you the story behind this recipe. In 2018 I backpacked around Central and South America and since its quite difficult to get vegetarian food in these countries I downloaded the app happycow. When I was in Bolivia I used this app to find vegetarian restaurants in La Paz and ended up finding this amazing vegan soy bolognese before I hopped on a 12 hour overnight bus ride to Salar Uyuni, the salt desert in the South that makes border with Chile and the Atacama Desert.

Years later, living in Portugal, I remembered this experience and told my boyfriend who is an enthusiastic cook. Let me just make a note that he isn't vegetarian and his favourite comfort food is spaghetti bolognese. Long story short, we came up with this delicious sauce that is success among our vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends.

We often use this same sauce base for other recipes. Normally we will make a big batch and freeze some so we have it handy for another meal.

I will list some other things that you can do with this same recipe:

- stuffed aubergines

- stuffed zucchini

- vegan shepherd pie

- chili sin carne

- vegan "meat" tacos

- vegan moussaka


2 cups soy meat (small bits)

1 tsp cummin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp black pepper

1tsp dijon mustard

1 tblsp harissa paste (or tomato paste if you don't have it)

1 tblsp dried herbs

1 cube vegetable stock

salt & black pepper to taste

1 white onion

2 garlic cloves

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1/2 glass red wine

1 can peeled tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

Olive oil


In a bowl place all the ingredients from the first section but the vegetable stock. Boil some water and dilute the cube of vegetable stock in 1/2 cup of boiling water before placing in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Then cover everything with more boiling water and let it rest until all the water is absorbed by the soy meat.

In the meantime you can start chopping all the veggies. Fry the onions first, then add garlic, carrots and celery stalks. When they're soft you can add the soy meat marinate. Fry it for a few more minutes until golden crispy, add the red wine and let the alcohol evaporate a bit. For last add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the veggies are very soft. You can add more salt or other spices at this point to correct the flavour to your taste. If you're cooking Mexican you can add some Mexican spices, If you're cooking stuffed aubergines or moussaka you can add some Middle Eastern spices and so on.. you get it right?

If you're just cooking plain (not so plain) bolognese, cook up your pasta al dente and serve it with some fresh basil, parmesan or vegan cheese as per your choice.


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