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Vegan Bolognese for kids
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The Best Vegan Bolognese

Rich and hearty, this Vegan Bolognese will make your forget all about the original. Nutritionally dense, made with lentils, mushrooms and walnuts.
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian-inspired
Fridge Life? 3 days
Freezable? 3 months
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 350kcal
Author Dora

Equipment

  • Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 10.5 oz mushrooms 300g
  • 4 medium carrots 200g
  • 4 medium celery stick 200g
  • cup olive oil 50ml
  • 1.7 oz walnuts 50g
  • 2 cups tomato sauce 500ml
  • 1 cup water 250ml
  • 3.5 oz red lentils 100g
  • 1 tsp date syrup (or agave syrup or sugar)
  • salt omit for babies under 1
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp mixed Italian herbs optional (thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes optional

Instructions

  • Peel and roughly slice the onions and mushrooms. Add them to a blender with the walnuts and blend into tiny pieces. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Blend the carrots and celery sticks into tiny pieces and transfer to a separate bowl.
  • Put the olive oil into a pot and heat over medium heat.
  • Add the onion-mushroom-walnut mixture to the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes making sure to scrape the bottom so that it doesn't burn. If needed add about 50 mL water.
  • After about 5 minutes add the carrot-celery mixture and mix.
  • Add the tomato puree, red lentils and water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the spices (salt, pepper, sugar and basil) and lower the heat.
  • Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes over low heat.
  • After about 30 minutes check if the sauce has thickened and if needed remove the lid and simmer without it for another 5 minutes until the water has evaporated and until you have reached the desired thickness of your sauce.

Notes

Blend your ingredients well. If you want a classic bolognese consistency sauce, you really need to blend your ingredients (veggies) really well so that you have tiny bits and pieces for cooking. This is best done in a classic blender.
Know your sauce thickness. I prefer to have a thick bolognese sauce but I do know people who like it a little more liquidy. That's why after the sauce has been cooking for about 30 minutes you can check it and see if you want it to reduce some more by removing the lid and continuing to simmer or you are fine with the consistency as is.
Cook over low-to-medium heat. Don't by any chance add the veggies while your pan/pot is on high heat. I actually wouldn't even recommend that you heat it over high heat but rather medium heat. The reason for this is that if you add the veggies to a really heated pan they will simply burn from the outside.
Serving per age
  • 9 months old+ (or whenever ready for pincer grasp)
    • Use penne rather than spaghetti because it is easier to cut up into bite size pieces and for the baby to pick up
    • Coat in a small amount of bolognese so it is easy to pick up
    • Serve with some cut up cucumber and cherry tomatoes
    • Mentally prepare yourself for the clean up
  • Toddlers
    • Serve the same as for parents with cut up cucumber on the side and give them a fork

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 701mg | Potassium: 1204mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 10836IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 5mg