Spaghetti Bolognese – One “Classic” Recipe with Three Variations (Classic, Turkey and Vegan Mushroom)

This recipe does not have to be cooked for hours have a wonderfully rich and comforting flavour you would expect of Spaghetti Bolognese. One hour start to finish is enough to enjoy this classic pasta dish and you can easily adjust it to suit your dietary needs. Instead of the ground beef and pork you can use ground turkey. To make it vegan you can replace the meat with cubed mushrooms, white and/or brown. It will lightly change the texture but it tastes just as good.

A good Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic staple recipe everybody should have in their repertoire. Everything about it is comforting. Italians just know how to make comforting food, from pasta to pizza to ice cream it is all amazing. The huge advantage of a sauce Bolognese in comparison to other sauces is that it contains no cream or dairy, which make many sauces so unhealthy and fattening. The bigger problem is the pasta, which you could replace with zoodles if you have a spiralizer on hand. It is very easy to make this vegan by replacing the meat with mushrooms, obviously you would also have to use eggless pasta. Despite not being vegetarian myself I don’t think we need to eat as much meat as we do. Eating less meat is better for hour overall health and the environment, so I try to find plant based alternatives more and more often. Unfortunately there is no photo of the mushroom Bolognese, as I made it a while ago and forgot. It was super delicious and I was very sad when I broke a jar of leftover sauce. So, get out you cheap box of red wine you bought while a fancy wine snob was judging you and start cooking.

“Classic” Spaghetti Bolognese with a Turkey Bolognese and a Vegan Mushroom Bolognese Variation

Ingredients for four portions:
• 1-2 tbl olive oil
• 1 red or white onion

• ½ red bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
• 2 tsp instant vegetable stock
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
• 150 – 200 gr ground meat half beef and half pork (replace it with ground turkey for a turkey Bolognese or diced mushrooms for a vegan mushroom Bolognese)
• 50 gr pancetta or ham, finely dice (optional)
• 4 tbl tomato paste
• Salt
• Black pepper
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• Dried parsley
• Paprika
• 2 bay leaves
• Red wine
• Hot water
• 4 portions of pasta


1. Put a pot on high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the diced onions, the diced bell pepper and the instant vegetable stock to sauté for about five minutes. Add the finely chopped garlic and sauté this until it is fragrant. Finally add the diced tomatoes and let them sweat out the moisture.
2. Time to add and brown the ground meat or mushrooms. Once the meat is brown add the pancetta or ham and brown that as well.
3. Add the tomato paste and roast it in the pot for a minute or two without burning it.
4. Season the meat or mushrooms with salt, pepper and paprika. Add the herbs as well before dousing everything in red wine until the entire meat is covered and reduce it.
5. When the wine has completely reduced, repeat the last step with hot water until the sauce has the desired consistency. Season as needed with salt, pepper, oregano, parsley and tomato paste. Should the sauce be too acidic for your liking you can add a little sugar to balance it out.
6. While the finishes cooking boil the spaghetti in well salted water.
7. Serve the sauce with the pasta with a little fresh parsley as garnish.

The red bell pepper and paprika might trip you up, which is the reason I put the classic into quotation marks. I could not see this ingredient on the list of standard ingredients for the Bolognese, but I like to include it to sweeten the sauce naturally and improve the colour. A Bolognese does admittedly not have the most appealing colour, the red bell pepper makes it look less like excrement you might encounter in the open field. You can really take it or leave, a recipe is more of a guideline you can suit to your own preferences.

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5 thoughts on “Spaghetti Bolognese – One “Classic” Recipe with Three Variations (Classic, Turkey and Vegan Mushroom)

    1. Thanks. I figured everybody likes a bit of variety in the kitchen, often we eat the same few dishes everyday. At least I do.


      1. Definitely! So easy to fall into that trap! 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

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