A simple, budget and very tasty classic stand-by with the choice of either soya-based veggiemince OR whole lentils - and with everything available from a supermarket!
(NB Quorn mince not yet vegan but frozen Linda McCartney, Fry's and supermarket own-brands are. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's etc etc all carry their own range. There are also packet Bolognese mixes if you're in a real hurry!).
PS Veggie mince is also a great basis for chilli, shepherd's pie and other such dishes! It's particularly useful if you are cooking for a mixture of veggies and meat-eaters as it has a familiar taste and texture.
2 tbsp olive oil (for the pasta dishes, or sunflower oil for the rice ones)
1 large onion, chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped (optional)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1⁄2 red pepper, chopped
1 medium courgette, chopped in half lengthways then sliced
100g (4oz) mushrooms, chopped
225g (8oz) veggie mince OR 1 tin whole cooked lentils
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes OR a large jar of pasta sauce, eg Meridian
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 bay leaves
3 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
Optional: for a richer, creamier sauce, add 1 tbsp tahini or almond or cashew butter
1. Fry the onion, red pepper (and celery if using) in the oil until soft.
2. Add the garlic, courgette and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown.
3. If using the veggiemince option, add it now plus the herbs and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. (If the mixture sticks and needs a bit of moisture use some of the juice from the tinned tomatoes.) If using the nut or seed butter option, add now, stirring it around so it melts in.
4. Add the purée and tinned tomatoes, stir well and simmer for 10 minutes over a low heat. If using the lentil option, add now and let them cook in for a couple of minutes, stirring well.
5. Serve on a bed of cooked spaghetti (allow 75g (3oz) dry weight per person) and garnish with grated dairy-free cheese (Violife Prosociano is good) or nutritional yeast flakes and chopped olives.