In Dairy Free, Dinner, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Nut Free, Recipes, Sides, Vegan

Sunflower Seed Bolognese

Sunflower Seed Bolognese

When I asked my family (die-hard meat lovers and food connoisseurs) to taste this recipe, the feedback was incredible: “I can’tbelieve there’s no meat in this, you can’t taste the difference!”. The 3 (male) critics were completely blown away that this dish is entirely vegan, and I think it’s fair to say that both they, and I, have been converted to Bolognese not always having to be meat-based!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 serves


  • 100 g sunflower seed mince (available from The Source Bulk Foods, The Refill Room or Amazon)
  • 1 red onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or you can use the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 125 g shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 900 ml passata sauce (I recommend the brand Mutti)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (I recommend the brand Rayners) oruse teriyaki/ tamari sauce  
  • sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • Herbamare 
  • garlic granules
  • cracked black pepper
  • white pepper


  • freshly grated Vegan Parmesan cheese or, if not vegan, then Manchego, Pecorino or Parmigiano
  • Reggiano
  • chopped fresh basil or spinach leaves

Serving Suggestion

  • pasta (my preference is gluten-free red lentil or buckwheat pasta)


  • Place a large, heavy based casserole dish over a gentle heat, add the oil and sauté the chopped onions until they’re soft and translucent – around 5 minutes. Add the cubed carrots and continue to sauté fora further 5 minutes. Season with sea salt, Herbamare, and white pepper, then stir in the shiitake mushrooms before increasing the heat to medium/high and continuing to cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Stir in the tomato paste ensuring that it thoroughly coats the vegetables.
  • Turn heat down to low and add the sunflower seed mince, folding it into the vegetables so that everything is well mixed, then season again with sea salt, Herbamare, a touch of cracked black pepper and the garlic granules.  
  • Turn the heat up to medium, stir in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes, passata sauce, coconut aminos and honey, and continue tocook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Check for seasonings, then reduce theheat to a low light, cover the dish and leave to cook for a further 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve with freshly cooked pasta (tagliatelle or pappardelle work well) freshly grated cheese (vegan or dairy) and sprinkle with the chopped fresh herbs or spinach.
  • Enjoy! 
  • When making this recipe, I’d LOVE to see how you get on so either send me a photo to or post a picture to Instagram using the #myrelationshipwithfood and tag @myrelationshipwithfood


LISA’S TIP – If you’ve never used sunflower seed mince before, I’m sure that you’ll be just as amazed as I was – it has such a similar taste and texture to ground beef it really is quite astonishing to believe it’s entirely plant-based! Not only is it packed with protein and fibre, and quick and easy to use but, especially importantly, it’s more environmentally friendly than ground beef. This dish really will please both vegan and meat eaters alike so why not give it a go today?!

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