Summer Vegan Zucchini Bolognese

This zucchini bolognese makes for a delicious and light, yet filling summer meal. It's based on the best summer produce, it's naturally vegan and can be gluten-free too.

  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes OR 400 g / 14 oz can quality chopped tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 Romano pepper, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • a pinch of chilli flakes, adjust to taste
  • a pinch of dry thyme, adjust to taste
  • 1 courgette or small zucchini (about 150 g / 5 oz), coarsely grated
  • salt, adjust to taste
  • black pepper, adjust to taste

  • chopped capers, to garnish
  • dry-roasted walnuts or sunflower seeds, roughly chopped, to garnish
  • 200 g dry pasta (GF if required), cooked
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Summer Vegan Zucchini Bolognese

  1. Gently heat up the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the diced onion and sauté on a low heat until translucent, stirring frequently.
  2. Meanwhile, if using fresh tomatoes, remove the skins by making a shallow cris-cross incision at the top of each tomato and plunging them into a pot with boiling water for a few seconds. Chop the peeled tomatoes quite finely.
  3. Add chopped garlic to the onion and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Finally add the diced red pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes or so.
  4. Coat the onion / garlic / pepper mixture in nutmeg, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and dry thyme.
  5. Add the tomatoes and about a cup (240 ml) of liquid (water or stock + a splash of wine works well too).
  6. Simmer on a medium heat until the tomatoes fully break down and all of the excess moisture cooks out. If the sauce gets dry, but the tomatoes are still very chunky, add a bit more liquid and carry on simmering. Remember to give the sauce a good stir from time to time.
  7. Once the sauce has reduced, season and add grated zucchini. Simmer the sauce with the zucchini for another 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning – I like to under-season slightly and top my pasta with chopped capers at the end (which adds a bit more saltiness).
  8. Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce, top with chopped walnuts and capers.

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