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The Best Vegan Bolognese

All you need is 20 minutes and a love of Italian food with this vegan Bolognese. Gently simmered with classic Italian herbs, fragrant garlic, and roasted tempeh “meat” this is sure to become your favorite vegan spaghetti sauce! Invite some guests over, turn on some Puccini and get ready to say, “Prego!”

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese on a Plate

This post was originally published on Nov 20, 2015 and updated on Sept 27, 2019 by Elena Szeliga. 

There is possibly nothing more heart (and tummy) warming than a big steaming pile of fresh spaghetti with a delicious sauce. Though it’s a simple dish, it works wonders at satisfying hunger.

Traditional Bolognese is a meat centric dish, but I promise you that won’t be missing out on the “meat” in this vegetarian Bolognese. By using crumbled tempeh as a meat alternative, you’ll still enjoy the savory flavor and delightful texture of vegan “meat”.     

Tempeh is a fantastic plant-based meat alternative. Not only does it work perfectly as a protein in a vegan spaghetti sauce, but also in vegan sloppy joes and as a vegan taco meat.

Another neat thing about tempeh is that if you can’t easily find it at the store, you can always make it yourself.

Vegan Bolognese Sauce Closeup

How to Make Vegan Bolognese

I love pasta because since it’s so quick to prepare it makes the perfect weeknight dinner. A couple of my favorite go-to pasta dishes are this vegan pesto pasta and this healthy pumpkin pasta which is PERFECT for the fall. You’ll find more ideas for vegan comfort food recipes in my recent post.

Ingredients for Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

Vegan Bolognese sauce is another quick, simple and satisfying recipe. The best thing about it is that it takes under 30 minutes to prepare!

To begin the sauce, take your tempeh and either crumble it with your fingers or use a grinder until it becomes a ground meat like texture.

Grinded Tempeh in a Bowl Next to Marinara Sauce

Then heat some olive oil in a skillet and fry chopped onions until they release a delicious fragrance which should take one to two minutes. Next, add in your crumbled tempeh and slightly brown it for about five more minutes keeping in mind to stir occasionally. Add in minced garlic and red pepper.

Next, pour in the marinara sauce, and add in Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme and Marmite. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until the liquid is mostly adsorbed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Grinded Tempeh in a Pan Next to Vegan Bolognese Sauce in a Pan

If you haven’t done so already, get your spaghetti noodles started according to the instructions on the package.

Finally, serve the tempeh Bolognese over a beautiful, steaming pile of fresh spaghetti noodles, sprinkle with vegan parmesan and garnish with basil.  

That’s it! Now you’re ready for the next challenge: eating spaghetti without getting the sauce on your clothes.

How to Use Vegan Bolognese Sauce

Don’t feel limited to using vegan Bolognese sauce just on spaghetti, there is a world of beautiful pasta out there. Traditional Bolognese sauce is often served on flat, wide tagliatelle noodles . Though, a word of warning: Tagliatelle are traditionally egg noodles, so if you’re looking for 100% plant base noodles, you’ll have to find an alternative or make it yourself.

Venturing outside of the pasta world, consider trying tempeh Bolognese on:

  • pizza
  • beans
  • rice
  • or even as a filling on a toasted bun for Italian styled vegan sloppy joes.Vegan Tempeh Bolognese Sauce in a pan ready to be served with chili and spices right next to it

Why this Recipe Works

Vegan Bolognese is:

  • 100% plant based
  • simple, the ingredients are probably all in your cupboard right now!
  • healthy and nutritious
  • quick (under 30 minutes)
  • great to batch cook with AND works well in a slow cooker
  • Perfect for a quick weeknight meal during a busy week

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese on a Plate Next to Sauce

 Cook’s Tips

  • Store the vegan Bolognese sauce in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Use your slow cooker! After browning the onions, and tempeh, throw the rest of your ingredients into the slow cooker and let it simmer on low for 6 hours. Come home to the delicious fragrance of Italy, and a meal ready to eat.
  • Make a big batch and store in the freezer for up to three months.
  • For a gluten-free option use the sauce on top of beans, rice, or gluten-free noodles.
  • For more creative recipe ideas check these 20 best tempeh recipes.

Make sure to check my ultimate guide on how to cook tempeh that I put together and discover more delicious ways to cook tempeh!

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5 from 5 votes

The Best Vegan Bolognese

This vegan Bolognese is gently simmered with classic Italian herbs, garlic, and tempeh “meat” that is sure to become your go-to vegan pasta sauce that comes together in just 20 min!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword tempeh Bolognese, vegan bolognese, vegan bolognese sauce, vegan spaghetti sauce, vegetarian Bolognese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 367kcal
$5

Ingredients

  • 7 oz or 400 g tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ red hot pepper deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon Marmite
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 oz or 500 g spaghetti
  • Vegan parmesan to garnish
  • Fresh basil to garnish

Instructions

  • Break tempeh with your fingers into little crumbles or simply grind it with a grinder. Heat olive oil a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and sautée for one or two minutes, then add the tempeh crumbles. Let them slightly brown for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and red pepper.
  • Add marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme and Marmite and let cook for 10 more minutes or until the liquid is mostly adsorbed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to the instructions on the package until al dente. Serve vegan Bolognese sauce over spaghetti sprinkled with vegan parmesan and garnished with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Notes

 Cook’s Tips

  • Store the vegan Bolognese sauce in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Use your slow cooker! After browning the onions, and tempeh, throw the rest of your ingredients into the slow cooker and let it simmer on low for 6 hours. Come home to the delicious fragrance of Italy, and a meal ready to eat.
  • Make a big batch and store in the freezer for up to three months.
  • For a gluten-free option use the sauce on top of beans, rice, or gluten-free noodles.
  • For more creative recipe ideas check these 20 best tempeh recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 375mg | Potassium: 612mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 343IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Follow @happykitchen.rocks on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #happykitchenrocks!

Other Vegan Recipes You’ll Love:

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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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