Tasty Vegan Bolognese Recipe for Plant-Based Lovers

Welcome to the world of vegan bolognese, my dear foodies! This delightful and wholesome recipe incorporates all the flavors you’ve come to love from a classic bolognese sauce, except without the meat. That’s right – this vegan bolognese is 100% animal product-free, but it’s not just for vegans.

I’m not here to tell you to give up meat or dairy forever, but I am here to show you how delicious plant-based eating can be. Veganism is not about deprivation or boring food – it’s about exploring a world of diverse cuisine and satisfying your cravings with cruelty-free options.

This recipe is perfect for those who are looking to reduce their animal product intake while keeping their taste buds happy. The addition of lentils and mushrooms makes it hearty and filling, while the combination of herbs and spices gives it that signature bolognese flavor.

So whether you’re a seasoned vegan, an open-minded carnivore, or somewhere in between, I encourage you to give this vegan bolognese recipe a chance. Trust me, your taste buds (and the animals) will thank you.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vegan Bolognese
Vegan Bolognese

Are you a fan of Bolognese but looking for a vegan option? Look no further than this delicious Vegan Bolognese recipe!

You’ll love this recipe for its rich and savory flavor that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. The combination of ingredients like fragrant thyme and oregano, sweet carrots and onions, and umami-rich soy sauce creates a complex flavor profile that is both hearty and comforting. And the star of the show – the cremini mushrooms – give the dish a meaty texture without any actual meat.

Not only does this recipe taste incredible, but it’s also easy to make! With just one big pot and some simple ingredients, you can have a hearty meal ready in no time. Plus, you can easily customize it to suit your taste by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes or nutritional yeast.

And let’s not forget about the health benefits of this vegan bolognese! Without any animal products, this dish is packed with wholesome plant-based ingredients that are rich in nutrients like vitamins and fiber. So not only will it satisfy your cravings, it’ll also leave you feeling energized and satiated.

Overall, whether you’re vegan or just looking to switch things up in the kitchen, this Vegan Bolognese recipe is sure to be a hit with everyone at the dinner table. So why not give it a try? Your taste buds (and your body) will thank you.

Ingredient List

 This vegan Bolognese is the perfect comfort food for a cozy night in.
This vegan Bolognese is the perfect comfort food for a cozy night in.

Let’s gather our ingredients before we begin. Here is a list of everything we’ll need to create the best vegan bolognese sauce:

For the Sauce:

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry, chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

For Serving:

  • Cooked spaghetti or any pasta of your choice
  • Fresh parsley or basil for garnish

Make sure to gather all these fresh and healthy ingredients before starting with this recipe.

The Recipe How-To

 The hearty combination of lentils and vegetables will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
The hearty combination of lentils and vegetables will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

Now, let’s dive into the making of this delicious vegan bolognese sauce.

Prep the Ingredients

Before you start cooking, make sure that all your ingredients are prepped and ready to go. Dice 1 medium onion finely, chop 3 celery stalks, and peel and dice 1 medium carrot.

Clean 8 oz of cremini mushrooms by rinsing them under cold water and patting them dry with a paper towel. Once cleaned, chop the mushrooms roughly.

Finely chop 4 garlic cloves, ½ cup fresh parsley and ¼ cup fresh basil.

Cook the Bolognese Sauce

Put a large pot over medium heat and add two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Once hot, add diced onion and chopped celery, sautéing for five minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the diced carrot and cook for another four minutes or until it’s slightly softened. Pour in 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, mushroom chunks, finely chopped garlic cloves, 5 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 bay leaf and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine.

Stirring constantly to prevent clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Cover the pot partially with a lid and reduce heat to low leaving it simmer for about an hour will create a rich flavor.

Add Nutritional Yeast for Umami Flavor

Remove from heat after the hour is complete. Take out the bay leaf starting at either side giving it a little squeeze so any flavor left can be absorbed by the sauce then discard it.

Stir in some nutritional yeast (about a quarter cup) just before serving to create an umami taste that would remind you of Manchego cheese.

Boil Spaghetti

Meanwhile, boil spaghetti in salted water until al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta reserving about half a cup amount of pasta water in case you need it as Bolognese sauce thickens up during cooking.

Cover each plate with spaghetti then ladle several scoops fulls of Vegan bolognese sauce spooned over top. Sprinkle some chopped parsley leaves over every serving then enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 Don't let the lack of meat fool you, this sauce is packed with flavor.
Don’t let the lack of meat fool you, this sauce is packed with flavor.

Are you looking to switch things up with your vegan bolognese recipe? Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try out:

– Lentil Bolognese: Swap out the mushrooms for red lentils in this recipe. Cook 1 cup of rinsed, dry red lentils in a pot of boiling water until tender, then drain and set aside. In a separate pan, sauté the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery as directed in the recipe. Add the cooked lentils to the pan along with the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and spices. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes before serving.

– Meaty Mushrooms: If you’re missing the meaty texture in your vegan bolognese sauce, try using portobello or shiitake mushrooms instead of cremini mushrooms. These meaty mushrooms will give your sauce a more savory taste and hearty texture.

– Vegetable Variations: Don’t be afraid to mix up the veggies in this recipe. You can add bell peppers or zucchini for some extra color and flavor. If you prefer a smoother sauce, try blending the vegetables using an immersion blender or food processor before adding in the rest of the ingredients.

– Gluten-Free Option: If you need a gluten-free version of this recipe, simply replace regular spaghetti with gluten-free spaghetti or zucchini noodles.

Whatever substitutions or variations you choose to make, remember that cooking is all about experimenting and finding what works best for you. Who knows? You may come up with a new vegan bolognese recipe that’s even better than the original!

Serving and Pairing

 Serve this Bolognese over your favorite pasta for a delicious and hearty meal.
Serve this Bolognese over your favorite pasta for a delicious and hearty meal.

Once your vegan Bolognese sauce is ready, you can serve it over hot spaghetti, and top it off with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil. This vegan version of Bolognese will certainly impress vegans, vegetarians, and meat lovers alike! It’s hearty, rich in flavor and texture, and packed with plant-based protein.

If you’re looking for a low-carb alternative to spaghetti, try serving your Bolognese sauce over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Simply use a vegetable peeler or spiralizer to create long strands of zucchini or scrape the inside of roasted spaghetti squash with a fork to make “noodles.”

To really elevate this dish, I like to serve it with a side salad made up of crisp greens and juicy tomatoes. This helps balance the savory richness of the Bolognese sauce with something fresh and bright. A glass of bold red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon will also pair perfectly with this hearty pasta dish.

The best thing about this vegan Bolognese sauce is that it’s incredibly versatile. It can be served with any type of pasta you prefer or used as a base for lasagne or shepherd’s pie. Plus, leftovers can be turned into a delicious sandwich spread, soup or even pizza topping! So don’t hesitate to get creative with your serving and pairing options – the sky’s the limit when it comes to this delicious vegan Bolognese sauce!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This vegan version of the classic Italian sauce is a great way to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet.
This vegan version of the classic Italian sauce is a great way to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet.

One of the top benefits of making a vegan bolognese recipe is that it can be made in advance and stored for later. If you’re looking to save time on busy weeknights or just want to prepare for a big dinner party, a make-ahead bolognese sauce recipe is your answer.

To make things easier for yourself, double or triple the recipe ingredients and freeze portions for later use. The sauce will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply defrost in the refrigerator overnight or reheat straight from frozen. A quick tip when storing is to separate portions into small, freezer-friendly bags or containers.

Want to reheat the bolognese sauce? Simply warm it up over low heat on the stove, occasionally stirring until it reaches your desired temperature. You can add a splash of plant-based milk, water or broth to loosen up the sauce during reheating, if needed.

If you have leftover vegan bolognese mushrooms in the fridge, store them in an air-tight container for up to three days. When ready to reheat, heat them over low heat in a pan with a splash of olive oil, stirring occasionally until heated through. It’s important to ensure that the mushrooms are reheated properly so that they retain their texture and flavor.

Remember to not let any leftovers go to waste! Plan ahead and incorporate any remaining bolognese sauce into your favorite recipes like pasta dishes or casseroles. This versatile vegan bolognese recipe can be enjoyed again and again.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The aroma of the simmering sauce will make your home feel like an Italian kitchen.
The aroma of the simmering sauce will make your home feel like an Italian kitchen.

When making this vegan bolognese recipe, there are a few key tips that can take your dish from good to great. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Firstly, make sure you rinse and pat dry your mushrooms before cooking. This will help prevent them from getting too soggy and ensure that they cook properly.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. If you like things spicy, you can add extra red pepper flakes or if you prefer a milder flavor, simply reduce the amount.

Thirdly, make sure you use fresh herbs such as basil and parsley. They add a wonderful fresh flavor to the sauce and make it taste even more delicious.

Fourthly, if you want to save time during meal prep later on, consider doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing any excess sauce for later use. This sauce freezes well and can be stored for up to 6 months.

Finally, when serving the vegan bolognese sauce, be sure to pair it with a pasta that has some texture to it, such as spaghetti or penne. This will help the sauce cling to the pasta and provide a satisfying mouthfeel.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create the perfect vegan bolognese sauce that’s full of flavor and texture.


Before we wrap up, let me address some frequently asked questions about this vegan bolognese recipe. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a newbie, it’s always wise to clarify any doubts before hitting the kitchen. In this section, I’ll be answering some of the most common questions regarding ingredients, cooking techniques, and variations to help you achieve the best results possible. Let’s dive in!

What can I put in bolognese instead of meat?

When looking for a hearty substitute for ground meat, lentils are an excellent option. Lentils have a texture similar to meat and are packed with protein. To enhance the savory flavor, adding mushrooms is a great idea. And for those looking for a chewy texture, quinoa is a perfect match. Together, these ingredients will make your lentil bolognese stand out.

What is vegan bolognese made of?

Indulge in the robust and flavorful Vegan Bolognese that will transport you to the traditional Italian kitchen. With a mix of ground walnuts, mushrooms, grated carrots, and onions, this dish creates a meaty and filling mixture that is sure to leave you satisfied.

Can you make a bolognese without meat?

In this recipe, I’ll be showing you how to make a meatless vegetarian bolognese sauce that is both delicious and satisfying. Instead of using meat, we’ll be using a combination of mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, and onion to create a hearty and flavorful sauce. This recipe is a great alternative to the classic bolognese sauce and is sure to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their dietary preferences.

Why put celery in bolognese?

Bolognese sauce is a savory and thick meat sauce that features a combination of beef and pork, along with milk and cream. Rather than relying solely on the tomato, this sauce boasts a rich flavor because of the meats that are used. To add depth and taste, carrots are included in the soffrito, along with celery and onion.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this vegan bolognese recipe is one of the best recipes out there. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also healthy and packed with nutrients. The combination of fresh herbs and spices, nutritional yeast, and crushed tomatoes create a burst of flavor that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking to add more plant-based meals to your diet, this recipe is perfect for you. It’s also an excellent choice for those who are sensitive to gluten or dairy products.

So why not try something new today? Whip up a batch of this delicious vegan bolognese sauce and enjoy its richness and fulfilling goodness. You’ll be surprised how great it tastes, especially when served with spaghetti or your favorite pasta.

Remember to experiment with the recipe by adding your own personal touch. Share this recipe with your friends and family and invite them over for a cozy evening dinner. I hope this recipe inspires you to embrace the plant-based lifestyle and take charge of your health and wellbeing!

Vegan Bolognese

Vegan Bolognese Recipe

Cooking vegan for my favorite meat eater is quite an enormous challenge for me sometimes. I noticed that Lauren had ordered spaghetti bolognese the last couple times we were in Italian restaurants. This was my vegan take on an old Italian favorite, and she thought it was great! I decided to use textured vegetable protein (tvp) because it absorbs the flavors of whatever you rehydrate it with.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Calories 382.7 kcal


  • 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein, not re-hydrated
  • 2 -3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Braggs liquid aminos)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley or 1/2 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti


  • In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onions and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.
  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Don't add too much as you will be adding soy sauce later for color.
  • Then add dry italian seasonings and crushed red pepper, if using. Mix well and add a bit more olive oil if pan looks dry.
  • Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant.
  • Next add the dry TVP, and stir to coat evenly with onion, carrot and spice mixture.
  • Then add the soy sauce, which will give the TVP great flavor, and a bit darker color.
  • Pan will be dry, so quickly add the cup of vegetable broth to rehydrate the tvp.
  • Stir to coat all the tvp well, scraping the sides of the pan if needed.
  • Let simmer for a minute or two.
  • Next add your can of tomato paste, mix well and cook for a minute or two before adding the large can of crushed tomatoes.
  • As sauce begins to bubble, be sure to stir in the tomato paste into the crushed tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer while you cook pasta.
  • Cook whole wheat pasta in a large pot f boiling salted water for 7-9 minutes, or until al dente.
  • Drain pasta and place in large serving bowl.
  • Top with bolognese sauce, chopped fresh basil or parsley and serve.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 284gCalories: 382.7kcalCarbohydrates: 77.7gProtein: 17.3gFat: 4.2gSaturated Fat: 0.7gSodium: 754.6mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 5g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Spaghetti
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