Vegan Bolognese Sauce



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This vegan bolognese sauce is made with crumbled tempeh and veggies. It’s packed with plant-based protein and a great vegetarian option to serve over pasta!

Don’t mind that I can never remember how to spell “bolognese”… this recipe is still one of our favorites! I love how quick and easy this recipe is AND it packs in a lot of veggies into one meal. Always a bonus in my book.

Wooden spoon stirring a pot of tempeh bolognese sauce that is topped with fresh basil.

If tempeh is new to you, be sure to check out this tempeh 101 post. I chat about what tempeh is, the health benefits and some delicious vegan recipes. I’ve been a fan of tempeh for years but I know it’s an intimidating ingredient. Trust me when I say, you’re in good hands. This is a great recipe to try out tempeh for the first time! Next Meatless Monday meal? I think so. You won’t regret making this bolognese plant based.

The dish reheats well so you can make a full batch on Sunday and eat it throughout the week. I actually think the pasta sauce tasted better on the second day after the flavors had a little time to marinate.

Plate of spaghetti topped with tempeh bolognese sauce and fresh basil.

Ingredients in Vegan Bolognese

  • tempeh
  • vegetables – garlic, yellow onion, yellow bell pepper, canned diced tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • red wine vinegar
  • spices – dried oregano, ground pepper and sea salt
  • fresh basil
  • vegan parmesan
Wooden spoon stirring a pot of tempeh bolognese sauce that is topped with fresh basil.

How to Make Tempeh Bolognese Pasta Sauce

First things first, I love serving this pasta sauce over chickpea pasta or spaghetti squash. I wrote an entire blog about the best way to cook spaghetti squash. Have pasta-like strands and spaghetti squash that isn’t watery.

While your pasta or sapghetti squash cooks, chop up your vegetables. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and sauté until fragrant. Make sure you stir frequently so they don’t burn. Add in the bell pepper and crumbled tempeh and sauté for another five minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper to the pan. Combine and let the mixture simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to low to keep warm until the spaghetti squash is done cooking.

When the spaghetti squash is done cooking, remove from the oven and use a fork to gently pull the flesh from the peel. Place the spaghetti squash noodles on a plate, top with the tempeh mixture, fresh basil and vegan parmesan (try my hemp parmesan recipe) or nutritional yeast. Voila! A delicious vegetarian meal that packs the plant based protein and nutrients.

Plate of spaghetti topped with tempeh bolognese sauce, parmesan, and fresh basil.

Like This Recipe? Try These Other Tempeh Recipes:

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4 from 7 votes

Tempeh Bolognese

This tempeh bolognese is made with crumbled tempeh and veggies. It’s packed with plant-based protein and a great vegetarian option to serve over pasta!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 8-oz package of tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh basil, thinly sliced, for serving
  • vegan parmesan, for serving
  • cooked spaghetti squash or pasta, for serving


  • In a large pot or skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Add in bell pepper and crumbled tempeh and sauté for about 5 minutes longer. Reduce heat to medium-low and add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, oregano, pepper and salt to the pan. Stir until everything is combined and let mixture simmer for 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Turn heat to low so the tempeh mixture stays warm until your pasta or spaghetti squash has finished cooking.
  • Place pasta on plate, top with tempeh bolognese mixture, sprinkle on fresh sliced basil and parmesan, if using and serve.


Serving: 1/2 of recipe | Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 541mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 16g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan bolognese
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I just bought some tempeh and had no idea what I should do with it. This came at the perfect time! 🙂

  2. I am absolutely loving this!! I eat tempeh probably 3-4 times a week because it’s just so damn good. I like the idea of using it over spaghetti squash – protein and veggies FTW!

  3. I did not know that about March, but that’s awesome! Spaghetti squash has been such a revelation to me. I love it more than regular pasta now. Talk about a win!

    1. Yay! So glad that you enjoyed this recipe, Monika. And thank you for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it!

  4. 5 stars
    Another great tempeh recipe. The flavors and textures work so well on this, especially over roasted spaghetti squash and with the hemp parm. I made a double batch, and used half red wine and half red wine vinegar. Totally delicious, nutritious, and satisfying plant-based meal. Thank you!

    1. Yay!! So glad you enjoyed this sauce, Yvonne. I really appreciate you coming back to leave a comment + star rating. It’s super helpful to other readers!

  5. 4 stars
    I made this recipe. My partner and I don’t like bell pepper or tomato based foods.
    I only had a Pkg of tempeh teriyaki so I used that instead. And I had some shiitake mushrooms. So I used them instead of the peppers.
    I made it the same otherwise but put in some read pepper flakes as well.
    Simply delicious! Threw in some lemon marinated kalamata olives on top when serving. Yummy! Will make again

    1. Hi Lori – I haven’t tried freezing this, not sure how it would do, might change the texture of the Tempeh. But it will last in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Let me know if you give this recipe a try and how it turns out!

  6. While I am sure that this is delicious, what makes it a Bolognese? No carrots, no nutmeg, no dairy not to mention no attempt to substitute the flavor of the prosciutto in the sauce’s base. To me, those are signature ingredients to the dish. (I realize not all people would agree with the dairy component being a necessary ingredient to an authentic Bolognese) And the technique is way off without the long simmer/reduction (after adding stock) which allows the sauce to coalesce into something larger than its parts (in other words, a ragu, or, if you prefer, a ragout). I don’t get it. Bolognese is NOT simply a marinara with meat added to it; in fact the classic recipes that I’m aware of don’t even use any tomatoes beyond a tablespoon of paste. I think it would be better described as a tempeh “meat” sauce. Again, although I haven’t made it, it certainly looks tasty. But that’s not my point. Using the term “Bolognese” raises certain expectations that just aren’t met here.

    1. Hey Don – I appreciate your input here, but this bolognese sauce is vegan so there won’t be dairy and I used bell pepper instead of carrots in this recipe. And since it’s vegan the process of making the sauce is going to be different. When we post new recipes on the blog we always do SEO research for the title so people can easily find our recipes, which is why it is called vegan bolognese sauce.