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Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (TVP)

Soy granule is the perfect alternative for the traditional meaty Bolognese sauce! This vegan Spaghetti Bolognese is quick to make, tastes like the real deal and no one would think it’s vegan!

Spaghetti Bolognese with TVP

I have been making this dish since the very early beginning of my vegan journey – so for almost 10 years now! It’s one of my favorite dishes ever and a real comfort food!

It looks super fancy pants (with the cashew parmesan and fresh basil on top) but it’s easy & quick to make. So perfect if you want to impress someone!

Bolognese sauce is traditionally a meaty sauce, so we want to use a ‘meaty’ substitute. That is why soy granule is the perfect alternative! Soy granule gives the sauce not only a meaty look but also texture.

This sauce looks like the real deal and with the added liquid smoke you can surprise even meat-eaters with this vegan sauce. Honestly, no one will ever guess it’s vegan!

And to make the ‘Spaghetti Bolognese look’ complete, I love to sprinkle homemade Cashew Parmesan on top.

The meaty vegan bolognese sauce is super versatile. You can use it also for lasagna or as a dip for tortilla chips.

What is soy granule?

Soy granule (or soy crumble, soy protein, TVP) is made out of defatted soy flour, which is extruded into granules (or small crumbs). The soy granule is dehydrated and needs to be cooked in water to be rehydrated.

I especially love cooking with soy granule because

  • it can be stored at room temperature – like forever,
  • it’s inexpensive,
  • it expands when cooked, so it doesn’t need much space when storing it
  • and it can be used a wide variety of dishes.
Spaghetti Bolognese with TVP

How to make Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

You will need:

  • vegan spaghetti noodles
  • soy granule
  • liquid smoke
  • soy sauce
  • tomato passata
  • oil
  • onion
  • garlic cloves
  • spices and herbs: paprika powder, salt, dried oregano. This is my recommendation. You can leave out, substitute, and experiment with spices, of course!
pasta in water
Step 1: Boil the pasta.
onion and garlic in pot
Step 2: Cook onion and garlic until soft. Set it aside in a bowl, we will add it to the sauce later.
soy granule in pot
Step 3: Add the soy granule, water, liquid smoke, soy sauce, salt, chili powder, and paprika powder. Give it a stir. Let the soy granule soak up the water.
soy granule in pot
Step 4: Add in the onion and garlic, and add a bit of oil. Let it cook until slightly crispy.
soy granule and tomato sauce
Step 5: Add the tomato passata and dried oregano.
vegan tomato dip with tvp in pot
Step 6: Heat until hot.
Spaghetti Bolognese with TVP
Step 7: Top the spaghetti with vegan bolognese sauce and garnish with homemade Cashew Parmesan and fresh basil. A leafy green salad is the perfect side dish!

More delicious vegan pasta recipes

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Spaghetti Bolognese with TVP

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

Bianca Haun | Elephantastic Vegan
Soy granule is the perfect alternative for the traditional meaty Bolognese sauce! This vegan Spaghetti Bolognese is quick to make, tastes like the real deal and no one would think it’s vegan!
4.17 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Vegan
Servings 2 people
Calories 506 kcal


  • 4 ounces spaghetti noodles (egg-free)

Vegan Bolognese Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil or any plant-based oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup soy granule
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato passata *
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano



  • Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, we’re making the sauce. 
  • In a medium-sized pot with a little bit of oil, cook the onion and garlic until soft. Set it aside in a bowl, we will add it to the sauce back again later.
  • In a pot (I use the same as before), add the soy granule, water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, salt, paprika powder, and chili powder. Turn on the heat to low and stir until the soy granule has soaked up the water (this takes about 1 minute).
  • Add in the onion and garlic, and add a bit of oil. Let it cook further until slightly crispy.
  • Add the tomato passata and dried oregano. Stir and heat until hot. At this point, you can add more salt, liquid smoke, or chili powder if you want to spice it up even more.
  • By now the pasta should be done, drain it, divide the spaghetti onto plates, top with the vegan bolognese sauce, garnish with fresh basil and sprinkle with Cashew Parmesan. Enjoy!


*I used store-bought tomato passata (with salt, no additional herbs) for this recipe – it’s often canned or in cartons, not to confuse with tomato paste which is thicker in consistency.
Tips for making an amazing vegan bolognese sauce:
  • Don’t skip the spices. Soy granule doesn’t taste like much on its own. So you want to add some spices. I love liquid smoke for a smoky flavor and paprika powder.
  • Instead of soy granule, you could also use grated carrots.
  • Onions and garlic add more flavor to the sauce. But if you’re short on time, you could also use onion and garlic powder instead.


Calories: 506kcalCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 35gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 994mgPotassium: 1126mgFiber: 15gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 1341IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 233mgIron: 10mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @elephantasticvegan or tag #elephantasticvegan!
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Recipe Rating

Lina M Correa

Saturday 21st of November 2020

Really good! I followed the recipe exactly 😊


Tuesday 24th of November 2020

So glad you liked the spaghetti! :)


Wednesday 25th of March 2015

Is there anything more satisfying and filling than classic spaghetti bolognese? There is not. I love to simmer the tomato sauce for as long as I can handle to intensify the flavour. It only gets better. So far I haven't dared trying soy granule though as I'm afraid the soy flavour will be overpowering. Following above recipe, can you taste the soy at all or will it be overlayed by the tomatoes and spices? Anyways, looks great :)


Thursday 26th of March 2015

Hi Alice! Thank you so much for your input. I'd say that you can't taste the soy flavor. The liquid smoke has a very strong taste (so good) and I think the sauce tastes like a smoky tomato sauce. I've given the sauce to many meat-eaters and no one said that it would taste like soy and something was up with it. However I know when someone does not like a certain taste / ingredient, one is much more susceptible to it, but I'd say that you can't taste the soy at all :)

Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Tuesday 24th of March 2015

This looks like an absolute Italian feast!! I've never considered using bolognese sauce as a dip, but that's a great idea too :)


Wednesday 25th of March 2015

It's so good, Natalie! Sometimes when I use the Sauce as a dip, I'm adding even more Liquid Smoke and some Sriracha for spicyness. I've confused a lot of meat-eaters with this sauce :D

Linda @ Veganosity

Tuesday 24th of March 2015

This looks so light and fresh. I'm a huge pasta fan and I love a good marinara. I think I know what's for dinner tonight. :)


Wednesday 25th of March 2015

Linda, I love the smoky flavor of the Bolognese Sauce due to the Liquid Smoke. Yumm.