This vegan Tempeh Bolognese can be made in 15 minutes! It’s quick, easy, and delicious! Sprinkle it with cashew parmesan.
I’ve made tempeh bolognese at least 4 times during the last 2 weeks, to get it just right. And with this version, I couldn’t be happier!
Bolognese sauce is traditionally a meaty sauce, so we want to use a meaty substitute. In this case, tempeh is an excellent choice because it soaks up the flavors and the consistency is just on point. Tempeh gives the sauce not only a meaty look but also texture.
What I love about this Tempeh Bolognese:
- It’s super quick. While the pasta is boiling, we can prepare the sauce. An amazing pasta dish in 15 minutes? Check.
- It looks fancy. I don’t know but spaghetti always puts me in this deeply romantic and sophisticated mood. It’s grown-up food, after all. And then with the red sauce, the sprinkle of cashew parmesan, and fresh basil on top… it just looks very nice, which makes it also perfect for date-night!
- It’s here to impress. If you’re making this dish for your friend(s), parents, etc. then some of them might not know what tempeh is because it’s not as well-known as tofu (which everyone hates anyway because they just eat a plain block of tofu and complain that it tastes like nothing). So you can explain what tempeh is, how it is made, how it’s used in cooking and it will be an amazing experience for them especially if they are eating tempeh for the very first time.
- The sauce is versatile. You can serve it over pasta, you can also use it in lasagne or as a ‘meaty’ dipping sauce for nachos.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is – like tofu – a soy product. Through culturing and fermentation, whole soybeans are molded into a block. Tempeh is even higher in protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins than tofu thanks to the fermentation and use of whole soybeans. You can get tempeh in Asian stores (look in the refrigerated or freezer section, $) or health-food stores ($$$).
If you’re in the mood for more tempeh recipes, check out these ones:
- Vegan Tempeh Bacon
- Vegan Tarte Flambée with caramelized onions, smoky tempeh bits & avocado
- Vegan Whole Wheat Roasted Veggie & Tempeh Pizza
How to make Tempeh Bolognese
You will need:
- egg-free spaghetti noodles
- liquid smoke – not necessary but adds a nice smoky flavor to the tempeh.
- diced, canned tomatoes
- garlic cloves
- spices and herbs: paprika powder, salt, dried oregano, fresh basil. This is my recommendation. You can leave out, substitute, experiment with spices, of course!
The basic steps
More delicious vegan pasta recipes
- 30+ Vegan Pasta Recipes
- Vegan & gluten-free Mushroom Bolognese
- Quick Date Night Pasta with asparagus
- 15-Minute Wild Garlic Pasta
Love it? Rate it!
I hope you enjoy this tempeh bolognese recipe as much as I do! Let me know if you give it a try!
- 4 oz spaghetti noodles (egg-free)
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon canola oil or any plant-based oil
- 4 oz tempeh
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 14.5 oz diced, canned tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Homemade Cashew Parmesan
- fresh basil
- Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, we're making the sauce.
- Chop the onion and garlic cloves in a food processor and add them to a large pan with a bit of oil over medium to high heat. Let them cook until soft. Then scrape it to the side of the pan.
- Chop the tempeh in the food processor and add it to the pan. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, paprika powder, and liquid smoke.
- Once the tempeh gets a bit crispy, reduce the heat and add in the diced tomatoes. Season with the rest of the salt and dried oregano. Let it simmer on low heat until hot. You can add more salt or spices to taste.
- By now the pasta should be done, drain it, divide the spaghetti onto plates, top with the vegan tempeh bolognese sauce, garnish with fresh basil and sprinkle with Cashew Parmesan. Enjoy!
- Don’t skip the spices. Tempeh is great at soaking up flavors, so you want to add some spices. I love liquid smoke for a smoky flavor and paprika powder.
- 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.
- If you want to add veggies to the sauce, you can add grated carrots, mushrooms, etc.