Ultimate Vegan Bolognese Sauce

Get ready to fall in love with my Ultimate Vegan Bolognese Sauce! Every spoonful is a celebration of robust, vegan-friendly flavors.

Ultimate vegan Bolognese sauce on a noodle.

Dive into the world of Vegan Bolognese Sauce, a dish that brings a new twist to classic comfort food. This sauce is all about rich and deep flavors, made from a mix of fresh, plant-based ingredients. Each ingredient adds its own special touch, showing how creative and satisfying vegan cooking can be. It’s a great example of how plant-based food can be just as enjoyable as traditional dishes.

This Vegan Bolognese Sauce is perfect for anyone, whether you’ve been a vegan for a long time or are just trying out plant-based foods. Here are a few other vegan recipes for you to try: Vegan Vodka Sauce, Italian Minestrone Soup, and Indian Red Lentil Dal.

Ultimate Vegan Bolognese Sauce on a white plate.

Reasons to Love This Vegan Bolognese Sauce

  • Plant-based ingredients are cost-effective and can be more economical than meat.
  • Vegan Bolognese offers a delicious twist on traditional Bolognese, using a blend of herbs and spices that creates a rich, savory taste.

Recipe Ingredients

Vegan Bolognese Sauce ingredients in bowls on a table.
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms bring an earthy and umami-rich flavor to the dish, providing a meaty depth without using meat.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts add a nutty and slightly buttery flavor, as well as a satisfying crunch. They mimic the texture and richness of ground meat.
  • Tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes offer a vibrant, tangy, and slightly sweet taste to the sauce. They provide the base and acidity for the dish.
  • Carrot: Carrots introduce a subtle sweetness and a hint of earthiness. They also enhance the sauce’s thickness.
  • Onion, Celery, and Garlic: This trio forms the aromatic base. Onions bring a mild sweetness, celery contributes a fresh and slightly bitter note, and garlic provides an aromatic and savory depth of flavor.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Protein Variations: Experiment with different proteins. You can use lentils for a different texture and flavor. Tempeh can work as a substitute for textured soy protein.
  • Veggie Variations: Feel free to add other veggies to this sauce. Bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach could all be delicious additions.
  • Spice Variations: You could vary the spices to change the flavor profile of the dish. For instance, adding cumin and chili could give the sauce a Mexican flair.
  • Nut-Free Version: If you’re catering to a nut allergy, substitute sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for the walnuts.
  •  Pasta Alternatives: While traditional Bolognese is served with spaghetti, feel free to mix it up! For a completely vegan bolognese recipe, make sure to use vegan pasta, as regular pasta is not vegan. You can also use this sauce to make Vegan lasagna. Serve it over zucchini noodles for a lower-carb option or with penne, rigatoni, fettuccine, pappardelle, or any other type of pasta you like.
Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce on noodles on a white plate with garlic and tomatoes on the table.

How to Make Vegan Bolognese Sauce

Step #1: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius).

Step #2: Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, onions, and celery. Sauté for 10 minutes until softened.

Carrots, onions, and celery sautéing in a Dutch oven.

Step #3: Meanwhile, place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them into coarse pieces.

Walnuts in the food processor.

Step #4: Add the mushrooms. Continue to pulse until the consistency of the mixture resembles the photo below.

Pulsing walnuts and mushrooms in the food processor.

Step #5: Once the vegetables on the stove are soft, add the dry TVP (or TSP as it’s sometimes called) and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes to allow the TVP to toast and absorb the oil.

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) added to the vegetables in the Dutch oven.

Step #6: Add another two tablespoons of oil to the pan along with the walnut and mushroom mixture. Turn the heat up to medium-high and brown for 5 minutes.

Walnut and mushroom mixture added to the Dutch oven.

Step #7: Add the oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant.

Spices added to the Dutch oven.

Step #8: Next, add the red wine. Reduce for 5 minutes.

Red wine added to the Dutch oven.

Step #9: Stir in the miso paste, soy, sweet and smoked paprikas, and agar powder.

Adding miso, soy, sweet and smoked paprikas, and agar powder.

Step #10: Add the canned tomatoes along with ½ a can of water, the balsamic vinegar, and bay leaves. Once the mixture boils, transfer it to the preheated oven. Cook, uncovered, for 60 minutes. Stir well and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.

Adding canned tomatoes along with water, balsamic vinegar, and bay leaves into the Dutch oven.

Step #11: Add the nutritional yeast, followed by the oat milk. Taste and season generously with black pepper and salt to taste. Serve with freshly cooked plant-based pasta.

Adding the nutritional yeast followed by the oat milk.

Expert Tips

  • Perfect Texture with Controlled Pulses: When pulsing walnuts and mushrooms in the food processor, control the pulsing to achieve a coarse texture. Over-pulsing can make it too fine.
  • Toast TVP for Depth and Nuttiness: After adding dry TVP, let it toast in the pan for about 3 minutes. This enhances its flavor and adds a nutty undertone to the sauce.
  • Fragrant Spices Before Wine: Wait until your oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and garlic become fragrant before adding the red wine. This ensures the spices fully infuse the sauce.
  • Boost Umami with Miso and Soy: Stirring in miso and soy sauce enhances the umami flavors in your sauce, providing that savory richness you crave.
  • Opt for Quality Canned Tomatoes: Choose San Marzano canned tomatoes for their exceptional flavor. High-quality tomatoes are essential for an exceptional sauce.
Close-up of the vegan Bolognese sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones?

Yes, you can. You’ll need about 2 cups of fresh, ripe tomatoes, diced.

What can I use instead of red wine?

You can use vegetable broth with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes. Use a gluten-free soy sauce or Tamari, and ensure your TVP is gluten-free.

Can I make this recipe without miso paste?

Yes, but the miso paste adds umami flavor. You could use a little extra soy sauce instead.

Is the nutritional yeast necessary?

Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to the sauce, but you could omit it if you don’t have any. Just keep in mind the flavor won’t be quite the same.

Storage Info

To store your Ultimate Vegan Bolognese, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. You can refrigerate it for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, it’s freezer-friendly and will stay good for up to 3 months. When reheating, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight if frozen, then warm it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water if needed to maintain the desired consistency.

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Vegan Bolognese sauce on noodles served on a plate.

Ultimate Vegan Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Get ready to fall in love with my Ultimate Vegan Bolognese Sauce! Every spoonful is a celebration of robust, vegan-friendly flavors.
4.5 from 375 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 322kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - divided
  • 1 medium carrot - finely diced
  • 1 medium onion - finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks - finely diced
  • 2 ounces raw walnuts
  • 3 cups raw mushrooms - halved (about 10-12 cremini)
  • 3/4 cup TVP mince - dry
  • Herbs: ¾ teaspoon dried oregano - ½ teaspoon dried thyme , ¼ teaspoon dried sage, ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic - pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon agar powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup oat milk - or other non-dairy
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius).
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, onions, and celery. Sauté for 10 minutes until softened.
  • Meanwhile, place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them into coarse pieces.
  • Add the mushrooms. Continue to pulse until the consistency of the mixture resembles the photo below.
  • Once the vegetables on the stove are soft, add the dry TVP (or TSP as it's sometimes called) and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes to allow the TVP to toast and absorb the oil.
  • Add another two tablespoons of oil to the pan along with the walnut and mushroom mixture. Turn the heat up to medium-high and brown for 5 minutes.
  • Add the oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant.
  • Next, add the red wine. Reduce for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the miso paste, soy, sweet and smoked paprikas, and agar powder.
  • Add the canned tomatoes along with ½ a can of water, the balsamic vinegar, and bay leaves. Once the mixture boils, transfer it to the preheated oven. Cook, uncovered, for 60 minutes. Stir well and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
  • Add the nutritional yeast, followed by the oat milk. Taste and season generously with black pepper and salt to taste. Serve with freshly cooked plant-based pasta.

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
To store your Ultimate Vegan Bolognese, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. You can refrigerate it for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, it’s freezer-friendly and will stay good for up to 3 months. When reheating, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight if frozen, then warm it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water if needed to maintain the desired consistency.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1996IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 4mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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