This Easy Vegan Bolognese Sauce is hearty, meaty, and a delicious take on a classic Italian recipe. It comes together in one pot using pantry-staple ingredients and is layered with rich flavors!
This is The Best Vegan Bolognese Sauce you’ll ever taste! Every bite is so warm, comforting, and rich. Made with pantry-staple ingredients, you can mix and match as you like and throw in the vegan “meat” of your choice.
A classic Italian bolognese sauce is packed with meat, herbs, tomatoes, and a hint of acidity. Vegan bolognese is just as delicious but made with healthy and hearty plant-based ingredients. It’s not even close to being boring (I’m looking at you, marinara sauce) and tastes unlike any pasta sauce you’ve tried before.
This vegetarian bolognese recipe works so well and is perfect for family dinners because it’s:
- Made with simple, pantry-staple ingredients.
- Really flexible! Mix and match the ingredients and use any vegan meat you love.
- Packed with plant-based protein.
- Nut free and easy to make gluten free.
- Loaded with delicious, hearty, and meaty flavors!
What is vegan bolognese sauce made of?
- Vegan “meat” - Bolognese is known for being meaty and we can still load this Italian tomato sauce with a few plant-based meat options to replicate that classic hearty texture. Use anything from vegan ground beef (like Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, or Gardein), regular or spicy Italian sausages, vegan sausage crumbles, cooked lentils, soy curls, mushrooms, or fried tofu.
- San Marzano whole tomatoes - Your sauce is only as good as your tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes are the best! You can make this with fresh, quartered tomatoes instead or use another high quality brand of canned tomatoes if you prefer.
- Vegetables - Onion, garlic cloves, celery, carrot, and mushrooms give the sauce a great baseline of savory flavors.
- Vegetable bouillon - Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Beef Soup Base is the best choice because it’s so beefy.
- White wine - This will give the bolognese a necessary hit of brightness and acidity. Any dry white wine you enjoy drinking will work or, if you prefer to make this recipe without alcohol, replace the wine with water or stock and a wee splash of balsamic or white wine vinegar or even lemon juice.
- Liquid aminos - Or gluten free tamari or soy sauce.
- Liquid smoke - The smokiness plays well with the rich and meaty flavors here.
- Italian herbs and seasonings - Like fresh rosemary, granulated garlic, fennel powder, dried thyme, celery salt, dried oregano, and nutritional yeast.
How to make the best vegan bolognese
This sauce comes together in one pot. It’s best to have all of your chopped veggies, herbs, and aromatics layed out ahead of time so you can throw them in the pot, then sit back and relax.
- Saute the vegetables: Add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and mushrooms to a soup pot or large dutch oven with olive oil. Saute over medium heat until they start to soften.
- Add the herbs and tomatoes: Stir in all of the herbs and spices, liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, bouillon, liquid smoke, and wine. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cover the pot with a lid and let the bolognese sauce simmer for 30 minutes.
- Puree the bolognese: Afterward, use high powdered blender or nutribullet to puree part of the sauce. Could use immersion blender too.
- Stir in the meat: With the pureed sauce back in the pot, stir in your vegan meat or protein of choice. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Adjust the flavor: Taste and adjust the flavors with added seasonings or thin it out with more water if needed. Serve it hot and fresh over pasta or store it for later.
Tips for success
- If you like your sauce sweeter, stir in a pinch or two of sugar.
- Be patient! The layers of flavor develop and become even better over time. Give the sauce as much time to simmer as possible.
- If you’re making lentil bolognese, make sure the lentils are cooked beforehand. You can use red, green, or brown lentils.
- You can use red wine instead of white but make sure you use a vegan-friendly bottle.
- Give this sauce a little heat by stirring in a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne.
- To make it extra tomato-y, stir in some tomato paste.
- This vegan bolognese recipe is naturally nut free but if you’d like it to be rich with texture, feel free to stir in a handful of chopped walnuts.
- Top each serving with fresh basil or parsley and lots of vegan parmesan cheese!
Frequently asked questions
Meat sauce is a popular American spaghetti sauce made by simmering ground beef with tomato sauce. Yes, bolognese (also known as Ragù alla bolognese in Italy) is made with tomatoes, but it has a deeper flavor profile, more body, and a heartier texture than meat sauce. The key difference is that the meat is added to the bolognese sauce at the end of the cooking process rather than cooking the sauce and meat together.
Bolognese is often served with long pasta noodles, like spaghetti or linguini, but a wide pasta noodle is always the best choice. Fettucini, pappardelle, or tagliatelle noodles will scoop up the sauce instead of leaving a pool of it at the bottom of your bowl. For a healthy option, serve the sauce with gluten free noodles or zucchini noodles instead.
Once the sauce is finished cooking and fully cooled, transfer it from the pot to an airtight container. It stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Absolutely! Once it’s cool, place the sauce in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Italian vegan recipes to try
- Vegan Zuppa Toscana Soup
- Garlic and Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
- Easy No Knead Focaccia
- The Best Vegan Meatballs
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print