Everyday Eats, Main, Recipes

Tempeh Mushroom Bolognese

An Italian classic, veganized! This Tempeh Mushroom Bolognese is rich, bold and comforting. A combination of meaty mushrooms and protein-packed tempeh give this bolognese the texture it needs while not skimping on the protein. Complete with a rich tomato sauce of San Marzano tomatoes, red wine, soffritto, and Italian seasonings.

Hearty and satisfying, this Tempeh Mushroom Bolognese is a big bowl of comfort. Some of our favourite recipes to veganize are the classics. Those recipes that you grew up eating and not only taste delicious, but make anywhere feel like home. Being able to bring childhood favourites to our community is one of the best feelings.

This hearty sauce and al dente pasta is both comforting and the perfect weeknight meal. It’s easy to make and the whole family is sure to love it. We used spaghetti for our dinner, but bolognese is traditionally served with tagliatelle and is a great option.

vegan tempeh mushroom bolognese twirl

What is Spaghetti Bolognese?

Bolognese is meat-based sauce popular in Italian cuisine. It’s slow-cooked that involves many different cooking techniques. Traditionally the sauce contains soffritto (onion, celery, and carrot), minced beef and sometimes pork, wine, tomato and tomato paste. We took inspiration from the classic from ours, but we wouldn’t call it by any means authentic. To veganize it, we swapped the minced meat for crumbled tempeh and diced mushrooms.

vegan tempeh mushroom bolognese twirl

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Hearty, filling, and easy to make!
  • Packed with wholesome plant-based protein.
  • Heartwarming and cozy, perfect for winter.
  • Simple ingredients that pack in flavour.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Celery, Carrot, and Onions – Also known as soffritto, this classic mix adds a host of aromatic flavours and a hearty base. You can use fresh or frozen, it really doesn’t make a difference to the end result so use whatever you have access to.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil lends itself to the flavour profile, but almost any oil will do. If you want to substitute, you can use vegetable oil or avocado oil.
  • Tempeh – This is what packs in the protein and a hearty bite. If you can’t find tempeh, a crumbled tofu or additional mushrooms will do. Or if you have access to vegan ground round, that’s a great meaty replacement.
  • Cremini Mushrooms – Mushrooms not only add umami flavour but also a meaty bite. Don’t like mushrooms? Replace them with tempeh, crumbled tofu, or vegan ground round!
  • Red Wine – The type of wine you choose affects your end result and the flavour profile, so choose one that you love the taste of. If you don’t drink alcohol or don’t have wine on hand, you can use grape juice, pomegrante juice, vegetable stock or red wine vinegar.
  • Marmite – You can leave this out if you don’t have any yeast extract but if you can get access we highly recommend it.
  • San Marzano Tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes are the perfect substitution but they won’t give you the signature rich, tomato-y flavour.

Top Tips for Making Vegan Bolognese

  • Red wine is a must! Red wine is what gives bolognese it’s signature deep flavour. It doesn’t need to be expensive, anything will do. But a small amount of red wine will go a long way. This recipe is a great way to use up the final little bit in a bottle of wine.
  • Marmite is the secret ingredient. Technically option, because we know its not a pantry staple for everyone, but you won’t regret the addition. To get the beef-y flavour without the beef, marmite is the answer! Just a tablespoon or two is all you need and it will take your bolognese up a level.
  • The combination of mushrooms and tempeh makes the best result. The combination of the two creates that perfect meaty texture. We tried all of one of them and it’s still good, but the combination produce the best result.
  • Give it time. For a deeper flavour you’ll want to give the cook time. A low and slow cook is best for flavour, but if you’re in a rush we promise it will still taste delicious.
vegan tempeh mushroom bolognese

Recipe FAQ:

Do leftovers store well?

Yes! Pasta is a great option for meal prep. So next time you make a batch of our Tempeh Mushroom Bolognese double it and enjoy if the next day and the day after. Just store in an air-tight container in the fridge and reheat when ready to eat.

Other vegan pasta recipes you’ll love:

Tempeh Mushroom Bolognese

An Italian classic, veganized! This Tempeh Mushroom Bolognese is rich, bold and comforting. A combination of meaty mushrooms and tempeh give this bolognese the texture it needs while not skimping on the protein. 
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings


  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 220 g (1 medium) yellow onion
  • 50 g (1 stalk) celery
  • 70 g (1 small) carrot
  • 227 g (1 pack) tempeh, crumbled
  • 125 g (1 2/3 cup) cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 120 mL (1/2 cup) red wine
  • 1 tsp marmite, optional
  • 1 28 fl oz can san marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • fresh parsley, for topping
  • serve with spaghetti


  • Add onion, celery and carrot to a food process and process until finely chopped. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet or dutch oven over medium heat, add the crumbled tempeh and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy – about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery mixture and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes, until the wine reduces a bit. Add the tomatoes and marmite (if using) and bring the mixture to a simmer. As you stir mash the tomatoes (especially if using san marzano) until mostly smaller pieces. Sprinkle with chili flakes and cover the skillet with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Garnish with parsley.
  • Store in an jar in the fridge or serve with spaghetti.


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