This hearty vegan bolognese is a twist on the traditional Italian meat sauce. You don’t have to eat meat to make a great bolognese sauce!
This Vegan Bolognese is so full of flavour you’ll forget it's meat free!
You can use it to make your favourite spaghetti bolognese (or tagliatelle bolognese as I have here) or even Makaroni which is one of my most favourite dishes since childhood 🙂
You can also use it to make lasagna or pasta al forno (pasta bake).
In this vegan bolognese recipe, I’ve used mushrooms and lentils to replace the meat. They have a somewhat meaty texture and when paired with your favourite pasta, you won’t miss the meat!
This recipe is easy, hearty and so delicious!
Some more tasty vegan recipes you must try are my Rice Paper Dumplings and Cauliflower Steaks.
Table of Contents
Ingredients to make Vegan Bolognese Recipe
- Pasta, I've used tagliatelle, however any long pasta can be used such as spaghetti, fettuccine or pappardelle. If using short pasta, I prefer to use penne or rigatoni so that the sauce captures nicely
- Mushrooms are the main ingredient for the vegan bolognese. I’m using a mix of portobello and brown mushrooms which are more thicker in texture and act as a meat substitute
- Carrots, celery and onion are all diced up into tiny cubes and create the soffritto which is the base to any bolognese sauce. Will be much easier to cut if using a food processor
- Garlic because it’s always a must in any sauce of of course!
- Turmeric powder is added for extra flavour. Always ensure to fry it down well to remove any bitterness
- Tomato paste is concentrated so it brings a richness to the sauce. It does need to be cooked long enough or the flavours to cook down
- Passata is crushed tomatoes. I like adding it to my vegan bolognese for another level of depth to the sauce
- Lentils are added for protein. They also have a meaty resemblance. You can use canned or cooked lentils
- Oregano and nutmeg are added for some earthy herb and spice
How to make Vegan Bolognese
Time needed: 1 hour.
- Prepare vegetables
Chop mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion and garlic all into small cubes
- Sauté mushrooms
Heat olive oil in a large pan or pot and add mushrooms. Saute over a high heat and once browned, season with salt and pepper and remove mushrooms from the pan
In the same pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil, onions, celery and carrots.
Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent
- Make the sauce
Add the garlic along with turmeric powder and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the tomato paste and make sure to fry this down for a few minutes with the vegetables. Add the passata and water, season with salt and pepper
- Let it simmer
Add mushrooms then season with nutmeg and oregano and allow the sauce to simmer for 45 minutes on a low- medium heat so the flavours develop
- Add lentils
Then add and stir in the lentils. If the sauce is too thick, you can add more water if necessary. Allow to cook for 15 minutes
- Cook pasta and serve
At the same time add pasta to a pot of salted boiling water and cook pasta until al dente
Add pasta with the bolognese sauce with some pasta water. Mix together for a couple of minutes on low heat
Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and some chilli flakes and enjoy!
Tips to make Vegan Bolognese Sauce
- Make sure to cut all the vegetables into the same size pieces so that they cook evenly
- Don’t add salt to the mushrooms until they have browned as this will produce water and make them watery rather than being nicely sautéed
- Ensure to fry the turmeric for a few minutes with the vegetables. This brings out the flavour of the spice and reduces any bitterness
- Always sauté the tomato paste down for a few minutes. This will cook down the flavour and will remove any raw tomato taste
- Allow the pasta to finish cooking with the sauce for a couple of minutes to bring out the best flavour. Add a splash of pasta water as it helps the sauce stick to the pasta
More Vegan Pastas
- Lemon Garlic Pasta (Pasta Al Limone)
- Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca
- Homemade Gnocchetti Pasta (Malloreddus)
- Pasta e Fagioli
- Vegan Vodka Pasta
I love seeing your creations and remakes, so be sure to rate the recipe, comment and share your Vegan Bolognese photo on Instagram so I can share the love!
- 360 g tagliatelle pasta
- 350 g mushrooms - I’ve used a mix of portobello and Swiss brown mushrooms
- 2 small carrots
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 white onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup passata
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup cooked lentils
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion and garlic all into small cubes
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan or pot and add mushrooms. Saute over a high heat and once browned, season with salt and pepper and remove mushrooms from the pan
- In the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil, onions, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent
- Add the garlic along with turmeric powder and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the tomato paste and make sure to fry this down for a few minutes with the vegetables. Add the passata and water, season with salt and pepper
- Add mushrooms then season with nutmeg and oregano and allow the sauce to simmer for 45 minutes on a low- medium heat so the flavours develop
- Then add and stir in the cooked lentils. If the sauce is too thick, you can add more water if necessary. Allow to cook for 15 minutes
- At the same time add pasta to a pot of salted boiling water and cook pasta until al dente. Add pasta with the bolognese sauce with some pasta water. Mix together for a couple of minutes on low heat.Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and some chilli flakes and enjoy!
I made this tonight after seeing it on Instagram this morning and oh my goodness, it’s AMAZING! I am passing it on to everyone I know. I come from a big Italian American family and get judgey about Italian food. Haha. This sauce is perfect and you honestly would never guess there is no meat in it. I served with chili flakes on top as recommended and a bit of Parmesan on top for my toddler (who ate it up! He helped me cook the sauce and kept saying “mmmmm” whenever we tested it ). I also didn’t add lentils as I didn’t have any cooked ones on hand and was feeling lazy. I will try with lentils in the future but I don’t even think it needs it! Thanks so much for this recipe 🙂 it is going in my regular rotation and I’m always happy to add vegan versions of favorites to my Italian repertoire. 🙂
Hi Katherine, this message was sooooo lovely to read! I'm so happy you tried this recipe so soon and loved it so much. My fiance is also Italian and he was skeptical at first and now he's in love with it too hehe. A little tip, I use canned lentils which I always have in the pantry for next time 🙂 If you took a photo of it, I would love to see it! You can message it on my Instagram page xxxx
Love this vegetarian bolognese sauce! The taste of the chestnut mushrooms I used was amazing. We topped it off with a bit of parmasan. Easy to make and... made enough so we can enjoy it again with no effort at all thank you for your recipe and super fun video!
Oh yummy, so glad you loved it Monique! Yes I do this too! Love making a double batch to freeze for next time xx
I made this recipe after seeing it on TickTock it was so good!!! It was beautiful too! I love a gorgeous plate of yummy food!
I’ve been leaning towards going vegetarian for sometime and after looking at the recipes you have available I think that that could possible.
Yay this makes me so happy to hear!! Cant wait to see what else you try xx
10/10!! We follow you on Tik Tok & you have made our dinner ideas so much easier. My partner and I are trying to eat as healthy as we can and this was the BEST gym recovery dinner to make. Will add this to our dinner lost!
Aw love this dear!! So happy to hear 🙂
This looks amazing, and I love that it seems freezer-friendly. Quick question: As passata (had to look it up 😉 isn't a very common ingredient to find at the grocers here, any tips on a good sub? Pureeing diced tomatoes? Many thanks!
Yes it definitely is dear, I always make a double batch of the sauce and freeze it. Sure thing, Passata is tomato puree. If you cant find it, yes puree diced tomatoes is perfect xxxx Cant wait to see your remake of this, make sure to share a pic on IG xxx
It's a great dish and it's absolutely worth it! My wife said to me, that she will prefer it to the calssic bolognese with meat.
Aw love this! So happy you both enjoyed it 🙂
This looks really delicious and accessible. I was wondering if you've received any feedback whether it's freezer friendly? I'd love to batch cook it ahead of time.
(PS Thanks too for sharing the Italian word for Tomato Puree! 😉
Hi dear, yes of course! I always make enough to freeze half of it for next time. Just ensure to freeze the sauce only, then defrost and add to cooked pasta when ready xxx
Ottima e ben spiegata
grazie mille 🙂