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A bowl of tempeh bolognese over pasta with a grey tea towel in the background

Tempeh Bolognese

This easy vegetarian bolognese sauce is made with crumbled tempeh, nutritional yeast, and flavourful spices. Done in under 30 minutes but with all-day flavour and packed with plant-based protein, this vegetarian pasta sauce is the perfect quick and healthy weeknight dinner. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword pasta, tempeh bolognese, vegan bolognese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 205kcal


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 8 oz package tempeh crumbled
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water more as needed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, and sauté until it just begins to brown, stirring frequently.
  • Add the garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes, more, until it has just softened.
  • Now add the tempeh crumbles, and sauté with the onions and garlic until the tempeh begins to brown - about five minutes.
  • Add the oregano, thyme, and chili and cook with the spices for about a minute.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, water, and nutritional yeast and stir well to combine. If the mixture is to thick, add a bit more water as needed (remember it'll thicken as it cooks).
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the bolognese simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve over hot whole wheat spaghetti, with extra nutritional yeast sprinkled over the top.


  • Nutrition values are an estimate only
  • Nutrition calculation is for sauce only, does not include pasta. 
  • Help, I can't find tempeh! Bummer, man. But worry not, you can replace the tempeh with an equivalent amount of crumbled tofu or cooked lentils.
  • Can I make this veggie bolognese sauce in advance? Yup! It'll last you 3-5 days in the fridge and it reheats like a dream.
  • Can I freeze this vegetarian bolognese? You sure can! I like to portion it into single or double servings and then freeze it, or you can totally freeze the entire batch, too. 
  • Is this recipe vegan? It is 100% vegan as written. 
  • Is this recipe gluten-free? If you serve with gluten-free pasta, then you bet your butt it is!
  • Can I add extra vegetables to the pasta sauce? You sure can! Grated zucchini and carrots work great in this recipe. 


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 297mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 22.5mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 3.9mg