Plant-based pasta ragu recipe - a tomato and some pasta

Delicious Vegan Pasta Bolognese Recipe

How To Make a Plant-Based Bolognese With Tempeh and Dried Soya Mince

Ever since turning to a plant-based diet, I have been looking for new ways to prepare my favorite dishes. I grew up eating a lot of Italian meals, and pasta bolognese was a regular in my home. I tried a couple of vegan versions, and using soya mince (texturized vegetable protein or tvp) and tempeh as a base for the bolognese sauce is the one that hits my taste buds just as the original meat version. I also learned a couple of tips and tricks on how to make the sauce more ‘meaty’, and I am here to share that with you 🙂

I love this plant-based bolognese recipe because it is simple and budget-friendly. There’s only a handful of ingredients which you’d usually find in a vegan kitchen, and it’s a one-pot recipe (the sauce recipe). It is suitable for both vegans and meat lovers, because it is an absolutely delicious and nutritious meal. Another upside is that, unlike the meat version, it takes a lot less time to prepare it.

So now that I’ve hyped you into making this delish vegan ragú, let’s dive into the ingredients and instructions on how to make it!

Total time: 40 min (prep: 10 min, cooking: 30 min) | Serves: 3-4 people

How to make a simple and nourishing plant-based bolognese sauce


  • Tempeh (200 grams / 7 ounces), or dried soya mince (140 grams / 5 ounces), or half of both (100 grams of tempeh and 70 grams of soya mince)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (8 pieces, or 15-20 grams), diced
  • 2 onions (I like to use one yellow and one red, but depends on your preferences), diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Tomato passata (300-400 grams or 10-14 ounces; if you like a more ‘saucy’ bolognese, go for 400 grams, if not, then 300)
  • Salt, pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes (or adjust according to how spicy your chilli flakes are)
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon od dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or preferred oil (I like to use coconut oil as well)


How to make vegan bolognese sauce

1. If you’re using tempeh, marinate it in a soy sauce of your choice for at least a couple of hours (I like to leave it overnight). After that, you can either break it using fingers or a fork. If you’re using dried soya mince (texturized vegetable protein or tvp), then just follow the simple instructions on the package (pour boiling water over the tvp and let it do its thing for a couple of minutes). After rehydrating your tvp, I like to drain it as much as possible (using a spoon to “push out” the extra water). If you’re using both tempeh and tvp (as I did in these pictures), then just perform these steps separately for each and combine them together afterwards.

2. Once your ‘meat’ of choice is ready, mix in the seasoning (oregano, basil, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, salt and pepper).

3. Chop up your garlic, onions and the sun-dried tomatoes. Heat up the oil in a saucepan and add all the chopped ingredients together. Fry on medium or low heat for 10-15 minutes, while stirring frequently.

4. Add the seasoned ‘meat’ to the saucepan and fry it all together with frequent stirring for another 5 minutes.

5. Add the tomato passata to the saucepan and stir it into the rest. Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes. Stir it occasionally and add some water if needed, if the sauce seems to ‘thick’ (don’t overdo it).

6. Let it rest in a closed saucepan while you cook the pasta, letting the flavors fully connect.

Couple of notes here:

  • I like to mix tempeh and dried soya mince together because their texture and flavor complement each other and as a whole they really hit that meaty spot. However, using just one of them is equally good and definitely less time consuming!
  • Always adjust seasoning according to your own taste. The soy sauce I usually use is quite salty so I don’t use any additional salt. If you don’t like spicy, adjust the amount of chilli flakes accordingly, and so on. You know your own preferences the best!

How to cook the perfect bolognese pasta

  1. Boil a lot of water in a big saucepan. Wait for the water to fully boil before adding pasta.
  2. Add some salt before adding pasta.
  3. Cook the exact amount the box says for it to be cooked al dente.
  4. Drain it immediately after and stir it back in the saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil before mixing it with your tasty vegan bolognese sauce. Adding olive oil prevents the pasta from sticking and adds extra yummy flavor that goes well with the bolognese sauce.

Couple of notes here:

  • I prefer mixing pasta and sauce in my plate because everyone has their own preference for the sauce-pasta ratio. I am a big saucy pasta fan, so I prefer a lot more sauce than your average person.
  • As for which kind of pasta to use, any kind of whole-grain should be fine. In these photos I used corn pasta (you can see its extra yellow).

Now that your vegan bolognese sauce and pasta are ready, all that is left for you to mix them together and enjoy this delicious meal 🙂

As you always should, check all the labels, product quality and possible allergens of the ingredients you’re using.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Please leave your feedback and let me know if you tried it. I’d love to hear how it turned out.

Check out also these tips on how to declutter you mind, body, and soul – nourishing foods are important in fuelling your body’e energy. Also check out these tips on what could be draining your energy levels – sometimes poor diet can be the culprit.

With love,

Common Unicorn

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4 thoughts on “Delicious Vegan Pasta Bolognese Recipe

  1. Hi Uni. This sounds absolutely delicious (apart from the garlic, but I can skip that!). It will be a great addition to the bank of recipes that we are accumulating for our ‘Meat Free Mondays’. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks delicious. I’m not Vegan but honestly whenever I’ve had a Vegan lasagne or something like that I’ve never been able to tell. So this sounds like a wonderful option for if you’re catering to Vegans as well! x

    Liked by 1 person

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