Hearty Vegan Tofu Bolognese

Photo of author
by Alena Schowalter

Indulge in this Italian classic, made vegan! Instead of meat, our bolognese is made with veggies and tofu all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. It’s a dish the whole family will love.

You can never go wrong with pasta — especially our vegan tofu bolognese! It’s spiced to perfection and served with our homemade sunflower seed parmesan cheese.

Not only that, but the whole dish provides about 36 grams of protein!

This recipe is ideal for meal prep or a family dinner. You can even make it an activity! Get some helping hands to cut the veggies with you; you’ll reduce the prep time and bond with your loved ones. 

If you’re looking for more comfort food, our vegan chili and vegan lasagna are delicious!

spaghetti bolognese on a forkpin it

Why you’ll love it

  • Comforting and hearty
  • Loaded with veggies
  • Protein-packed
  • Perfect for meal prep
  • A dish the family will love

To make our vegan tofu bolognese, you’ll need a cutting board, knife, large pot, blender/food processor, measuring equipment, and a mixing spoon. 

vegetables, tofu, spices, and pasta on a tablepin it

Ingredients needed

  • Veggies — garlic, yellow onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery stalks, zucchini, and bell peppers.
  • Tofu — our meat substitute, about 36 g protein per block! 
  • Canned tomatoes and tomato paste — for our rich tomato sauce.
  • Soy sauce — for added umami and salt.
  • Balsamic vinegar — for added depth of flavor.
  • Vegetable broth — cooking liquid to help soften the veggies. For added flavor. 
  • Oregano, smoked paprika, chili flakes, salt, and pepper — essential spices for our delicious sauce! 
  • Sunflower seed parmesan — sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon zest, garlic powder.
  • Fresh basil — for garnishing.

Find exact measurements and serving suggestions below!

adding spices to tofu and veggies in panpin it
stirring tofu bolognese in a panpin it

How to make vegan tofu bolognese

Make the tofu bolognese

Add the onion, garlic, oil, and mushrooms with two tablespoons of vegetable broth in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all the liquid evaporates.

Add the crumbled tofu and soy sauce, stir, and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.

Place the rest of the vegetables into the pot, add all the spices, and mix. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to help them release their flavors.

Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth, and balsamic vinegar. Mix and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very well cooked. 

Taste test. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Put the lid on and set aside.

Homemade Vegan Parmesan in Blenderpin it
adding pasta to cooking water in potpin it

Make the parmesan

Place the sunflower seeds into a skillet over medium heat and lightly toast for 2-3 minutes, until slightly golden. Move them with a wooden spoon to toast evenly.

Place in a bowl and let cool completely.

Transfer into a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process to get a coarse powder. Make sure to blend or pulse in short increments! If you blend too much, you’ll get sunflower butter.

Make the pasta

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain, and divide into serving bowls. 

Top with tofu bolognese sauce, garnish with vegan parmesan and fresh basil leaves, and serve warm.

adding vegan bolognese on cooked pasta in bowlpin it

Storage & reheating

Fridge

Store the pasta and sauce separately in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. To reheat, microwave the pasta and reheat the sauce in a pot over the stovetop.

Freezer

You can freeze the pasta in a sealed bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and then microwave. Store the tofu bolognese in an airtight container for up to 4 months. Let thaw and reheat in a pot over the stove. 

topping bolognese with vegan parmesanpin it

Serving suggestions

Our tofu vegan bolognese is delicious with our garnishes, but feel free to add what you like! You can use your favorite vegan parmesan, cheese shreds, or just nutritional yeast. 

A warm slice of vegan garlic bread would also be delicious! Or even a fresh baguette to soak up the sauce. 

If you want to have an appetizer, consider a refreshing salad like our roasted sweet potato arugula salad.

Also, please note that you can use any pasta that you like!

two bowls of pasta bolognesepin it

FAQs & tips

Can I substitute the tofu?

You can! It just won’t be a tofu bolognese anymore, haha. If you’d like to use a ground meat substitute like Beyond Meat or Impossible Beef, cook that separately and add to the sauce at the end. 

You can also use TVP (textured vegetable protein) or lentils if you don’t want to use vegan meat or tofu. All these options have slightly different textures, so keep that in mind!

Can I omit a veggie?

Yes! Just make sure to substitute with more of another veggie. For example, if you don’t like carrots, omit them but consider adding more zucchini. 

This way, the sauce can maintain the same ratio of ingredients. If you omit too many veggies, the sauce will be too liquidy!

Week of Bowls iPad on beige BG

free 7-day vegan meal plan

Your next week of eating is planned out with these quick and delicious vegan bowls, meal prepping steps & full grocery list.

Can I make this dish gluten-free?

Sure, just use your favorite gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles. The latter makes this recipe very low in carbs and calories, too!

More pasta recipes

Did you make our vegan tofu bolognese and like it? We’d love to read about it, so be sure to leave a review and share it in the comments below. You can also Pin this recipe here!

two bowls of pasta bolognese

Hearty Vegan Tofu Bolognese

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Indulge in this Italian classic, made vegan! Instead of meat, our bolognese is made with veggies and tofu all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. It’s a dish the whole family will love.

Ingredients

Bolognese

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 yellow onions, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cups brown button mushrooms, finely chopped (350 g)
  • 1 cup firm tofu (250 g), patted dry, crumbled
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes (480 ml)
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (140 g)
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast (30 g)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

To serve

  • 16 oz whole wheat spaghetti, dry (450 g)
  • Fresh basil leaves

Instructions

Make the tofu bolognese

  1. In a large pot add the onion, garlic, oil, and mushrooms with two tablespoons of vegetable broth and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all the liquid evaporates. 
  2. Add the crumbled tofu and soy sauce, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Place the rest of the vegetables into the pot, add all the spices, mix and cook for a few minutes over medium heat to help them release their flavors.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth, and balsamic vinegar. Mix and bring to boil over medium heat.
  5. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very well cooked. Taste test. Season with salt and pepper, mix to combine, put the lid on and set aside.

Make the parmesan

  1. Place the sunflower seeds into a skillet over medium heat and lightly toast for 2-3 minutes, until slightly golden. Move them with a wooden spoon to toast evenly.
  2. Place in a bowl and let cool completely.
  3. Transfer into a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process to get a coarse powder. Make sure to blend or pulse in short increments! If you blend too much, you’ll get sunflower butter.

Make the pasta

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain and divide into serving bowls. 
  2. Top with tofu bolognese sauce, garnish with vegan parmesan and fresh basil leaves, and serve warm.

Notes

  • Store the pasta and sauce separately in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. For the freezer, store in separate containers for 3-4 months. Check out our storage notes for more details!
  • If you don’t make the sunflower parmesan, add your fav vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: ¼ recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 704Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1808mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 23gSugar: 19gProtein: 38g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed.

Please rate & share if you like this!

Leave a comment on our blog or share on Pinterest or Instagram.

Browse these categories

Alena sitting in a cafe with a bowl of fresh plant-based food and a glass of coffee in front of her

About Alena Handwritten FontAlena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe