This vegan tempeh spaghetti Bolognese recipe is the perfect introduction to plant-based and vegan diets. It is incredibly simple to prepare yet full of delicious flavours. Serve with a simple throw-everything-together mixed salad and perhaps a wedge of crusty bread or a few slices of garlic bread.
Why tempeh for this Bolognese?
I decided to use tempeh for this recipe as my local supermarket had a special offer on tempeh and as I had never tried this ingredient before I was curious.
Tempeh has more texture compared to tofu, and the flavours are pleasantly nutty and savoury. Tempeh works really well with this Bolognese and I especially enjoyed using this ingredient as it doesn’t require long cooking! A bonus for the summer months.
As tempeh doesn’t have a strong taste it is perfect for fussy eaters especially kids.
What exactly is tempeh?
Tempeh originated in Indonesia at least a 1000 years ago. It is soybeans that have been cooked, but not completely, and then fermented. As such Tempeh is much more easily digestible and thankfully can lead to less wind! Perfect for new plant-based eaters who are concerned with bean products and there digestibility.
Is tempeh good for you?
Tempeh’s health benefits are quite impressive including antioxidant and prebiotic benefits, and being useful for conditions related to the menopause, heart problems, insulin resistance, bone health, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Tempeh is a complete protein containing all the amino acids needed. Eighty-four grams (about 1/2 a cup) of tempeh has about 15g protein so is a good choice for those needing to eat more plant-based protein.
A serving of tempeh Bolognese with spaghetti packs in an estimated 26g protein!
Origins of Spaghetti Bolognese:
Bolognese is an Italian meat-based sauce that is also known as a ragu.
Bolognese served with pasta was recorded as a recipe in an Italian cookery book dated 1891.
I usually serve my family’s Bolognese with spaghetti but was surprised to discover that tagliatelle is traditionally the type of pasta to serve with Bolognese.
Recipe FAQs and Notes:
How do I store leftover Bolognese?
Leftover Bolognese can be stored in the fridge, in a covered container, for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze leftovers?
Yes! Tempeh Bolognese is great for meal prep. Freeze in a freezer-proof container for 4-6 months. Defrost before reheating.
How do I reheat leftovers?
Place leftovers back in the same cooking pan or a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for 2-5 minutes until piping hot throughout. Add a little extra veggie stock or water if the sauce has become too thick.
What can I serve with spaghetti Bolognese?
A few suggestions:
- garlic bread
- A wedge of Irish soda bread
- Tasty quick dinner rolls
- Scottish vegan oil-free cheesy oatcakes
- mixed crispy salad
- steamed veggies especially green leaves such as kale, chard, collards, spinach.
- roast veggies, such as courgette/zucchini, aubergine/eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, onions, carrots, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, corn, green beans, asparagus
- sautéed mushrooms
- peas and sweetcorn
What can I use to garnish spaghetti Bolognese?
- chopped parsley, basil or chives
- grated vegan cheese
- cubes of vegan feta/Greek cheese
- sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes as a parmesan cheese replacement
- red pepper flakes/chilli flakes
- pine nuts
- vegan pesto
- roast crispy chickpeas
Can I make tempeh Bolognese gluten-free?
Absolutely. Just ensure that the veggie stock that is used is certified gluten-free, and use a gluten-free soya sauce such as Tamari. Also use gluten-free spaghetti/ pasta shapes and check that your tempeh doesn’t have any wheat or wheat derivatives added.
I’m not keen on tempeh or I can’t find it for sale, what can I substitute it with?
Replace the tempeh with the same amount of firm tofu, fine chopped mushrooms, a can of green lentils or vegan mince. Or even fine chopped soft veggies such as courgette, eggplant and bell peppers. Fine grated carrots would also work and add extra tasty sweetness.
How To Quickly Prepare Vegan Tempeh Spaghetti Bolognese
Vegan Quick Tempeh Spaghetti Bolognese
- Sauté pan/deep frying pan/ skillet
To sauté the onion and garlic:
- 250 ml vegetable stock
For the Bolognese:
- 200 grams tempeh Crumble, grate or dice your tempeh block. Alternatively use 200-300 grams of fine chopped mushrooms.
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes 400g/14oz cans
- 170 g onion diced
- 2 bell peppers any colour, diced. Or use the equivalent of frozen mixed peppers.
- 4 cloves garlic minced. More if liked.
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar Alternatively use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- 1 tbsp tamari soya sauce or just regular soya sauce. Tamari has less sodium and is gluten-free.
- 1 tsp mixed herbs or oregano.
- 1 tsp sugar optional and only needed to balance out the tomatoes if required.
- 400 g spaghetti or the amount that works for your family.
- Cook the onion and garlic in 250ml of vegetable stock for 10 minutes. If the pan is getting too dry add an extra splash of stock.
- Tip in the diced bell pepper and chopped tempeh pieces.Mix.Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add small splash of veggie stock if necessary.
- Meanwhile cook your spaghetti pasta according to instructions. Once ready drain and leave in the pan with the lid on to keep warm.
- Lower the heat and add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine vinegar, soya sauce and mixed herbs to the Bolognese.Mix well.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict analysis as ingredients vary. Data is run through nutritional computerized apps. Nutritional info includes 400g spaghetti.
- Leftover Bolognese can be stored in the fridge, in a covered container, for up to 3 days. Or frozen for 4-6 months.
- Reheat in a saucepan with a little extra veggie stock added if the sauce is too thick. Heat until piping hot throughout.
- Leftover Bolognese is lovely served on toast for a quick lunch. Or used as a baked potato filling.
- Leftovers also make for a delicious sloppy joe filling. Simply heat the Bolognese and serve in a bread bun or sub/hotdog style roll.