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What Vegans Eat: Tofu Bolognese

Posted on 14 August 2016

Yum, Bolognese. There's nothing like proper al dente spaghetti with a thick, meat-y tomato sauce. And lucky for us vegetarians and vegans, there are so many easy and healthy ways to achieve that "meaty" texture without any animal flesh. Lentils, mushrooms, tempeh, seitan, black beans, soy.....all of these are easy substitutes for traditional ground beef meat crumbles. But my new FAVORITE and the most realistic version I've found of a Veg Bolognese sauce is the Tofu Bolognese recipe courtesy of It Doesn't Taste like Chicken. This recipe has you crumble up tofu, coat it in a simple nutritional-yeast-based seasoning, bake it in the oven, and then re-crumble it up into tomato sauce for a delicious can't-believe-its-vegan bolognese. I make it with Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta to make it Gluten-Free as well! This one's a must-try. Read on for the recipe...


Tofu Bolognese


Tofu Bolognese Spaghetti Starling & Ivy 


1 block Extra-Firm tofu

1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce or tamari

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp liquid smoke


28 oz. can of tomato sauce (I like Dei Fratelli)

1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 cloves minced garlic

1 package brown rice spaghetti (I recommend this kind from Tinkyada)

Dried basil for garnish (optional)



1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Whisk tamari, olive oil, nutritional yeast, chili powder, garlic powder, and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. This will yield a brown paste-like mixture.

3. Rinse and blot the block of tofu (no need to press), and then crumble into the bowl with the seasoning paste.

4. Stir and toss the tofu crumbles with the seasoning paste until the tofu is evenly coated.

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the tofu mixture with your fingers evenly on the pan.

6. Bake tofu for approximately 40 minutes. If you want to keep it crumbly you can pull it out and restir every few minutes, but I prefer to just let it cook for the full time and then pull it apart after. 

Tofu Bolognese Spaghetti Starling & Ivy  Tofu Bolognese Spaghetti Starling & Ivy

tofu before baking // tofu after baking

7. When the tofu is halfway done baking, start on your tomato sauce. Heat remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, and sautee the crushed red pepper and minced garlic until fragrant and browned. Add the jar of tomato sauce and simmer.

8. Cook spaghetti according to directions. If you're using the Tinkyada, I highly recommend their energy-saving instructions on the front of the package. Leave al dente and rinse with cold water, returning back to pot. 

9. Allow tofu to rest for a couple of minutes after baking, and then re-crumble gently into the tomato sauce, stirring and heating through for 5 minutes. If you prefer your bolognese sauce to be thicker, just simmer for longer.

Tofu Bolognese Spaghetti Starling & Ivy

10. Serve the finished bolognese sauce with the cooked spaghetti, either mixed together as pictured or simply laid on top. Garnish with dried basil, extra red pepper flakes, and/or cashew cheese as desired, and enjoy! A classic Italian meal without any cruelty! <3

 Tofu Bolognese Spaghetti Starling & Ivy

Tofu Bolognese Spaghetti Starling & Ivy

I hope you enjoy this delicious spaghetti dish! Thanks again to Sam of It Doesn't Taste like Chicken for the base recipe. And if this pasta has gotten you into the mood for Italian cuisine, be sure to check out my Homemade Pizza Recipe as well! If there are any other Italian Classics that you'd like me to find a great vegan "dupe" for - I'm your girl, Starlings.


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