Vegan Bolognese is savory, hearty, and made “meaty” with plenty of tofu crumbles! Tossing your spaghetti in this robust homemade marinara sauce is one of the best comfort meals you can treat yourself to. It’s an easy weeknight dinner the whole family loves!

looking down at a bowl of pasta with red sauce with little pieces of tofu in it

If you love hearty pasta dishes as much as I do, make sure to check out my Vegan Baked Ziti and Vegan Lasagna!

Since I first shared this easy pasta favorite, I’ve created a few other vegan bolognese recipes. Try this Lentil Bolognese or this super meaty Vegan Spaghetti.

Winter is just around the corner, and I’m preparing for the chilly evenings by remembering all of my favorite comfort food recipes! Stay full and warmed up this fall and winter with dinner recipes like Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Vegan Chicken and Dumplings, and Lentil Chili!

Why I love this vegan bolognese

  • It’s super filling. Spaghetti noodles always fill you up and they’re made even heartier here with the amount of crumbled tofu in this sauce. It’s a protein packed sauce that always hits the spot!
  • So much flavor! Oh yes, there’s so much mouthwatering flavor in this simple bolognese sauce! It’s created by seasonings like smoked paprika garlic powder that pair perfectly with the marinara sauce. 
  • One of the best comfort meals. After a long day, nothing’s more satisfying to curl up with than a pasta dinner. Make that pasta dinner the best it can be with a warm, “meaty” sauce like this vegan bolognese! 
speckled bowl with noodles and red meaty sauce, a fork swirling a bite

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Soy Sauce – I tend to usually use low sodium soy sauce, but you can use regular instead. For a gluten free option, use tamari..
  • Marinara Sauce – I love Trader Joe’s jarred tomato basil marinara, and they have several other ones I like as well. Use what you love, because this will make up most of the flavor in the sauce! You can also make this pretty easy from scratch.
  • Olive Oil – Omit for oil free, it just helps the tofu brown nicely and not burn in the oven. You can also swap it for avocado oil if preferred. 
  • Seasonings – You’ll need a medley of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder for this sauce. You can replace the smoked paprika for plain if you don’t want the light note of smokey flavor. 
  • Firm or Extra Firm Tofu – There’s no need to press the tofu. Simply remove it from the water and pat it dry. You could try using tempeh for a tofu free option, or just make my lentil bolognese sauce instead. I’ve also used both Beyond and Impossible “beef” to make a killer Vegan Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. So good!
  • Noodles – I like to use linguine, spaghetti or fettuccine but any pasta will do. Use whole wheat or gluten free if needed. Or chickpea pasta for an extra protein and fiber boost!

How to make vegan bolognese

Find the complete printable recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.

In a large bowl, add the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the marinara, olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.

reddish sauce being mixed in a speckled bowl on wood background

Stir well with a large spoon or whisk. Crumble the tofu into the bowl. You can use your hands but I usually use a potato masher to mash it, which also crumbles it. Stir the tofu crumbles into the sauce.

tofu crumbles in a bowl with a spoon, mixed up with a reddish sauce

Place on a parchment lined pan and spread into a single layer.

uncooked tofu crumbles on parchment lined gold pan

Place in the oven and bake for 25-40 minutes until chewy, but be careful not to burn it.

They are done when they have turned golden brown, are chewy and there is no water on the pan. You can stir them a few times if the edges start to burn.

gold pan with parchment paper and cooked brown tofu crumbles

Warm the marinara sauce on the stovetop and stir in the tofu crumbles.

small grey pan with marinara and tofu crumbles

Serve over the cooked noodles with vegan parmesan and enjoy!

Consider serving alongside Vegan Caesar Salad and Dutch Oven Bread for an incredible dinner, perhaps with a slice of Vegan Chocolate Cake or Vegan Tiramisu for dessert.

speckled bowl with pasta and vegan bolognese on wood background

Frequently asked questions

  • How long will vegan bolognese sauce stay fresh? If you happen to have any leftover bolognese sauce, it keeps very well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm.
  • Can I freeze it? Yes! Simply store it in a freezer safe food storage container and pop it in the freezer, where it’ll stay fresh for up to 3 months. 
  • Can I make this sauce spicy? You sure can. If you want your vegan bolognese to have a little spice, sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes along with the other seasonings.
noodles with a vegan bolognese sauce, parmesan and little basil leaves on wood background

More vegan pasta recipes you’ll love

square image of a bowl with lots of noodles and red vegan bolognese on one side of the pasta
5 stars (19 ratings)

Vegan Bolognese

The BEST Vegan Bolognese sauce and it's super simple to make with only 8 ingredients. Savory, meaty and hearty, everyone will love this Italian classic made vegan!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings



  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray well with oil.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the marinara sauce (adjust if doubling/halving the recipe), olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder until well combined.
  • Now drain the tofu from the package, pat with paper towels and crumble into the bowl with the sauce. You can use your hands OR use a potato masher to mash it right in the bowl.
  • Stir to coat the tofu crumbles in the sauce, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out into a layer (see photos above for visual reference). Bake in the center rack of the oven for 25-40 minutes, until chewy and golden in spots, but be careful not to burn it. You can give it a stir halfway, if the edges start to burn.
  • While the tofu is baking, cook your pasta according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
  • Add the rest of the marinara sauce to a medium sized pot and warm on low heat. Once the tofu is done baking, remove it from the oven and add to the pot with the marinara. Stir to make a meaty bolognese sauce!
  • Serve immediately over pasta, sprinkled with vegan parmesan, if desired, and some crusty bread. Enjoy!


  1. Gluten free: Easy! Use gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce and gluten free pasta. I used Trader Joe’s brown rice quinoa spaghetti!
  2. Tofu free: Try substituting tempeh instead! But don’t bake it as long, probably only 15-20 minutes instead of 25-40. Or make my lentil bolognese instead.
  3. Omit oil for oil free and use parchment paper. You will also need to find a marinara sauce that doesn’t contain oil, as most do.
  4. Tofu bolognese sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheats well either in the microwave or stovetop. It may also be frozen.


Serving: 1of 4 servings | Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 816mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1042IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

This recipe was first published in 2019 and has been updated with new photos and writing.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Read my full disclosure here.

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  1. Made this today and it’s delicious! Added a few tbsps nutritional yeast to the tofu crumble, used Rao’s marinara, served over rigatoni!

  2. This recipe is absolutely amazing! It was fairly simple to make and my picky family of non-vegans all ate this with no complaints. I will definitely be making this again soon!

    1. Hi Juliet. I’m so glad you loved the recipe! Thank you for taking time to share your review and feedback!

  3. I just made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Had plenty of sauce so it was super easy to meal prep lunch as well. Thanks Nora for another quick and delicious recipe!!

  4. Wasn’t sure where to post this so I’ll start here. I have only just started exploring vegan and this was one of my first recipes to try. Incredibly flavorful and delicious. I was craving lasagna so used this as my ‘meat’ substitute with your lasagna recipe and WOW. I can honestly say I will never want to go back to a meat lasagna again. Thank for providing me a place to experiment as I fumble my way through this. Much gratitude to you. 🙂

    1. Hi Amy. Your feedback is so encouraging! Welcome to my site! I hope you’ll enjoy your journey through my recipes! Please reach out with any questions you may have! I am thrilled that you loved the recipe! Thank you for taking time to share your fabulous review and feedback!

  5. I made this for dinner tonight and my wife (who is not vegan) and I both LOVED it. She paid it the highest compliment from a meat eater, she said the it was “so good that you could serve that to anyone and they would not know the difference.” I used Chickpea Fusilli for my pasta, and I sprinkled mine with nutritional yeast. We will be making this often. Next time I might add some mushrooms, because… why not? 🙂

    1. Hi Jack. It’s awesome to know that you and your wife loved the recipe! I’m thrilled it will be on your meal rotation list! I appreciate your wonderful feedback and review! Thank you!

  6. Simply incredible!!! I had my 4 and 6 year old picky eater nieces over for dinner tonight and they devoured this bolognese! One even asked for seconds! I’m definitely going to be making it quite often! Thank you!

    1. I love it! It’s a hit when picky children eat and ask for seconds! I’m so glad everyone loved the meal! Thank you for your awesome review and fun feedback!

  7. Can’t eat tomatoes. Did I reas something about using beets for a red sauce? Maybe you have an idea.

  8. Hi Nora,
    This is a delicious meal! We make our sauce from organic chopped tomatoes and puree them with our spices. We can’t get tofu on my island so we import TVP from Australia. It’s better than any mince and it’s chewy and delicious. We also use the TVP for tacos and burritos. Would love to see your recipes using TVP please. THANKS!

  9. Thanks Nora for sharing your amazing tasty recipes. I have tried a few of them and they were delicious and came out perfectly every time. All members of my family especially my husband, Al enjoy them, like your Best Vegan Lasagna. I will be trying this recipe soon.
    Thanks again for sharing your recipes with us! May God continue to richly bless you.

  10. I absolutely love this recipe and once I found, it is my go to!   I had to adjust initially since I did not have all the ingredients.  I used chili powder in place of the paprika and no soy sauce.   Last night I used all ingredients, tamari in place of the soy sauce, and it was perfect!  I appreciate the recipe!

  11. I cooked the tofu in a Nuwave counter top oven and it came out great.  No need to heat up an oven as the heat is instant.  25 minutes one side then 15 the other.  I’m loving the result and I’ll be making this for years to come.  Can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done to change my dinner menus.  

    1. What a great oven! I’m so glad that you are loving my recipes, and that they are helping you! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback!

  12. So amazing, I was surprised at how delicious it was! I love tofu but have never tried it with Italian food. My boyfriend loved it too and we will definitely be making again!

    1. Hi Amy. Isn’t it great!? Thank you for sharing your fantastic review and feedback! I’m glad you guys loved the bolognese!

  13. Hey Nora!

    I’ve been using your site for years and have never commented but I just have to thank you.
    I absolutely love this recipe, I make it for meal prep all the time and I never get tired of it. I took it a step further and used this recipe as the “meat” and sauce in a lasagna, and OMG, so good. My boyfriend really likes it too, says you can’t tell that it’s tofu. I make it all the time now and sell it on occasion. Definitely going to cook it for a family dinner and see what they think.

    Keep up the awesome work! Thank you so much for all you do! <3

    1. Hi Julia! Thank you so much for you using my recipes! I’m so glad you are enjoying them. I’m glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed the recipe! Thank you very much for taking your time to share your wonderful review and beautiful comments! Happy cooking!

  14. It was really good! This was my first time doing any sort of tofu crumble and it was simple to figure out for someone (me) who has a lower cooking skill level. I will 100% make this again!

  15. I discovered several months ago and have already made it multiple times!  It is soooo delicious AND easy. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!!!

  16. Can I substitute the onion and garlic powder for actual onion and garlic? Can I also saute the tofu instead of baking it?

    1. Sure, you could! You could sauté the tofu in a pan but it won’t get the same dried out, chewy texture. It will be more like a tofu scramble in sauce. Maybe if you cooked it long enough on the stove, but I’m not sure.

  17. This is a genius idea lol. Great for vegans/vegetarians. I only have super firm tofu, would that work? Or do I need to use firm or extra firm tofu?

    1. It’s so good Anna, I hope you love it! Super firm tofu will be fine, you just might want to bake it less since your tofu is likely drier to start with, so watch it closely in the oven. Thanks!

  18. Tried this tonight and it was excellent! I love how the tofu didn’t taste like tofu! It just soaked up all of those yummy sauce flavors! Even my picky two year old ate it! My husband asked whose recipe this was and I said yours and he replied, “She is officially my favorite vegan chef!” Thank you so much, Nora! 

    1. Hi Samantha. I’m glad you guys love the recipe! Your wonderful comments have brought a smile to my face! Thank you for using my recipes, and for taking the time to share!

  19. This was really good. Both my non-vegan family and I loved it! I loved the ‘beef-y’ taste the tofu took on (haven’t had anything like that in over 3 years).

  20. Because I don’t care for TOEFL in any form, I wonder if you would recommend something else, such as veggie crumbles or lentils in place of the tofu.

    1. SO TASTY!! I’m not sure what authentic Italian bolognese is supposed to taste like but this bolognese taste very delish for how simple and easy it is! I doubled recipe and it turned out great! I loved the texture of the baked tofu in the sauce. I used the super firm tofu and rigatoni pasta. Thanks, Nora!

      1. I’m so glad you love the bolognese! Thanks for using my recipe, and for sharing your review and feedback!

  21. Hi!  I made the butternut squash lasagna. I found it to be okay, but not great because of the sweetness of the squash sauce.  Nothing wrong with the recipe . Just my personal take on the sauce. I imagine that you experimented with several ingredients for the sauce, but decided that you like it sweet. I also made the ricotta. I found it easy to make and surprisingly good – I added oregano and basil to it. Good flavor. I enjoy your recipes and usually find them delicious. Thank you for all of your good work developing the recipes.

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