Tofu bolognese

Tofu Bolognese

This tofu bolognese recipe is easy to make in 25 mins & full of flavor! Looking for a tasty pasta recipe? Try my vegan tofu bolognese!

I know some people get turned off when they see tofu in a recipe but one of the greatest things about tofu is that it takes on the flavor of what you add it to, which is great because the tofu in this recipe will be absorbing so many delicious flavors.

Why buy store-bought vegan bolognese sauce in a jar, when you can make it homemade! Bolognese is typically a meat sauce recipe, but obviously, this is a vegan blog so we made a couple of substitutions to the traditional bolognese recipe.

I made this recipe two ways; with crumbled extra firm tofu as well as vegan ground beef (specifically beyond beef). Both were great and can easily be substituted depending on what you have at home!

Tofu bolognese recipe

How To Make Tofu Bolognese

A little known secret to cooking with tofu is freezing it first. I didn’t learn about this trick until I had been vegan for over a year. You can learn more about the science behind freezing tofu here. Basically freezing tofu expands the water inside and creates pockets that make the texture more “meat” like. It also helps the tofu absorb sauces better. Freezing the tofu first isn’t mandatory but it helps! If you do freeze your tofu just remember to thaw it before you use it for the recipe!

I make my own pasta sauce (because my Italian mother would kill me if I didn’t lol) which you can make if you check out my mom’s pasta sauce recipe here, but it’s not mandatory for the recipe. You can use whatever pasta sauce you want. Mine is quite liquidy so if you choose another sauce that is thicker you may need to add more sauce or a little water to thin it out and help the tofu absorb the flavor.

This recipe does contain red wine, but if you don’t drink, then simply replace it with an extra cube of vegan beef bouillon or another red wine substitute.

Tofu Bolognese Ingredients (Vegan):

  • Extra Firm Tofu or vegan ground round
  • Rigatoni or pasta of choice
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • Red Wine or substitute
  • Vegan Beef Bouillon
  • Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • Olive Oil

Scroll below for exact measurements of ingredients in my printable recipe card!

Vegan bolognese

If you’re making this recipe with vegan ground round instead of tofu simply ignore steps 5-6 and cook the ground round according to the package.

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add rigatoni (or pasta of choice) and cook according to instructions on the bag.
  3. In a separate saute pan, heat olive oil on medium heat.
  4. While the pan heats up dice onions and quarter mushrooms.
  5. When the pan is heated, hand crumble a block of tofu into the pan. Literally, squish the tofu between your hands and continue to break up the big chunks until the block resembles white ground beef.
  6. Dry the tofu out in the pan, stirring often enough to not brown or burn the tofu. This takes about 5 minutes.
  7. Add in onions and continue to stir frequently to ensure they don’t burn/brown as well. This process is known as sweating, which releases a lot of flavor in onions but doesn’t alter the taste. This takes a couple of minutes.
  8. Add in the mushrooms and continue to sweat the vegetables stirring frequently.
  9. Once the mushrooms have become tender (about 5 minutes) add in the pasta sauce, red wine, and bouillon. Stir until combined.
  10. Cover the sauce and stir every few minutes making sure not to burn the sauce (this is super easy to do so make sure you’re not on high heat).
  11. Once the sauce is heated thoroughly it’s ready to serve.
  12. Strain your pasta. You can either add directly to the sauce or plate the pasta and add the sauce on top.
  13. Top with your favorite vegan parmesan, or nutritional yeast.

Remember that bolognese sauce is a little like chili in the sense that the longer you can let it sit in cook in its own juices the better it becomes. Bolognese is a great recipe the next day (if you can save some lol). Don’t be afraid to cook this in advance and let sit on low/simmer for a while to really lock in the juices, but always making sure not to burn it!

Kitchen Equipment I used for recipe:

  • My all-time favorite bowl set – These bowls are shallow and wide so they make platting food super easy and they look great!
  • Vegan Beef Bouillon – This stuff can be really hard to find, but when you buy it you basically don’t need to buy it again because this jar will last you forever!
  • Aesthetically pleasing teal spoon set – a lot of people recently have been asking about my spoon set and I feel like a fraud because everyone thinks it’s some expensive set but it’s super inexpensive and they look amazing!
Tofu bolognese

Tofu Bolognese

John Rush
This tofu bolognese recipe is easy to make in 25 mins & full of flavor! Looking for a delicious vegan pasta recipe? This vegan Bolognese will satisfy your pasta needs. My tip is to freeze the tofu and then thaw it because it gives it a lot more meaty texture and allows the tofu to absorb more flavor!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 23 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 466 kcal

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Pot
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pack Extra Firm Tofu
  • 4 cups Rigatoni or pasta of choice
  • 3 cups Pasta Sauce
  • ½ Onion
  • 1 cup Mushrooms optional
  • ½ cup Red Wine or substitute
  • 1 cube Vegan Beef Bouillon
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast optional
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  • Add rigatoni (or pasta of choice) and cook according to instructions on the bag. 
  • In a separate saute pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. 
  • While the pan heats up dice onions and quarter mushrooms. 
  • When the pan is heated, hand crumble a block of tofu into the pan. Breakdown until tofu resembles white ground beef.
  • Dry the tofu out in the pan, stirring often enough to not brown or burn the tofu. About 5 minutes. 
  • Add in onions and continue to stir frequently to ensure they don't burn/brown as well. Cook 2 minutes.
  • Add in the mushrooms and continue to sweat the vegetables stirring frequently until mushrooms become tender. About 5 minutes.
  • Add in the pasta sauce, red wine, and bouillon. Stir until combined. Cover the sauce and stir every few minutes making sure not to burn the sauce.
  • Once the sauce is heated thoroughly it's ready to serve. 
  • Strain your pasta. You can either add directly to the sauce or plate the pasta and add the sauce on top. 
  • Top with your favorite vegan parmesan, or nutritional yeast. 

Pups Notes

  • Lots of people don’t like mushrooms and that’s okay they’re not integral to the flavor of the recipe so don’t feel obligated to add them
  • If you sense that the sauce is too thick or about to burn add a 1/4 cup of water to thin it out and keep it from burning

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 466kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 25.5gFat: 12gSodium: 548mgPotassium: 911mgFiber: 6gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 800IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 6mg
Keyword bolognese, Italian, tofu, tofu bolognese
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Nutrition Facts

The nutrition information presented here is for all of the ingredients. I take all of the nutritional information from Cronometer a nutritional tracker website that provides you with a lot of great information, especially regarding micronutrients!

Nutrition Facts

4 servings per container

Serving Size1 g


  • Amount Per ServingCalories446
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 10.5g 17%
    • Saturated Fat 1.3g 7%
  • Sodium 548mg 23%
  • Potassium 911mg 27%
  • Total Carbohydrate 61g 21%
    • Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
    • Sugars 10g
  • Protein 25.5g 51%

  • Vitamin A 26.5%
  • Vitamin C 17%
  • Calcium 12%
  • Iron 73%
  • Vitamin E 18%
  • Vitamin K 4%
  • Thiamin 38%
  • Riboflavin 32%
  • Niacin 32%
  • Vitamin B6 25%
  • Folate 50%
  • Pantothenic Acid 22%
  • Phosphorus 23.5%
  • Zinc 12%
  • Selenium 73.5%
  • Copper 49%
  • Manganese 32%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

These numbers will change slightly if you use different products than I did. For instance, if you use ground round or a different tomato sauce it will affect the numbers significantly so just keep that in mind!

By sticking to the more whole foods side and picking tofu we were able to add a lot of nutrition to this dish!

The tofu alone added 8.0 mg of iron to this dish. Per serving this dish offers 73% of your daily iron intake which is huge! Iron is something many people find themselves lacking in vegan or non-vegan. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin which transports oxygen throughout your body. It is a vitality important for your body to function and many people lack it in their diets. About 10 million Americans alone are low on iron. One way I’ve found of adding extra iron to dishes is by boiling the lucky iron fish with foods so that iron is extracted into your foods. It’s sounds kind of gross but you don’t notice and it’s great! Cooking with a cast iron is another great way!

This dish also contains 25.5 g of protein which is a nice boost that never hurts. Typically I’d eat 2 servings so I’d be getting in over 50 g of protein which is nice. If I just at 2 servings of this for 3 meals I’d only be at 2676 calories (significantly below my 3500 daily intakes) and over 150 g of protein. Just to reiterate the point that it is not difficult to get protein on a vegan diet lol

This recipe doesn’t contain any b12 inherently, but an easy fix to that would be to add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast on top. Nutritional yeast is a great flavor (basically tastes like parmesan cheese) and 1 tablespoon adds an extra 3 g of protein and 733% of your daily b12, so it’s definitely worth checking out if that’s something that concerns you.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and found the nutritional information helpful! If you have any questions or comments I’d love to help you answer them in the comment section!


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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was delicious. I will definitely be making it again!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was sooooo good! I normally make my vegan Bolognese with lentils but this recipe with tofu was way better it gave it so much more texture!

  3. 5 stars
    Whipped this up today! Really loved it! I didn’t get time to freeze and thaw tofu but definitely going to try this next week. Probably should just have a thing of tofu in the freezer on a daily basis if it absorbs flavour even more

    • Awesome Susan! That’s actually exactly what we do, we usually keep one or two packs in the freezer just in case, plus they last longer!

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