This vegan Beyond Meat Bolognese recipe tastes like home to me. It's thick and rich with all the depth of flavor and meaty goodness you'd expect from a Bolognese sauce. This is a stick to your ribs, hearty meal perfect for colder weather.
Paired with a green salad and some crusty bread it's perfect for a cozy weekend dinner or when company's coming and you want to impress. As this sauce cooks on the stove it will make your house smell just heavenly - like you just walked into my Italian grandmother's house on Sunday afternoon.
This recipe does take some time to cook, but trust me when I say it's worth it.
Table of Contents
Note: Not all ingredients are listed below. Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the details.
- pasta - we like to use rigatoni, but any sturdy pasta shape will work.
- carrots, celery, onion, and garlic - if you aren't familiar with a bolgonese sauce putting celery and carrots in the sauce might seem odd, but trust me they are vital
- tomato paste, miso paste and mushrooms - for this sauce we want to build in layers of flavor and these ingredients help to add depth and richness.
- unsweetened plant milk - we like almond milk for a neutral flavor, but unsweetened oat milk works well also
- vegan parmesan - use your favorite brand or homemade version. We like Violife brand.
- shredded vegan cheese - we typically use Violife or Daiya
- vegan ground beef - bolognese sauce is a thick, rich and meaty sauce. We like to use Beyond Meat for the recipe, but you can substitute any vegan ground product or even lentils.
- wine - this is another ingredient that helps add to the layers of flavor. We typically use white, but red works as well. See the FAQ below for substitutions.
- brown sugar - the acidity of the tomatoes can vary by brand and so we like to add in some brown sugar to taste to help balance that out. You could use other forms of sweetener as long as they are fairly neutral in flavor. For instance, I wouldn't recommend maple syrup.
Pulse onion, celery, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Depending on the size of your processor, you may need to do this in batches. Set aside.
Put a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat and cook the vegan beef for 7-8 minutes or until it's done. You may need to use a little oil depending on how much oil is in the brand of beef that you are using. When done, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pot, heat up the olive oil and then cook the vegetable mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes or until very soft. Stirring occasionally to cook evenly.
Stir in the tomato paste, miso paste, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour the wine into the pan to deglaze. Use a spoon to scrape up any bits of flavor stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring this to a good simmer and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes to reduce the sauce pretty significantly.
Add in the tomatoes, bay leaf and broth and continue to simmer uncovered over low heat for 35 minutes. It should start to reduce and thicken.
Pour milk into the sauce and add a pinch of salt if needed. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.
If the liquid reduces too much, you can add more stock. Keep in mind that this sauce is supposed to be thick. Taste the sauce and add in brown sugar 1 teaspoon at a time. Keep tasting before adding more sugar. Sometimes this isn't necessary, but it really depends on the acidity levels of the tomatoes you are using.
Discard the bay leaf and stir the vegan crumbles to the sauce. Taste and add salt if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is warmed through.
Cook the pasta according to package directions and before draining reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the cooked pasta into the pot with the sauce along with the reserved pasta cooking water and parmesan cheese.
Cook for an additional 2 minutes over medium heat until thickened.
Serve with additional grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Probably. Some plant milks have a more neutral taste, but I think that's really up to each individual. For instance, I love soy milk but not in savory recipes. I would say to use your milk of choice, just make sure it's unsweetened. We've used both almond and oat milk in this dish with good results.
For this recipe because we are using 2 cups of wine, I would just use additional vegetable broth. You can also add 1 Tablespoon of red or white vinegar along with the broth.
No, but it does help. The important thing is that we need the carrots, onion, celery, and mushrooms to be diced very finely. You can do this by hand it will just take longer.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind for a successful Beyond Meat Bolgonese Sauce -
- Don't forget to reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining! This water acts as a thickener since it's full of starchy and salty goodness and helps the sauce to stick to your pasta. However, if for some reason you do forget (we've all done it) here is what I would do. Add in plain water a Tablespoon a time if needed. You may also need to add in extra salt. Stir and taste as you go.
- The recipe calls for red pepper flakes, but these are optional and can be left out or you could add more in if you like things a bit spicier.
This vegan beyond meat bolognese can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and warmed up on the stove or in the microwave.
If you'd like to freeze this dish, I would do so before adding in the pasta. Then freeze in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge and then reheat on the stove. Then add your cooked pasta and reserved pasta cooking liquid.