15-Minute Tempeh Bolognese

Not sure what to do with tempeh? Maybe you’ve heard about this delicious and nutritious bean cake or seen it on grocery store shelves or on menus. Maybe you already love it. Whether you’re experienced with this trendy fermented patty or not, here’s a rich, hearty, vegan meal to add to your lazy weeknight repertoire! This tempeh bolognese sauce comes together in less than 15 minutes and is delicious over pasta, spaghetti squash, spiralized veggies, or whatever you like to put meaty marinara sauce on.

Banza chickpea spaghetti, yum!!

What is Tempeh?

Where does tempeh come from? Well, when a mushroom-like fungus and a legume love each other very much, sometimes they produce a yummy, fermented bean cake called tempeh.

Tempeh is a fermented food with a firm, pleasant texture and a subtle nutty flavor. It is high in protein, fiber, and contains active enzymes that aid in digestion, just like other fermented and cultured foods such as yogurt or sauerkraut. The FDA considers tempeh a converted food, meaning that after fermentation the legume and the fungi are no longer recognized, it becomes a new whole food!

Much less processed than tofu and other meat alternatives, tempeh is quickly becoming a trendy and widely available superfood. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes and types of cuisine. Tempeh originated in Indonesia where it is a protein staple, but it is becoming more and more popular in the U.S, with local tempeh shops popping up all over the place. If you’re ever in the Portland or Seattle area, be sure to check out Squirrel and Crow, my favorite local tempeh guy.

Recipe Tips

  • For a soy-free option, choose a grain-based tempeh.
  • Feel free to play around with add-ins such as fresh garlic, spinach, etc.
  • If you’re feeling fancy, add some fennel seeds and a splash of wine to this dish at the same time as the marinara sauce. They add some amazing flavor.

How to Make This Quick & Easy Tempeh Bolognese

Other Delicious Tempeh Recipes You’ll Love

If you make this easy tempeh bolognese, leave a star rating or comment below! Your feedback is so helpful to me and other readers. You can also tag me in your meal pics on Instagram @katiesconsciouskitchen, or join my free private facebook group to share your creations and inspire others! I love to see what you all are making.

15-Minute Tempeh Bolognese

This healthy, vegan tempeh bolognese sauce comes together in 15 minutes and is delicious over pasta, spaghetti sauce, or spiralized veggies.
5 from 1 vote
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Active Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Time: 15 minutes
Servings 2



  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce

Protein / Fat

  • 1 package tempeh, 8 oz
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 oz


  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste, optional, for richer flavor
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, optional, for a richer flavor
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine, optional but delicious!
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed, optional but delicious!
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional, for a spicy kick

Useful Equipment


  • Grate the package of raw tempeh using the large holes of a cheese grater.
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic, and grated tempeh. Sauté for 10 minutes or so, until nicely browned.
  • Add the seasonings and sauté another minute, until fragrant. Stir in the wine (if using) and simmer for a minute.
  • Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste (if using).
  • Simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavors.
  • Serve atop pasta, spaghetti sauce, or spiralized veggies.


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  1. Marsha Weiner

    Katie, This looks so yummy! I’m definitely going to try this as I’ve recently become interested in using Tempeh (will be grocery shopping this afternoon).

    I have your cookbooks (hard copy), and have used them frequently. Glad you’re part of my BLE “tools”. 👍💕

  2. silvia

    I made this recipe yesterday, using chickpea tempeh and zoodles, and it´s delicious!!! Thank yo very much, Katie, I´m always looking for recipes with tempeh, which I don´t like particularly, but I know it´s very healthy.

    • Where do you find chickpea tempeh?

      • We have a great local tempeh guy in Portland, OR. He makes all kinds of tempeh. Their company’s name is Squirrel and Crow. I’ve also seen many non-soy tempeh products in natural food stores.

  3. How do you count a 28 oz can of tomatoes for a veggie serving? Is it about 20 oz once you account for the water and cooking?

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  7. Hi, Katie: I tried to find your lentil/mushroom bolognese recipe, and it looks like it is no longer on the site (tried another recipe–not yours, and it was awful)…Is this recipe essentially the same? Help!

    • Katie Gates

      Hi Keli, no this one is different. Sorry! A bunch of my recipes are down right now for editing (I’ve needed to do a lot of tidying to remove BLE language and reference from my blog due to accidental trademark violation). I just put it back up, sorry for the confusion! The post is pretty bare bones but the recipe is there. https://katiesconsciouskitchen.com/lentil-mushroom-bolognese/

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