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Vegan Bolognese Pasta

Get into this rich, flavorful, and hearty Vegan Bolognese Pasta, perfect for feeding the entire family or as an easy weeknight meal.

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

Vegan Bolognese pasta sauce is a rich, hearty, and vegetable-packed dinner with bucatini that's perfect for Meatless Monday or any night of the week! Dried herbs, garlic, tomato, and quinoa make this easy stove-top dinner a winner. Gluten-free option.

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

Is there anything more satisfying than sitting down to a piping hot bowl of pasta bolognese? While traditional bolognese sauce relies on multiple kinds of ground meat and plenty of heavy cream, my version is much lighter and every bit as satisfying and delicious. 

This meatless vegan bolognese recipe has a rich and complex flavor that you might even call meaty. That's thanks to plenty of umami from tomato paste, fresh vegetables, dried herbs, and quinoa. I promise that even the biggest beef fan won't miss the meat in this vegan bolognese sauce. 

Roasted Tomatoes; a Game-Changer

Tomatoes are usually slow-cooked in a pot to make pasta sauce along with onions, garlic, and herbs. Instead, I like to roast my tomatoes in a hot oven until they blister and become sweet. The heat from the oven caramelizes the outside of the tomato and enhances its natural sugars, much like how caramelized onions become sweet after cooking.

Roasted tomatoes are also better seasoned than their plain tomato counterparts. When you roast the tomatoes, you first toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper before they bake. That first step adds so much more flavor rather than making a sauce from plain raw tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are charred, it’s time to remove them from the oven.

The more charred your tomatoes are, the sweeter they will be. You do still want a little structural integrity to the tomatoes, so bake them until they just start to blister and blacken. The blackened flavor on the outside of the tomato really enhances the overall flavor in the sauce.

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

How to Make Vegan Bolognese Pasta

This pasta sauce actually comes together in just one pot, so it's a perfect low-stress meal to make on a weeknight. However, it has all of the deep, rich flavors of long-simmered Sunday sauce. 

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you need for vegan bolognese pasta:

  • Bucatini. Use your favorite shape of pasta. You can also substitute gluten-free if necessary. 
  • Roasted herb tomatoes. This adds natural sweetness to the bolognese sauce and a nice jammy texture.
  • Red onion. Substitute with yellow or white if that’s what you have.
  • Garlic. You can never have too much! I recommend using 6 cloves to infuse this vegan bolognese sauce with flavor.
  • Olive oil. I prefer the organic oil from Primal Kitchen.
  • Red pepper flakes. For a bit of heat that doesn’t overwhelm.
  • Dried oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley. These dried herbs add to the savory Italian flavor of this sauce.
  • Red tomato paste. This is my secret flavor-enhancer and the thing that gives this dish some color. 
  • White wine. Choose dry wine for the best flavor. This adds a bit of acidity to the bolognese sauce.
  • Vegetable stock. I use low-sodium stock from Pacific Foods.
  • Quinoa. Use as the original, red, or multi-color version. Totally up to you! You can also use vegan meatballs (minced), mushrooms, or lentils if you'd like!

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

Instructions

To make this pasta sauce, follow these recipe instructions:

  • In a 5 Qt. cocotte or pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and let it heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, and red pepper flakes-----stirring until combined. Stir in the tomato paste followed by the veggie stock and white cooking wine. Continue stirring until completely combined and the sauce begins to thicken and becomes smooth. Reduce the heat to low so that everything simmers.
  • Add in 1 cup of cooked quinoa and the roasted tomatoes, stirring until combined. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

What is Bucatini Pasta?

If you haven’t heard of bucatini pasta or used it, you’re totally missing out! Bucatini pasta has by far become one of my favorite pasta to use (next to rigatoni and pappardelle). This pasta is thicker than spaghetti and has a hallow center running through it, which allows it to “hold up” well in saucy dishes—in my opinion.

It is of course derived from Italy and made of durum wheat flour. Because it is so similar to spaghetti, it’s usually a great substitute for any dish that call for it. It’s usually readily available as dried pasta and can be stored longer than if you were to purchase it fresh (it’s pricier fresh also).

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

How to Cook Bucatini Pasta

Like with many other types of pasta, you bring a pot of water to a boil, add the dried bucatini pasta along with olive oil or salt, and let it boil for 8-12 minutes, depending on the packaging and brand.

As always, it’s best to cook your pasta to al’ dente so that it’s not too soft for the sauce when stirring it in.

Storage Suggestions

Store leftover vegan bolognese pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

You can freeze the post without the pasta in an airtight container for up to 4 months. To use, defrost on the counter or in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove. 

For make-ahead vegan bolognese pasta:

  • Cook the pasta, let it cool, and store it in an air-tight refrigerator for 3-5 days. You can also cook the meatballs, mince them and store them in another airtight container for the same amount of time.
  • Follow the steps to cook tomato sauce and after STEP 3, remove the sauce from heat, let cool completely and store in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, remove everything from the fridge, warm the sauce and pasta together in a large pot until warmed through, and serve.

How to Serve Bolognese 

I like to sprinkle my piping hot bowl of vegan bolognese with grated parmesan cheese. You can also top it with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes for a bit more heat. On the side, a slice of crusty bread dipped in olive oil is always a welcome addition. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Bolognese Pasta

To make this recipe gluten-free, simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

More Meatless Pasta Recipes

Looking to cut back on your meat consumption without sacrificing flavor or satiety? You'll love these other comforting vegetarian and vegan pasta recipes:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make this Vegan Bolognese Pasta recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

Vegan Bolognese Pasta

5 from 5 votes
Get into this rich, flavorful, and hearty Vegan Bolognese Pasta, perfect for feeding the entire family or as an easy weeknight meal.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

PASTA:

  • 1 (16 oz.) package bucatini pasta
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil (You can also use Grapeseed oil)

QUINOA:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, multi-colored or red

SAUCE:

  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste, organic
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups roasted herb tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, organic
  • 3 Tbsps white cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

OPTIONAL GARNISH:

  • Fresh parsley
  • Vegan grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

FOR ROASTED HERB TOMATOES:

TO COOK THE QUINOA:

  • Add the veggie stock to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Add in the quinoa, whisking continuously while boiling for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, whisking every 3-4 minutes until fully cooked through, and water has dried, and the quinoa has thickened. 

BOIL THE PASTA:

  • Cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: bucatini pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 10-12 minutes. NOTE: I always add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the boiling water to prevent pasta from sticking together.

MAKE THE SAUCE:

  • In a 5 Qt. cocotte or pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and let it heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, and red pepper flakes-----stirring until combined. Stir in the tomato paste followed by the veggie stock and white cooking wine. Continue stirring until completely combined and the sauce begins to thicken and becomes smooth. Reduce the heat to low so that everything simmers.
  • Add in 1 cup of cooked quinoa and the roasted tomatoes, stirring until combined. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  •  Remove from heat and serve spoonfuls of quinoa/sauce atop bucatini. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or vegan parmesan cheese, if desired.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat, simply microwave for a minute or two or add to a skillet over medium-high heat and stir until heated through. 
  • GLUTEN-FREE: To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta. 
  • PASTA: If you aren't a fan of bucatini or don't have it on hand---You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Fettuccine, etc. if desired, however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, the traditional rigatoni pasta works perfectly!
  • MEAT SUBSTITUTE: If you don't want to use quinoa or feel like switching things up, you can substitute the "meaty" part of dish with vegan meatballs (minced), mushrooms, or lentils; try this VEGAN CHICKPEA + QUINOA ‘MEATBALLS’ recipe.

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Vegan Bolognese Pasta.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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  1. We love quinoa and eat if often, but have never considered using it as a meat substitute. This dish has such great texture and flavor, and we love that it all comes together in one pot, too!

  2. This is such a cool way to make a vegan bolognese! I've always seen recipes using lentils, never quinoa. Looking forward to trying it!