This hearty vegan tempeh Bolognese is perfect for cozy winter nights.
As far as plant-based proteins go, tempeh is a superstar ingredient. And if you’re not experimenting with it already, here’s why you should.
Like tofu, tempeh (pronounced TEM-pay) is made out of soybeans. The beans are cooked and naturally fermented into a block. But unlike tofu – which is essentially coagulated soy milk – tempeh is a whole food, so all its nutrients remain intact.
Eating whole foods made from soy is a great idea because soy is a complete protein – meaning, it supplies all nine of the essential amino acids we need to get from food sources. Aside from being an excellent source of protein, tempeh is also high in fiber, iron, and other minerals. Since it’s fermented, it’s great for your gut as well. Just be sure to look for a brand that’s organic and non-GMO to ensure it’s high quality (I recommend Lightlife).
Cooking with Tempeh
Culinarily speaking, tempeh is versatile and makes the perfect meat substitute in tons of recipes. It can be sliced or cubed, then seared or grilled. Or you can crumble it to resemble ground meat texture. The possibilities are really endless.
One thing to keep in mind when cooking tempeh is its slightly bitter taste. That’s why it’s best to steam tempeh before cooking it, or marinate/simmer it in a flavored liquid, much like this Bolognese, or this tempeh bacon recipe. Other than that, tempeh is pretty neutral and adapts well to whatever flavors you add to it.
If you want to make a healthier plant-based version of Bolognese, tempeh is a must. Its toothsome texture is the perfect substitute for the more traditional beef/veal. This tempeh Bolognese also features mushrooms to add umami and textural variety. The mixture is simmered with red wine, tomatoes, garlic, and other aromatics, resulting in a rich, hearty, satisfying sauce that’s perfect for cold nights in.
My favorite way to serve tempeh Bolognese is over roasted spaghetti squash. It’s equally good with pasta, zucchini or sweet potato noodles, mashed potatoes, or other purées.
This hearty vegan tempeh Bolognese is perfect for cozy winter nights. Serve it over roasted spaghetti squash, pasta, zucchini or sweet potato noodles, mashed potatoes, or other purées.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- One 8-ounce package of tempeh, crumbled into small bits
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup dry red wine
- One 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- Chopped parsley, for serving
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Raise the heat to medium and add the tempeh. Cook until you start seeing some browned crispy bits, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, garlic, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and pepper and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes, until the wine reduces a bit. Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the skillet tightly with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Garnish with parsley.
- Calories: 260
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Protein: 14 g