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tempeh bolognese

Tempeh Bolognese Sauce Recipe (Vegan, Low Carb, Low Calorie)

Summer Yule
Crumbles of tempeh and chopped mushrooms replace the beef in this whole food plant based take on classic Bolognese sauce.
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indonesian, Italian
Servings 3
Calories 374 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into small pieces (227 grams)
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled (227 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (794 grams; from a can)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • toppings of choice (fresh basil, nutritional yeast, and/or Parmesan cheese)
  • cooked whole grain pasta or spaghetti squash, for serving


  • Chop your mushrooms and veggies, and crumble your tempeh. We're making things easier on ourselves by using "mis en place" (prepping our ingredients before we begin cooking).
  • Put the olive oil, mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a cast iron skillet. Heat them over medium heat on the stove top for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. They should soften but not brown.
  • Add the crumbled tempeh and soy sauce to the skillet. Stir and let the tempeh brown in the skillet for 5-10 minutes.
  • Next, add the crushed tomatoes, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the sauce gently simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • To serve: Plate your spaghetti squash or pasta. Add the vegan Bolognese, and top with your preferred toppings. I used about 4 teaspoons of fresh basil and 4 teaspoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese per plate. Enjoy!


This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). If you have a weight management goal, this tempeh Bolognese can be a great fit! It’s high volume, low calorie, nutrient dense, and provides 22.9 grams of protein per serving. (Protein count is for the sauce only, not any pasta, squash noodles, or toppings you add.) 
You can add a whopping three cups of spaghetti squash to this meal while keeping this dinner under 500 calories. I also added side salads to our meal, using the following veggies to make three salads: 
  • 1 small head of lettuce 
  • 6 ounces of halved cherry tomatoes 
  • 2 ounces of chopped broccoli florets 
With a light (low oil) dressing, you can keep this meal at around 500 calories. Feel free to substitute any other non-starchy veggies you have kicking around for your salads. It’s an easy way to do a quick fridge clean out and add some more healthy veggies to your meal! 
By the way, I normally like to add more protein group foods to my meal than I have added here. If you like the taste of tempeh, feel free to add more and drop back on the mushrooms. 20 grams of protein tends to be the minimum I aim for in meals, but 25-30 grams is better. 
Nutrition information is for one serving of the sauce only, without pasta or toppings. Carbohydrates listed are net carbs (total carbs minus the fiber). There are 17.3 grams of fiber per serving of this sauce.


Calories: 374kcalCarbohydrates: 18.8gProtein: 22.9gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2.2gSodium: 593.9mgPotassium: 1629.2mgVitamin A: 115% DVVitamin C: 17.3% DVCalcium: 30.3% DVIron: 26.4% DV
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