Main Dishes

The Best Vegan Meat Sauce

Prep

15 minutes

Cook

45 minutes

Yield

4-6

So, I did a thing and it turned out flipping fantastic. This vegan meat sauce is going to knock your socks off. I promise. It tastes better than the real deal and I wish I was joking. It’s so easy to eat more plants and I just made it that much easier with this vegan meat sauce recipe. So you’re welcome ;)!

This recipe can be made in one pot, there’s no meat, and it’s using real ingredients that are accessible to everyone, and any dietary requirement you have in your household or at your next dinner party. This meal is as comforting as a homemade dinner by your grandma, and it’s perfect for fall.

The best vegan meat sauce

The secret ingredients

The two-star ingredients to this recipe are walnuts and mushrooms and they offer you a decent amount of protein so this vegan meat sauce recipe will fill you right up! Walnuts have so many great benefits. Walnuts are:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • A super plant source of Omega-3s
  • Helps decrease inflammation
  • Promotes a healthy gut
  • May help manage or prevent disease
  • Can help lower your blood sugar

The best vegan meat sauce!

… and seriously, the list goes on. Walnuts are so rich in flavour and they really compliment this recipe well by making it super flavourful. On top of that, I’ve also leaned on mushrooms for this recipe. Traditionally vegan meat sauces are made with lentils, but I really wanted to try something different with this recipe, and so many people struggle with digesting lentils. Mushrooms are packed with nutritional value too! They’re low in calories, a great source of fibre and protein, and are full of nutrients like B vitamins, selenium, potassium, copper, etc. I love mushrooms and in this recipe, they really compliment the walnuts and other ingredients well.

The best vegan meat sauce

A super easy recipe

This recipe is incredibly easy to whip together, and I’ve made it even easier by blending all the vegetables in a blender instead of having to cut them all up small. This literally takes less time to prep than most sauces, and it only creates a mess in your blender. Then all you have to do is pop it into a pan to cook it up for your spaghetti.

I promise this vegan meat sauce is going to blow your mind and become a family favourite this fall and winter. Nothing beats a bowl of pasta. It’s just one of the more warming, comforting, and family-friendly meals. I should also mention that this lasts for days in the fridge, and if you want, you can pre-make a big batch of this sauce ahead of time and freeze it for a later date! It’s really versatile and when you’re cooking with just vegetables the shelf life is way longer than meat products. Another added bonus!

Looking for other comforting meals to make this season? Here are some of my favs:

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The Best Vegan Meat Sauce

  • Author: Maria Koutsogiannis
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Description

This tasty vegan meat sauce is super easy to make, is one pot, and loaded with protein from walnuts and mushrooms versus typical lentils.


Ingredients

4 servings spaghetti or pasta of choice

4-5 cups assorted mushrooms, whole is fine as we will be processing them

1 heaping cup walnuts, raw, whole

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, rough chop

2 celery ribs, rough chop

3 medium-sized carrots, rough chop

4 large cloves of garlic, whole

1/2 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp cinnamon spice

1/2 tsp clove spice

2 tbsp. dry basil spice

1 tbsp. parsley spice

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 680ml bottle of passata – I used organic

2 tbsp. vegetable stock paste

2-3 cups boiling water

season to taste


Instructions

Into a food processor place 1/2 of the mushrooms and process until finely ground.  Remove mushrooms from the processor and repeat with the other 1/2 of mushrooms. See notes.

Into the food processor add your walnuts and process till finely ground.  Transfer walnuts to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Into a large soup pot add your olive oil and heat on medium-high heat for around 20 seconds before adding your mushroom and walnut mixture.  Cook for around 6-8 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has browned beautifully.

Into the same food processor add your onion, celery, carrots and garlic.  Process till finely ground.  See notes.

Remove the mushroom and walnut mixture from the pot and transfer to a bowl.

Into the same pot add your onion mixture and cook on medium heat for around 5-6 minutes, or until browned and fragrant.  If the mixture starts to sticks to the bottom of the pot simply add a little water bit by bit to help loosen the browned parts.  This is a flavour building step, so I highly suggest it if needed.

To the mixture add your chili flakes, cinnamon, clove, basil, parsley and bay leaf.  Stir till well combined.  Cook for around 1-2 more minutes.

Now, push the cooked onions mixture to the sides and makes room for the tomato paste.  Cook on its own for a minute or so or until browned. Once browned stir the tomato paste into the onion mixture and transfer your walnut and mushrooms to the pot.  See notes.

Stir till well combined, increase heat and add your passata and vegetable stock paste.  Cook for around 5 minutes before adding your water and bringing mixture to a boil.

Pot on your pot lid and simmer for around 25-30 minutes. See notes. Before serving taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.

Enjoy with your favourite pasta, garnished with parsley and a side of garlic toast!


Notes

When you process the mushrooms there will be larger chunks left as you process but don’t keep going.  You don’t want to over-process them.

When processing the carrots, celery and onion, garlic, you will likely want to over process.  A pulp texture is great but try to avoid a smoothie texture.

At this point, you could add red wine, 1 cup, deglaze for 5 minutes to remove alcohol and then add your passata.

The longer you cook the sauce, the better, but if you’re in a pinch for time 30 minutes is perfect! This sauce is even better the next day. Will freeze well, for up to 3 months in a tightly sealed container.  Always let red sauces cool before refrigerating.

Jessica Steed

Amazing!! I never thought I would be able to give up bolognese until trying this recipe. 100% a MUST

YESSS THANK YOU SO MUCH JESS! So glad you loved this recipe as much as we did!

Paul Tsiapos

Absolutely delicious!!
I made this for dinner tonight for my wife and I…
We both went in for seconds….sensational!!
This is, by far, The Best Vegan Meat Sauce.

There is plenty of left over…so we are already planning on using the sauce for nachos tomorrow night 🙊.

Give this recipe a try. It won’t disappoint!!

WOW! Thanks so much for the love, Paul. I am so incredibly happy you enjoyed this with your wife! I want some of those nachos! haha

Margot

Super yummie! I made a batch and using it for lasagna and pasta! I added some smoked paprika and it’s 👌🏻! Also added some soy cream to make a more creamy meaty pasta sauce! Love love love this recipe ❤️

OOOOO, this sounds awesome! These are awesome additions, thanks for sharing, Margot!!

Since going vegan 6 years ago this is THE BEST vegan meat sauce I have had. The texture is perfection.

oh, girl, you have no idea how happy this makes me!!!

Adam Sosnowski

This sauce is phenomenal. Made this for my non-vegan family and everyone loved it! Vegan or not this is a must-make.

WOW! This is amazing Adam. Thanks so much for the love!!!

Mirissa K.

This sauce is UNREAL. We’re not a plant-based home but had this and — OH, MY. Honestly, words won’t do it justice… You just need to get in your car right now, drive home, and make this immediately. Trust me. 🤤

AHH!! I am so glad you love this Mirissa. Next time make a big ol’ batch and freeze it! Always some for later 😉

@mama_benta

I made this sauce yesterday, and I am already thinking of making it again for some of my friends to try. Really good.
Mushrooms and walnuts combo makes it meaty like. My husband is meat eater, but he enjoyed this very much.

This is amazing, thank you so much for sharing! So glad you all enjoyed it, even the meat-eaters 😉

Celia Johnston

Insanely good recipe! I 100% recommend you give it a try. It looks and tastes like the real deal. Pretty sure this is going to become a staple in our household.

Yes CELIA!! This is amazing news. Please let us know if you try another recipe!!!

Celia Johnston

I need to update that review: It gets even better on day two. And it’s toddler approved which is pretty much the highest seal of approval you can receive.

YESSS!! This is amazing!!! So happy to hear it. Kids are almost the worst critics lol so this is the best!

Miri hackett

Such a wonderful sauce! Flavourful and love the use of the walnuts! Made loads too so some for freezing which is always a bonus! That’s for the best meat free Content Maria! Can’t wait to try something else!

You’re so welcome, Miri! Yes, please let us know what you make next time!!!

Kathleen G.

This sauce is SO GOOD. I used a combination of oyster, portobello, and shiitake mushrooms. Looking at it, it looks just like a meat sauce, but I feel so good about what’s inside. I prepped this for lunches this week and I’m so excited! Highly recommend this to anyone. Plus, it’s super easy with a food processor. Can’t wait to dig in!

Hey Kathleen! Thanks so much or the love! So glad you enjoyed this!

Andrea

Amazing! And it made a ton, which means I don’t have to cook for a few days! Haha!

Rita MacDonald

I tried this last night but I did not tell my teenagers there was no meat in the sauce. They LOVED it! My daughter who hates mushrooms, did not taste them. Win win!

THIS IS AMAZING!!! HEAR THAT MUSHROOM HATERS?!?! I can’t believe this. I am so happy!

Rebecca T

This was genuinely so delicious. I’m glad I found a recipe that used whole foods rather than mock meat. Plus it’s a great freezer dish for when winter hits this year. My partner made this for us and, while he managed to splatter sauce all over the kitchen making it, I wasn’t even mad because it was so good. Will be making again.

Rebecca, you have no idea how incredibly happy this makes me. Thanks so much for the love!

Emily potter

This was delicious and super easy! I loved the blending first of some of the ingredients, made the sauce so thick and amazing. Walnut and mushrooms as the meat is basically genius and so delicious. My little vegan baby loved it! And non vegan husband had seconds 🙂

YESSS! Emily, this makes me so happy. Your little baby boy is just the sweetest!!!! Thanks for the love xxxx

Monica

Thank you Maria for such an amazing tasting and easy to make sauce. Love the use of my food processor. I left the sauce simmering all afternoon. So GOOD!!! Plus the fact that it freezes well…bonus points!! Ate half for dinner and the other half is in the freezer for a rainy day.

yes!! this makes me so happy! Thank you Monica, so glad you enjoyed this!

Gabriela

I made this one last week and loved it. Hands down the best vegan meat sauce that I tried. I’m going to cook a big batch today and freeze it for future meals and I’m really excited.

Yessss Gabriela!!! That makes me so damn happy. Thanks so much for the love!!

Jessica Champion

Amazing sauce babe! I am so happy to be able to recreate your dishes with such easy. This is a simple but very nutritious and hearty ‘meat’ sauce that would satisfy anyone. I added a tiny bit of sugar as that’s what I always do to my tomatoe sauces.

Yes, that is a great addition! Thanks for letting me know. So glad you enjoyed this one love!

Jenny Millar

Amazing, simple, delicious and hearty! Loved this recipe, used it in a lasagna and worked perfectly, even the kids demolished it!

Yes, this is amazing Jenny! thanks for sharing the love with the whole family x

Alexis Mapes

This recipe is gold. The mushrooms and walnuts stew hardly discernible, for picky palettes. My husband, who enjoys a meaty bolognese, devoured this. The only departure from recipe was leaving out cloves, because I didn’t have any, and it didn’t seem to be missing anything.

Maria- you are a genius! Thank you for giving me creative and delicious ways to eat vegan.

You are the best, Alexis, thank you! We are so grateful that you enjoyed this recipe.

_kay.pea_

Absolutely phenomenal! I used an Italian seasoning blend I had on hand instead of straight basil and upped my bay leaves to 3 cause I love them! This recipe is golden..forever my go to spaghetti recipe!!

YESSS!!! What a huge compliment! Thanks so much for the love!

Noha abusha

My jaw is still on the floor omg this was incredible I’ve seen so many people posting about your recipe so I thought ide give it a go instead of my usual lentil Bolognase and let me tell u about my lentil bolognese and any other bolognese recipe out there (ACTUAL TRASH) I will never make another recipe ever again , you’re a freaking genius my lill kids absolutely loved it thank u so much for all your hard work and your time

WOWOWOOWWOO what an incredible review! You are the absolute best, thank you so much!!!!!!

Caroline C

Excellent recipe. I adapted it to my Thermomix and simplified it a little. It was perfect!

Yes, Caroline! Thanks so much for the love, this is amazing!

Tanya

Best sauce ever!! It is now on our supper rotation! My 7year old hates mushrooms so after he ate it I told him and he said “ I guess I like mushrooms now mom”😂 thanks for this amazing recipe, everything I try by you, Maria is a huge hit❤️

YESSSS!!!!!!!!!!! HE LOVES MUSHROOMS NOW, MOM!! THIS IS FREAKING AMAZING, I am so happy! Thank you Tanya for making my night!!

Anna

Hands down the best vegan Bolognese sauce ever. Thank you Maria for this incredible recipe!

You’re so welcome, Anna! Thanks for taking the time to review this recipe!

Is there another nut that could be used instead of walnuts? I am allergic to walnuts. This looks amazing. I do have cashews

I would try almonds! Pecans might work too! I don’t know if cashews are right for this one as they’ll get a bit too creamy!

Mahala rae

Another perfect recipe from Maria!
This is one for all the meat eaters too.

It’s truly amazing! Glad you love it too!

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