Vegan Spaghetti with "Meat" Sauce | FoodByMaria Recipe

Vegan Comfort Food

The Best “Meat” Sauce for Vegan Spaghetti

Last Updated:

Prep

15 minutes

Cook

45 minutes

Yield

4-6

So, I did a thing and it turned out flipping fantastic. This “meat” sauce for vegan spaghetti 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 vegan spaghetti 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.

Why you’ll love this vegan spaghetti recipe: 

  • Plant-Based: It has the consistency of a bolognese sauce but without meat 
  • Ultimate Comfort Food: It’s so hardy and comforting. Who doesn’t love a big bowl of spaghetti?
  • Quick & Easy: This recipe is easy-to-make (make in just 1-hour) 
  • Good For You: The walnuts add a lot of health benefits to this dish (more on that below)

Ingredient Notes:

Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to make The Best “Meat” Sauce for Vegan Spaghetti.

Vegan spaghetti 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

… and seriously, the list goes on. Walnuts are so rich in flavor 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 fiber 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.

How to make vegan spaghetti: 

This recipe is incredibly easy to whip together, here’s how you do it: 

Ingredients in a bowl for vegan spaghetti

1. 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.

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

Walnut mixture for vegan spaghetti sauce in pot

3. 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.

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

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

6. 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 flavor-building step, so I highly suggest it if needed.

7. 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.

Ingredients in pot for vegan spaghetti meat sauce

8. 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.

Ingredients in pot for vegan spaghetti

9. 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 the mixture to a boil.

10. 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.

11. Enjoy with your favorite pasta, garnished with parsley and a side of garlic toast!

I promise this vegan spaghetti with “meat” sauce is going to blow your mind and become a family favorite 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!

FAQ and Expert Tips: 

What should my processed walnuts and mushrooms look like? 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 because you want a texture to your “meat” sauce.

What texture should my veggies be at? 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.

How long should I cook my sauce? 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. Always let red sauces cool before refrigerating.

Can I freeze this sauce? Yes! This sauce will freeze well for up to 3 months in a tightly sealed container.  

Yummy bowl of hot spaghetti with vegan meat sauce on top with a napkin and ready to eat.

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The Best Vegan Spaghetti

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

Description

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


Ingredients

Scale

4 servings spaghetti or pasta of choice

45 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

23 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.

Put 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!

YouTube video

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.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 484
  • Sugar: 12.6
  • Sodium: 290.5
  • Fat: 19.1
  • Saturated Fat: 2.2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10.4
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 68.1
  • Fiber: 9.1
  • Protein: 15.8

Keywords: free, lentils, mushroom, pasta, recipe, spaghetti, tomato, vegan meat sauce

Bre

Very flavorful, I loved the texture and hidden veggies in there. I didn’t have celery so left that out and added 1C of red lentils (with water).

I used this recipe as one of my meal prep meals and am looking forward to this weeks dinners!

It will be in regular rotation, thank you!!

Maria Koutsogiannis

thank you so much!!!

Karen Acuna

Had tried other recipe yet this one is 5⭐. Flavourful and easy to make! I looved it,my kids and my carnivorous husband too. I had just a handful of Mushrooms unfortunately so had to substitute for Tofu, it was just as delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe

Maria Koutsogiannis

You are so welcome, I am so grateful you loved it!

Natasha

Oh my god! you outdid yourself in this one.
You’re a master!

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you! Wow!! So delicious right?!

Nancy Perry

What is vegetable stock paste?

Maria Koutsogiannis

it’s a vegetable stock paste, I use a brand called better than bouillon. If you don’t have it use vegetable stock in place of water!

Erica Abduelal

I had been waiting to try this recipe for a long time! We are a vegan family. Unfortunately, recently my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. Because of this diagnosis, I want to stay away from processed fake meats, of which my husband loves! My husband said it was delicious, served himself twice and so did my picky son. My only comment is that I could taste the clove and cinnamon, I will add less the next time I make. Aside from this, it was exactly what we needed and a perfect example that plant based dishes can still be hearty. Thank you Maria, you are my go to for quick delicious meals. I also love your app!

Maria Koutsogiannis

so glad he loved this recipe! sending your family love! Also, yes, just reduce if needed. Clove and cinnamon are traditional in greek meats sauces so I couldn’t make a sauce without them.. naturally!

Leslie

What if you can’t eat walnuts? Would you substitute something else? Thanks!

Maria Koutsogiannis

hey! I haven’t tested the recipe with anything else unfortunately, i am so sorry! walnuts are pretty vital to the recipe!

Leslie

Ok, thank you for your reply. I made this tonight without the walnuts and we really enjoyed it. I’m sure it’s even better with, than without.

Maria Koutsogiannis

yay!!! so glad you still loved it, friend! Thanks for the love!

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