Vegan Spaghetti with "Meat" Sauce | FoodByMaria Recipe

Main Dishes

The Best “Meat” Sauce for Vegan Spaghetti

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Prep

15 minutes

Cook

45 minutes

Yield

4 -6

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.

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:

Is spaghetti vegan? Most spaghetti and pasta varieties are vegan. To be sure, check the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t contain eggs. You are, however, more likely to find eggs in fresh pasta vs. dried.

What is vegan spaghetti made of? Vegan spaghetti noodles are usually the same as regular spaghetti noodles, as long as they don’t contain eggs which most dried noodles don’t.

What can I use instead of meat in spaghetti? There are so many options. For this sauce recipe, I used walnuts and mushrooms that were processed to make them into small chunks. You can also use a vegan meat substitute, or omit the meat altogether.

How do vegans add protein to pasta? You can add protein by using a food processor to break up nuts like walnuts into small pieces and add them to your sauce, you can also use a meat substitute, or add in beans or your fav legumes.

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

4.70 from 241 votes
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.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free
Servings 4 -6
Calories 484 kcal

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 stalks 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
  • 1 680 ml 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.
  • 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!

Video

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: 6 | Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 68.1g | Protein: 15.8g | Fat: 19.1g | Saturated Fat: 2.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10.4g | Sodium: 290.5mg | Fiber: 9.1g | Sugar: 12.6g
Review This Recipe Let us know how it was!
Rebecca T

5 stars
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.

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

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!

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Andrea

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

Maria Koutsogiannis

YESSS THIS IS WHAT WE LIKE TO HEAR!!

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!

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Celia Johnston

5 stars
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.

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Celia Johnston

5 stars
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.

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Miri hackett

5 stars
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!

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

@mama_benta

4 stars
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.

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

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. 🤤

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

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.

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Zandra Thomson

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

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Kelly

5 stars
This recipe is so easy!!! Plus, it’s delicious!!! I actually hate mushrooms and I decided to try it anyways. Couldn’t taste fungi at all. Definitely going to make again and again and again. Thanks Maria 💙

Maria Koutsogiannis

You’re so welcome, Kelly! Thanks for the love xx

Jessica Steed

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

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Robin Hayes

Can you use almonds instead of walnuts for someone with a nut allergy?

Maria Koutsogiannis

I haven’t tried it with almonds but I feel like that would work ok! Please let me know how it goes!

Samantha

5 stars
Delicious and Different!
Thank you for sharing such a prize winner for this family!
Even my picky 6 year old loved it!
Finally I can make spaghetti with protein, rather then sauce and noodle.
This is going in my recipe book!

Maria Koutsogiannis

YESSSSS this makes me so happy, Samantha!

Brittany

5 stars
This recipe is insanely delicious. I can’t even believe how nutritious and healthy it is! The “meat” of this is literally walnuts, mushrooms, carrots, onions, celery…. I mean COME ON, how does it taste so good. Maria has done it again with such a fail proof easy to follow recipe. It did take some time to get everything washed, chopped, sautéed but soooo worth it. Next time I will double the batch and freeze it for easy reheating. Thank you for making eating plant based, vegan soo delicious, fun, and easy.

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you so much for the support and love, Brittany!!!!!!

Paul Tsiapos

5 stars
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!!

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

Marie

5 stars
This is the best sauce ever! I usually get about four dinners out of it when cooking for two people and make it extra spicy so that I can make it into tacos / burrito bowls as well as pasta sauce. Such an amazing all rounder recipe!

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you so much for the love, Marie

Marta

5 stars
This is, hands down, the BEST vegan meat sauce I ever had (and I cooked it myself, so there’s that extra sense of wow, I MADE THIS???). My boyfriend -claims he- hates walnuts but he devoured this every time I made it (still haven’t told him it has walnuts in it though). I find that it’s a much tastier and healthier option than the regular dehydrated soy bits commonly used as a minced meat substitute. Plenty of leftovers so you can get creative and use it on different mains. Oh, and that hint of cinnamon is da BOMB.

Maria Koutsogiannis

YESSS BABY GIRL! Thank you so much!

Natalie Ulaszonek

5 stars
This by far one of my fave things to whip up during the week. SO delicious!

Maria Koutsogiannis

YESSSS!! Natalie, thanks so much for the love! This is one of my favourite recipes, EVER!

Sarah

5 stars
This vegan meat sauce is literally a bomb! I’m not a vegan (but I don’t eat much meat) and I didn’t believe that a vegan meat sauce can be so mind blowing tasty – and it’s totally without any soy products! I totally recommend it, this is a must try! I think it’ll become a staple for us 😉 Thanks so much for sharing

Maria Koutsogiannis

YES! Thank you so much for the love Sarah!

Josephine

5 stars
This sauces is so satisfying. Great recipe!

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you so much! I love this sauce too!

Margot

5 stars
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 ❤️

Maria Koutsogiannis

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

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