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.

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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 245 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 Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Vegan
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
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

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!
Katie Torres

5 stars
How did you even come up with this recipe?? I am never buying pasta sauce again, this is so GOOD! I’ve only been vegan for 5 months and don’t really know how to cook flavorful meals from scratch completely without animal products, thank you so much for sharing this!

Maria Koutsogiannis

you are so welcome! hahah lots of practice! This recipe IS SOO GOOD

Nara

5 stars
So delicious and very easy to make . I have been feeling so uninspired in the kitchen this motivated me to start cooking again

Maria Koutsogiannis

That makes me so happy! Thanks for the love hun!

Sandra Boswell

What is passata?

Maria Koutsogiannis

Tomato sauce!

Veronica Espinoza

Can I use pecans instead of walnuts?

Maria Koutsogiannis

I actually haven’t tried that! It might taste a bit different but since the texture is so close I think it’ll work!

Linda Crawford

I thought the mushroom taste was too pronounced so I added olive oil and it was very good. My vegetarian dinner guest loved it.

Shon

This looks delicious. Question, can I add Italian seasoning and oregano to this recipe. I love these ingredients in my spaghetti?

ROBERT McMURTRY

5 stars
Excellent! My mom is a light eater, and for one rare time, she asked me for Seconds.

4.70 from 245 votes (145 ratings without comment)

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