Tempeh Bolognese


Ah, tempeh meat sauce. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite comfort meals to make. I was supposed to make it with a spaghetti squash, but it was a cold, windy night when this was being tested in the kitchen and I just couldn’t resist good old (whole wheat) pasta. Don’t get me wrong – I’m usually a regular pasta kinda girl, but I gave Justin the option and this is what he chose. It’s been a few days and that poor spaghetti squash is still sitting on my counter.


Ingredients (makes 5 cups):

  • 2 packages/blocks of tempeh (8 oz each)
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 6 average sized garlic cloves, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 chia eggs*
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups of marinara sauce (See my recipe for marinara sauce below.)

* To make 2 chia eggs, mix 1/2 cup of water with 2 Tbsp of chia seeds. Stir every few minutes for at least 15 minutes until a gel is formed.


  1. Boil a few cups of water. Once boiling, add tempeh and let simmer for 10 minutes (I broke mine up into a few pieces.) This process makes the tempeh softer and easier to work with.
  2. Add the tempeh to a food processor/blender and mix.
  3. Place tempeh in a large bowl and add in all ingredients. Blend well.
  4. On medium high heat, add oil to a skillet/pan. Once hot, add tempeh mixture and use large spoon to flatten mixture across the pan. (See picture below.)
  5. Stir and repeat every 1-2 minutes for about 7-10 minutes, until enough of the mixture is browned.
  6. Add marinara sauce and mix well. Serve over pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash, etc!


While I was snapping away, my little sous chef was entertaining himself. So of course I needed to capture his adorableness.
While I was snapping away, my little sous chef was entertaining himself. So of course I needed to capture his adorableness.

Simple Marinara Sauce:

  • 2 cans (28 oz) crushed or whole peeled tomatoes (I use one of each.)
  • 3 Tbsp (roughly) of olive oil
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb of garlic, minced (about 3 heaping Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil (1 Tbsp dried to substitute)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • salt to taste

Steps for sauce:

  1. Add oil to a large pot on medium high heat.
  2. Once hot, add onions and sauté for about 3-5 minutes or until translucent.
  3. Add minced garlic and continuously stir for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, bring to a simmer. Use a serving spoon to break up whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes).
  6. Serve immediately, or let simmer for up to an hour to thicken.


Author: Balanced Bella

Hi, I'm Jaime and I am the recipe tester, photographer, and writer at balanced bella! All my recipes are vegan, gluten free, and 100% delicious!

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