Tempeh Bolognaise

Tempeh Bolognaise

Tempeh Bolognaise

Originating in Indonesia, tempeh is made by naturally culturing and fermenting whole soya beans. Tempeh is high in protein, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants. It is an excellent substitute for meat, particularly in this bolognaise recipe where its presence seamlessly blends, making it nearly indistinguishable from traditional meat. It can be mince really fine or left a little bit chunkier for a meatier texture.


Course Dinner, Lunch
Diet Child Friendly, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Pasta, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 6 - 8
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Total Time 2 hours


  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic finely chopped (40g)
  • 1 large onion finely diced (250g)
  • 1 medium carrot finely diced (150g)
  • 1 large celery stick finely diced (70g)
  • 4-5 tbsp fresh thyme leaves finely chopped (15g)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano or dried basil leaves
  • 10 g dried ceps: soak in boiling water for 30 mins then finely chop keep liquid
  • 200 g chestnut mushrooms finely chopped
  • 600 g tempeh grated
  • 200 ml red wine *opt
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree 60g
  • 2 x 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 250 ml vegetable stock 1 Kallo vegetable stock cube
  • 150 ml leftover mushroom water


  • Heat a large ovenproof saucepan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and garlic and gently cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and cook to transulent, approx 10 minutes. Add carrot, celery, thyme and oregano and gently cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • In a seperate wok/pan toss the mushrooms with a little oil, season and gently fry for approx 4-5 min (this helps bring out flavour of mushrooms) - cook in 1-2 batches if necessary. Add to onion mixture.
  • Toss the grated tempeh with a little olive oil, season and gently fry for 3-4 minutes, then add to main pot (again cook in batches depending on size of pan). Mix all ingredients together.
  • Add the red wine, stir for 1 minute. Next add tomato puree, canned tomatoes, stock and mushroom liquid. Bring to simmer and cover with lid. Transfer to oven for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
  • 15 minutes before serving, cook pasta of choice, or go low-carb and serve with courgettes or cabbage noodles.

Maggie's Tips

  • This bolognaise sauce can also be simmered over very low heat for same time as above.
  • Instead of tempeh use aduki beans, or beluga or puy lentils (dried or canned beans are ok)
  • If your kids are fussy about vegetables, grate or puree them really finely so they disappear into the sauce with cooking.
  • If omitting wine replace liquid with extra stock
  • Tempeh can also be cut into chunks and used as a meat substitute in stews, casseroles, curries, and hotpots.
  • You will find tempeh in the frozen section in your local HF store. Please try and source organic if possible.
Tempeh Bolognaise Ideas
  • Cottage pie: The bolognaise sauce may need to be reduced slightly to thicken it. Place the sauce in a deep casserole dish and top with vegan friendly mashed potatoes (regular or sweet). Cook in oven for 40 - 50 minutes at 160 - 180C until heated through and lightly golden on top.
  • Lasagne: The bolognaise sauce may need to be reduced slightly. Layer the sauce in deep dish, alternating with lasagne sheets, and top with a vegan cheese sauce (use soya or oat milk). Cook in oven for 40-50 minutes at 160 -180C until heated through and lightly golden on top.
  • Tempeh Moussaka: The bolognaise sauce may need to be reduced slightly to thicken it. Layer bolognaise sauce between cooked slices of aubergine and potato. Top with a vegan friendly cheese sauce. Cook in oven for 40 - 50 minutes at 160 - 180C until heated through and lightly golden on top.
  • Chilli Con Carne: Add 2 tsp chilli flakes and 2 tsp ground cumin at end of stage 1 and continue with instructions. Add 1-2 tins of aduki or kidney beans at end of stage 4, continue with instructions. Replace basil leaves with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal cous cous, or over baked potato. Alternatively add a quick hit of your favourite chilli sauce e.g.: sriracha.
  • Baked Potato: Bake unpeeled potatoes in oven as normal (roosters or marris pipers are best, or use sweet potato). Cut a cross on baked potato and squeeze some of contents out. Spoon the bolognaise sauce or chilli sauce over baked potato and top with vegan parmesan. Serve with green salad or veggies.
  • Make it beany!: Add 2 tins of drained aduki beans or black beans for a beany stew.
  • Savoury Tempeh Mince & Mash: Remember those childhood dinners your mum served up!. Serve tempeh bolognaise sauce over a vegan friendly mash with a side of green cabbage.
  • Vegan Pizza: Use as a vegan meat topping on pizza base
  • Vegan Tempeh Spring Rolls: Make using vegan friendly filo pastry. Lay single sheet of pastry flat on work table. Add a spoonful of cold bolognaise at one end of a filo sheet, in the centre. Roll the filo around the mince until halfway along the filo sheet, then fold each side of unfilled pastry into the centre. Continue rolling into a cylinder and brush with plant-based milk to seal. Place on a baking tray and brush with more milk. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheets and bake in oven till light and golden.
  • Vol au Vents (check vegan friendly): Follow baking instructions on vol au vents pack. Top with warmed bolognaise sauce and vegan parmesan and serve with a green salad or green veggies.
  • Use as a filling for: Tacos, tortilla wraps, collard/cabbage wraps, savoury pancakes/crepes, pitta filling, pizza topping etc.

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