3 min Read

Vegan Sausage Bolognese

dish of rich tomatoey vegan sausage bolognese

Before going plant-based, Sam Turnbull, creator of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, would say her favourite pasta was a vegan sausage bolognese. And we’re all pleased that she’s been able to recreate this favourite dish to taste even better than the original! The tofu is dried in the oven and then stirred into the sauce to make an amazing chewy texture and the sautéed mushrooms add a juiciness working together to create the perfect meaty texture. But the key ingredient to this recipe is fennel seeds. Fennel seeds are commonly used in Italian sausage recipes—you will not believe how sausage-y this pasta tastes. 


2 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce (gluten-free if preferred)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, divided
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 block (12 oz/340 g) extra-firm tofu, drained (no need to press it)
1 lb (454 g) pasta of choice (gluten-free if preferred)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb (454 g) mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups (500 mL) homemade or store-bought tomato sauce
¼ cup (60 mL) tomato paste
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
Sunflower Parmesan or store-bought vegan Parm
Fresh basil leaves


1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. in a large bowl, mix together the soy sauce, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil, and paprika. Add the tofu—you can either crumble it into the bowl with your fingers or use a potato masher to break it up into small crumbles. stir to coat evenly in the marinade. spread the tofu crumbles evenly across the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35–45 minutes, stopping to stir once or twice, until the tofu crumbles have browned and some of them are crispy. While the tofu is baking, you can move onto the next steps.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

4. in a large skillet or pot, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook them until they darken and begin to release their juices, another 5–10 minutes. stir in the prepared tofu, the tomato sauce, tomato paste, fennel seeds, black pepper, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the tofu has softened a bit. Serve with the hot pasta with a garnish of sunflower parmesan and basil.

Storing tip: This sauce stores beautifully and gets even more delicious the next day. Allow it to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Excerpted from Craving Vegan by Sam Turnbull. Copyright © 2023 Sam Turnbull. Photographs by Tanya Pilgram. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


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