Spaghetti Squash Bolognese - Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe! (2024)

This easy spaghetti squash bolognese is a vegan version of an Italian classic! Made with hearty quinoa, whole peeled tomatoes, and lentils served over a bed of tender spaghetti squash.

this recipe

Today I'm partnering with my friends from Tuttorosso to not only give you this cozy lentil bolognese recipe but also talk about canned tomatoes.

I've been using canned tomatoes my whole life. Growing up in an Italian family, my mom (and grandmother) would make spaghetti sauce from scratch all the time. Without giving away our secret recipe, the base is a blend of a bunch of different types of canned tomatoes – sauce, paste, diced and crushed – so while I'm very familiar with those types, I do have to admit my knowledge of the whole peeled variety is somewhat lackluster.

This is why when Tuttorosso asked if I would be interested in being an ambassador, specifically talking about their whole peeled tomatoes, I jumped at the chance. Not only did I already love their tomatoes, but this was going to give me a chance to really explore how to use this type of tomato in my cooking.

Our first challenge? To compare the integrity of Tuttorosso tomatoes vs. Hunts tomatoes.

At first, this challenge sounded kind of silly, but as soon as I cracked open the cans I realized why we were doing this. If you're anything like me, then you've probably never thought about what the whole tomatoes look like when they come out of the can. So you can imagine my surprise when I poured out both cans and the difference was incredible.

Not only was the color a lot more vibrant, but it was how the actual tomatoes looked.

The Tuttorossoones were actually whole. I mean…what a novel concept, right? Whole peeled tomatoes that come out of the can WHOLE. Hunts on the other hand? Some were whole, but most were smashed.

It kind of makes you think, doesn't it? What's different about some canned products? So I started doing a little digging and what I came to discover was that, unlike other popular brands (like Hunts), Tuttorosso not only doesn't use preservatives, but their tomatoes are also sustainably produced, non-GMO verified, have no artificial colors or flavors, are allergen-free, are made in the US AND they're in non-BPA lined cans.

Given all that…I'm not surprised their tomatoes were in way better shape. (and that they also tasted better)

When it got to cooking with them, I wanted to try something a little different than I'm used to. I was initially thinking a stew, but I got pulled back to my Italian roots and decided on a vegan spaghetti squash bolognese instead. The beauty of this sauce is you only need one can of tomatoes and it's packed with veggies. The base is tomatoes, carrots and shallots and the “meatiness” comes in the form of lentils and quinoa.

Similarly to my chilis, adding quinoa to the sauce helps it thicken it, but also provides the illusion of ground meet. Plant-based, high in protein and looks like a meat sauce? Perfection.

Also, I like my sauces super thick, so rather than using tomato paste, I decided to puree some of the tomatoes with the carrot-shallot mixture. This helped make the bolognese hearty, but still light because it was only vegetables. I'm sure that you could customize this sauce with any leftover vegetables, too, like pureed roasted winter veggies.

OH annnnnd to keep it as light as possible, we're serving this beaut over spaghetti squash.

If you haven't discovered spaghetti squash yet, this lentil bolognese is probably one of the best trials. Because for those who are a little wary of the sqaushy flavor (like Matt), the sauce masks the flavor every so slightly and the spaghetti squash ends up really just acting as a serving vessel rather than the main focus of the meal.

On the flip side though, if you already love spaghetti squash (like, hello…me!), then there's not much to explain, right?Meaty tomato sauce + spaghetti squash = dinner gold 🙂

Although my Italian side of the family would (and probablywill) be slightly horrified to read that I made a bolognese sauce sansground meat and red wine, I will say, I'm totallydigging it. In fact, it really couldn't be more up my alley these days.

I'm really enjoying turning my meals into meatless adventures and honestly feel like the more beans I'm eating, the better I'm feeling (more on that whole situation later). For now, it's all about having simple, easy and affordable meals that we can make in a snapand stillenjoy just as much as if there were meat inside.

Your turn…

What do you think about trying to make healthier, meatless meals a few days per week? If your family hasn't started doing this, is there something stopping you? And if you have, what are your favorite meals? I'm always looking for a weeknight meal inspiration, so please share any of your favorite recipes below!

And don't forget about the tomato test! I'm definitely planning to apply these principles across all my canned goods – making sure that if I'm buying canned it's the highest quality possible.

xx Alyssa

More incredible Tuttorosso Recipes to try

  • Spring Vegetable Quinoa Minestrone
  • Creamy Italian Quinoa Soup
  • Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
  • 30-Minute Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

4.6 from 21 votes

Easy spaghetti squash bolognese is a rich and tasty vegan version of an Italian classic! This meatless meal is filled with hearty quinoa, lentils, and juicy ripe tomatoes, served over a bed of tender spaghetti squash.

yield: 6 Servings

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese - Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe! (9)

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Prep: 10 minutes minutes

Cook: 18 minutes minutes

Total: 28 minutes minutes



  • Prepare the spaghetti squash according to this recipe/method. While spaghetti squash is roasting, make the sauce.

  • Drain the tomatoes from the can. Set 4 – 5 whole tomatoes aside and the chop remaining, reserving as much juice as possible.

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add carrots, shallots and garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Transfer carrot-shallot mixture to a blender along with whole tomatoes that you set aside. Add 1/4 cup of tomato juice from the can (also called the media) to the blender and puree on high until smooth. Return sauce to the skillet.

  • Stir in chopped tomatoes, remaining tomato juice/liquid, and the other remaining ingredients. Stir and allow to come to a small simmer. Allow mixture to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes to let the flavor develop, tasting and seasoning with salt and pepper about half way through.

  • When read to serve, scoop out spaghetti squash and transfer to plates. Top with sauce, fresh herbs, “cheese” and additional salt and pepper if desired. (you can also add crushed red pepper flakes if you like some heat)


Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 784mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 4090IU | Vitamin C: 17.9mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3.8mg

cuisine: Italian

course: Main Course


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Spaghetti Squash Bolognese - Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe! (10)

Filed Under:

  • Dairy Free
  • Dinner
  • Gluten-Free
  • Oven
  • Quick Recipes
  • Recipes
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

This post was sponsored by Tuttorosso, but all opinions are my own. As always, thank you for supporting the brands that I love and I hope you try their tomatoes– I'm not even kidding when I tell you that the quality is out of this world (and the flavor is amazing!)

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese - Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe! (2024)


What can I use instead of meat in spaghetti bolognese? ›

There are many delicious and nutritious options to substitute for meat in spaghetti. Some popular choices include diced vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers, and zucchini, as well as plant-based protein sources like tofu, tempeh, or lentils.

What can I add to spaghetti bolognese to make it taste better? ›

6 Things That'll Make Your Spaghetti Bolognese Taste SO Much...
  1. Milk. Adding milk to Bolognese is actually a part of the traditional method. ...
  2. Sundried Tomatoes. I can't get enough of sundried toms, and I have been known to sneak a few straight from the jar (boujee snack alert). ...
  3. Anchovies. ...
  4. Wine. ...
  5. Porcini mushrooms. ...
  6. Sugar.
Nov 20, 2019

What can you add to spaghetti bolognese to bulk it out? ›

Ways to make mince meat stretch
  1. Use red lentils. Red lentils will soak up the liquid in a bolognese sauce and help thicken the mixture. ...
  2. Add pureed carrots. Kids and adults with an aversion to vegetables can spot grated carrots a mile away. ...
  3. Try grated zucchini. ...
  4. Add beans. ...
  5. Buy spinach. ...
  6. Add pearl barley. ...
  7. Use tomatoes.

Is spaghetti bolognese good for dinner? ›

Spaghetti bolognese, like this one makes for a very easy and healthy dinner. It's also perfect for freezing for later (those days when you don't want to cook) and a great leftover lunch. The issue is usually with the spaghetti itself.

What can I add to pasta instead of meat? ›

17 Vegetarian Versions of Your Favorite Meaty Pasta Dishes
  1. Lentil Bolognese With Spaghetti. ...
  2. Ricotta Zucchini “Meatballs” ...
  3. Easy Vegetable Lasagna. ...
  4. Creamy Spicy Vegan Sausage Pasta With Spinach. ...
  5. Pappardelle Pasta With Portobello Mushroom Ragu. ...
  6. Vegetarian Asparagus Carbonara With White Wine and Manchego. ...
  7. Vegan Meat Sauce.
Jan 25, 2019

What is the difference between spaghetti bolognese and spag bol? ›

A Bolognese - actually Alla Bolognese, meaning in the style of Bologna - is a pasta dish served with a ragu of beef and pancetta. The Italians usually make it with a fresh pasta like tagliatelle, fettucine or pap... It is Spag BOL, actually, and it is an easy term of reference, that is all.

How do you pimp up spaghetti bolognese? ›

Next, add the staples that no good Bolognese is without

"Finely chopped carrots, celery and onions. I know it doesn't sound like it, but these are the things that give proper depth of flavour." "Crisp up some bacon or pancetta first. If you want a bit of a spiciness then chorizo also works well.

How does Gordon Ramsay make the best spaghetti bolognese? ›

Recipe For Gordon Ramsay's Spaghetti Bolognese
  1. Meat. • 1/2 lb Ground beef.
  2. Produce. • 1 Carrot. • 2 cloves Garlic. • 1 Onion. ...
  3. Canned Goods. • 2 tbsp Tomato puree.
  4. Baking & Spices. • 1 tsp Black pepper. • 1 tsp Salt.
  5. Oils & Vinegars. • 2 tbsp Oil.
  6. Dairy. • 1/2 cup Whole milk.
  7. Beer, Wine & Liquor. • 2 tbsp Red wine.

How do you add depth to spaghetti bolognese? ›

You can cheat in more flavour by “seasoning” the tomatoes with a little sugar and lemon juice now too. During cooking, you can further improve your meat sauce by adding other flavourings to boost complexity; a splash of worcestershire or even some soy which are both especially good with beef mince.

Why put milk in spaghetti bolognese? ›

According to our Food Director Amira, not only does milk add a rich flavour to the bolognese, but it also “helps cut through the acidity of the tomatoes and red wine”. She adds: “It also makes the mince meat nice and tender, creating that melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.”

What to add to jarred bolognese sauce? ›

13 Ways to Make Any Jarred Pasta Sauce Better
  1. Start with the right pasta and sauce. ...
  2. Season with dried herbs. ...
  3. Or flavor with fresh herb sprigs. ...
  4. Double up on tomato goodness. ...
  5. Add more garlic and/or onions. ...
  6. Sweeten and thicken with squash purée. ...
  7. Punch things up with a pinch of chili flakes. ...
  8. Try this secret ingredient.
Dec 9, 2022

Should you put sugar in spaghetti bolognese? ›

Why should you add sugar to your spaghetti sauce? If the tomatoes are too acidic or you add wine to the sauce, and you don't plan on cooking it for hours like an authentic Sunday Sauce, then a teaspoon of sugar can help reduce the acidity.

What do Italians eat with bolognese? ›

In Bologna ragù is traditionally paired and served with tagliatelle made with eggs and northern Italy's soft wheat flour. Acceptable alternatives to fresh tagliatelle include other broad flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine, and tube shapes, such as rigatoni and penne.

What do Italians eat bolognese sauce with? ›

Take bolognese; you might be used to eating it with spaghetti, but no self-respecting Italian would ever serve a meaty ragú like this with such a thin pasta shape. Substantial sauces call for substantial pasta shapes, so a wider, flatter shape like tagliatelle or pappardelle is more appropriate.

Why put Worcestershire sauce in spaghetti sauce? ›

Whether you can pronounce it or not, Worcestershire sauce is an easy, effective way to load up spaghetti sauce with umami flavor. It is salty, tangy, and has lots of potent vinegar, all of which cut through tomatoes to create a soothing, savory flavor.

Does bolognese have to have meat? ›

No, Bolognese is a meat sauce by definition. There are lots of similar sauces that don't include meat, though, like Marinara. If you Google “vegetarian Bolognese” there are some recipes for **similar** sauces without meat, but technically it's not Bolognese if it doesn't have meat in it.

Does spaghetti bolognese always have meat? ›

In all of the recipes, meats dominate as the principal ingredient, while tomatoes, in one form or another, are only an auxiliary ingredient.

Does bolognese always have meat? ›

Bolognese sauce is a ragù, or meat based, sauce that typically contains ground meat, a soffritto of carrots, celery, and onions, tomatoes or tomato paste, white wine, and milk. There is no bologna in the sauce, but, like the meat, its name is associated with the Italian city of Bologna.

How do you add protein to spaghetti without meat? ›

Vegetarians – Fill up on protein by adding in protein-rich plant foods. Some of the best sources in the plant world include beans, legumes, lentils, soy like tofu or edamame, seeds and nuts and some whole grains like quinoa.


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