This Slow Cooker Vegan Bolognese is easy to make and gets a ton of veggies into your picky eater without a fight. It’s an easy, healthy recipe that will take you less than 30 minutes to throw together. The best part is it gets a ton of veggies into your picky eater without a fight. And you can freeze it for later!
The recipe has plenty of vegetables which makes this a great easy dinner for vegetarians or vegans who are looking for something filling without too many calories involved. This is also an easy recipe, so if you’re new to the world of vegan slow cooking, this is a great place to start!
What is plant-based bolognese?
This sauce may look like its meaty namesake, but instead, it’s full of cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms, and carrots. It’s all vegan but has a great texture.
If you are an Instant Pot fan, get the IP version of this on Plant Based Instant Pot.
What’s the difference between Bolognese and spaghetti sauce?
Regular marinara sauce is tomato-based as this one is but it’s usually smooth while a bolognese sauce is chunky from meat. Our version gets its meaty texture from the grated vegetables.
What ingredients do you need for vegan bolognese pasta sauce?
In this recipe grate up cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, and eggplant then cook it with crushed tomatoes, minced garlic cloves, tomato paste, sweetener of your choice. balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil, and rosemary.
Want to save money?
I like to buy my cauliflower and eggplant at Trader Joe’s. Why? You pay per item and not per pound for most of the vegetables. I always walk out of there with the largest eggplant, butternut squash, or head of cauliflower that I can find.
Why you should make this recipe
This vegetarian bolognese recipe is quick and easy, with a healthy twist. It’s also vegan, so it’s always good to have on hand, so make sure to freeze the leftovers for meal another night.
How to make vegan bolognese
First, add the cauliflower florets to the food processor and pulse until it looks like couscous. Scrape out into your 4 or 5-quart slow cooker.
Now add the mushrooms to the food processor and pulse until small, then add those to the slow cooker. Repeat with carrots and eggplant, until all the veggies are minced and in the slow cooker.
Add everything else but the salt and pepper and cook on low for 8 hours.
When you add everything to your 4 or 5 quart crockpot, it may seem a little drier than you expect.
But as the veggies cook down, they will add more liquid, but if you like your sauce thinner, you can add some broth or a little water. I like mine super thick.
Before serving add salt and pepper to taste and add more oregano, basil or rosemary if you feel that the flavor faded some during cooking. I almost always add a little extra boost.
How do I serve vegan bolognese sauce
Serve over cooked chickpea pasta, al dente brown rice and quinoa pasta, spaghetti squash, or zoodles for a traditional pasta night.
Sometimes, I pour some sauce over a thick piece of whole grain toast or some crusty bread for a quick healthy meal.
Top with vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast to get that cheesy flavor.
I love using spaghetti because it reminds me of the spaghetti bolognese I ate it growing up, but I wouldn’t turn down a chunky shape like ziti or spirals either. Really any pasta type would work in this – use your favorite.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This freezes great so portion out enough for single servings and/or enough to feed
your family for one meal.
What else can I use in this bolognese sauce recipe instead of meat?
Traditional bolognese isn’t vegan, but there are tons of ways that you can veganize it. You can replace meat with any these:
- chopped mushroom mixture
- vegan ground like Gardein or Beyond Meat
- pressed and crumbled tofu
- crumbled tempeh or hempeh
- cooked brown lentils
- and any of the above could have some ground walnuts too
More vegan Italian recipes
- lentil bolognese
- vegan lasagna
- oregano pesto
- homemade vegan pasta recipe
- vegan pasta cheese sauce for mac and cheese
- air fryer pasta chips
Slow Cooker Vegan Bolognese
- 1/2 head cauliflower cut into rough florets
- 10 ounce container of mushrooms
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 cups eggplant chunks
- 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar or sweetener of your choice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the cauliflower florets to the food processor and pulse until it looks like couscous. Scrape out into your 4 or 5 quart slow cooker.
- Now add the mushrooms to the food processor and pulse until small, then add those to the slow cooker. Repeat with carrots and eggplant, until all the veggies are minced and in the slow cooker.
- Mix in the crushed tomatoes, garlic, tomato pastes, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil and rosemary. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
- Before serving add salt and pepper to taste and add more oregano, basil or rosemary if you feel that the flavor faded some during cooking. I almost always add a little extra boost.