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A plate of vegan spaghetti

Easy Vegan Meat Sauce for Pasta

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Chewy, flavorful, and satisfying, this Easy Vegan Meat Sauce for Pasta will become a new household favorite.


Units Scale
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, optional (see note 1)
  • 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes (see note 2)
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes (see note 3)
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar (see note 4)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups TVP (textured vegetable protein) (see note 5)
  • 2 cups vegan beef broth or vegetable broth (see note 6)


  1. Cook the tomato paste: Heat a nonstick pot with tall sides (as the sauce tends to splatter) over medium high heat and add the tomato paste. Stir constantly while it cooks for about 30-60 seconds, then add olive oil if using. If using the oil, stir well for about a minute. If not, move onto the next step.
  2. Add tomatoes and spices: Add the whole peeled tomatoes, diced tomatoes, sugar, and spices. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer: Turn the heat down to around medium low to medium--keep it at a strong simmer--and cook for 10 minutes. You may want to cover with a splatter screen. Keep in mind if you cover it with a pot lid, the sauce may be a little thinner since not as much liquid is evaporating, but it will still keep your kitchen from getting messy! That’s why I like the splatter screen, hah.
  4. Rehydrate TVP: Add the TVP to a bowl and cover with the broth. Give a stir and soak for 10 minutes.
  5. Simmer a little more, blend if desired: Give it a good stir and replace the screen. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes are easily mashed with the back of your spoon. You may choose to blend with an immersion blender if you don’t want any chunky tomato bits, but we like to just mash any large chunks with the spoon. Much more satisfying this way in my opinion.
  6. Combine: Drain off any excess broth and add the rehydrated TVP to the tomato mixture in the pot. Let the whole thing come to heat. It should be *perfect*, but if you want the sauce to be thinner add a little water and if you want it to be thicker, cook it a little longer without a lid.
  7. Serve: Serve over freshly cooked pasta, with vegan garlic bread, or just let cool and freeze.
  8. Store: This TVP meat sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. It freezes very well, so it’s a great little recipe to rely on to stock your freezer with vegan lunches and dinners for later use.


  • Note 1: I like to add a splash of olive oil to the tomato paste for body, a little richness, and a complement to the acid of the tomato. However, feel free to skip if you are oil-free.
  • Note 2: Store-bought tomatoes often have little to no flavor. If you have homegrown tomatoes, by all means use those, but I sadly can’t grow any produce in my apartment, so canned it is. And canned is amazing if you can buy Cento San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, because they are THE BEST.
  • Note 3: More body and texture--this sauce is everything. I like to use Muir Glen diced tomatoes here, but any will do. Give fire roasted tomatoes a try for a smokier flavor.
  • Note 4: I use just a tablespoon of sugar here to balance the flavors. I use regular organic cane sugar (at least in the US, non-organic sugar is often processed through animal bone char), but any sweetener such as coconut sugar or agave should work.
  • Note 5: Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is our meat substitute here. You can purchase it online or from some grocery and health food stores. I can actually find it at my regional chain grocery store in the “Bob’s Red Mill” section. As a substitute, you could use lentils. Red lentils will become very mushy when cooked (so add near the end if that’s what you have), whereas brown or green lentils actually require more cooking time than this recipe allots. So if you’re using the brown or green lentils, I recommend pre cooking them and adding them near the end. You could also use a store-bought ground meat substitute like a pound of Beyond Meat Plant Based Grounds--just brown it in a pan first and set aside, then add back in for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking the sauce.
  • Note 6: The broth is for rehydrating the TVP (way more flavor than just doing it with water) and either vegan beef broth or vegetable broth will work. I prefer the vegan beef broth for this recipe--I love to use Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base and just mix it with hot water (1 teaspoon paste per cup) but bouillon cubes will also work. And if all you have is vegetable broth, that will work just fine.
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Ingredient
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

Keywords: Vegan Meat Sauce