Recipes > Seitan Bolognese

Seitan Bolognese


This plant-based ragù is made with seitan, and makes a hearty pairing for thick, hand-cut pasta, or added sauce to risotto.
  • Serves: 6 cups
  • Active Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Views: 28,758
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Prepare Your Mise en Place

Prepare Your Mise en Place
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 5.5-oz (162 ml) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


To prepare your mise en place, finely dice the onions, carrots and celery and mince the garlic. Deseed the tomatoes by pushing them through a food mill or passatutto. Measure out the tomato paste and olive oil and set aside.

Step 2: Cooking & Finishing the Bolognese

Cooking & Finishing the Bolognese
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup ground seitan
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 - 28-oz (796 ml) cans whole tomatoes
  • 8 basil leaves (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)


To start the sauce, heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Then add the oil, followed by the onions, carrots and celery. Next, add a pinch of salt and let the onions gently cook until they soften and just begin to turn a slight golden color. Allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions begin to stick and become translucent.

Add the seitan, garlic and thyme and continue to sauté until the mixture begins to stick. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Continue to cook until the wine evaporates.

Stir in the tomato paste and let it gently cook for a few minutes until it becomes a shade darker. Then add the deseeded tomatoes and a good pinch of salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

Once the sauce has finished cooking, turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. To give the sauce an Italian flair, torn, fresh basil can be added, along with a splash of olive oil to finish.

Step 3: Finishing the Sauce

Finishing the Sauce
  • 8 basil leaves (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)


Once the sauce has finished cooking, turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. To give the sauce an Italian flair, torn, fresh basil can be added, along with a splash of olive oil to finish.

Chef's Notes

Use this recipe as a hearty sauce on fresh papardelle noodles or as a comforting addition to risotto.

Ground seitan can be purchased at many health food shops. If buying whole pieces of seitan, or making your own, simply place in the food processor and grind to a fine mince. This can be then used for ‘meaty’ sauces, taco filling, and burgers.


  • Rebecca B
    Rebecca B
    I made this recipe today and then used the bolognese in the Rouxbe risotto recipe. It was great! However, I had a couple of questions about cooking with the seitan. I purchased an Italian flavored seitan at my local natural foods store. The flavors were not as intense as I am accustomed to in standard Italian sausage. In particular, I thought that the chili level was way too low and that the anise was under spiced. I corrected the chili level in the sauce at the end of cooking by adding about a teaspoon of sambal oeleck. I didn't add any dried fennel at the end of cooking as I was concerned it would taste too unbalanced. Do you have a brand recommendation that is more close in alignment with standard Italian Spicy sausage than the one that I used? If not, I will grind and add some fennel at the beginning of the cooking process so that I can compensate for the mild flavor of the pre-packaged seitan that I purchased. Also, I was wondering if the seitan absorbs some moisture in the cooking process? I cooked the sauce for 1/2 hour on medium low heat and it was more concentrated than I expected. I actually added back about 1/2 cup of water to soften the sauce. I really appreciate having access to these plant based recipes, while not a vegetarian or vegan, I enjoy learning how to work with less common ingredients, and also-- as in the case of this sauce -- having a healthier way to lower some of the animal fat from our diet while still maintaining flavor.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    It is hard to give any recommendations when it comes to these sorts of products as there are just so different suppliers (and taste buds) in the market. Personally, I have not found any that I really like. Especially when it comes to a particular flavor that I am seeking, such as an Italian or Chorizo sausage flavor. My best suggestion is that you make your own. Look up the ingredients in a good classic Italian sausage and then mimic those flavors/spices in the seitan sausage. Search Rouxbe for "seitan" for more ideas on doing this. Have fun experimenting with the process and report back as to how they turn out. Hope that helps. Cheers! p.s. so glad that you are enjoying all of the plant-based recipes. I seems as though you are cooking up a storm lately and it's great to see :-)
  • Rebecca B
    Rebecca B
    While I was browsing the recipes, I noticed one for making seitan with vital wheat gluten. I did buy some vital wheat gluten the same day that I bought the pre-packaged seitan. I wanted to get a jump on the recipe for this weekend as I can make several other dishes from this bolognese, freeing me up to do other things. I will try making a batch of the seitan within the next 2-3 weeks and see how that works out. So far, it seems like the seitan doesn't really add much flavor to the actual sauce, but maybe adding more spices to homemade seitan will help develop the flavors a bit more. Though I'm doing these recipes in an effort to have comfort food on hand without the high animal fat content, I'm thinking that I like the spices boosted up to balance out the lower fat version of this dish. Thank you
  • Emily S
    Emily S
    I used Gardein Beefless Ground, I was wondering if the sauce will freeze well with that product...
  • Kirk B
    Kirk B
    Hi Emily - Thanks so much for learning with Rouxbe. Indeed, you can freeze Gardein Beefless Ground for later use. Enjoy! Chef Kirk
  • Angela W
    Angela W
    If I made my own seitan, could I pulse it in the food processor and use it as crumbles for this recipe?
  • Lauren L
    Lauren L
    Hi Angela! Absolutely. Lauren
  • Pea L
    Pea L
    I love the BBQ braised seitan recipe here on Rouxbe and have made it several times, my family loves it! Would i use that seitan recipe / method to make the seitan crumbles for this recipe if i wanted to go the homemade route, or something simpler? Thank you!
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hello Pea- the Rouxbe recipe for seitan is my favorite. If you are short on time, the Upton seitan is very good. It will work well with the Bolognese and make a delicious meal. When I make the Rouxbe seitan, it crumbles well for sauces, tacos and the like. Thanks for writing. -Char

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