This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

This plant-based tomato pasta sauce uses crumbled, ground tempeh to increase the protein content of the dish for a filling, nutritious weeknight meal! Recipe is vegan and easily made gluten-free.

closeupphoto of white bowl filled with zucchini noodle pasta and a tempeh mushroom tomato sauce mixed together

This post was originally published on 01.07.2019. It was updated with fresh images, helpful content, and a how-to video on 02.09.2021.

Have you tried tempeh before? It has a slightly meaty texture and taste, and crumbling it up into this vegan tomato sauce (in place of ground meat) tastes delicious and really increases the protein content of the meal!

A common misconception with plant-based eating is that you can’t get enough protein. As a dietitian, I can tell you that this is simply untrue!

Tempeh is one of my favourite protein sources, packing in a whopping 19 grams of complete protein in a 100-gram serving.

This healthy pasta recipe is such a fun and easy way to introduce a few more plants into your diet, whether you’re a strict vegan, a meat lover, or somewhere in between.

What’s more, this recipe is super easy to prepare and takes around 30 minutes. Simple, healthy weeknight dinner? Yes please 🙂

overhead photo of white bowl filled with zucchini noodle pasta and a tempeh mushroom tomato sauce

What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a traditional food from the Indonesian island, Java. It’s made from fermented whole soybeans and typically shaped in a “cake form.”

Tempeh is extremely versatile and can be prepared in many different ways – pan-fried, baked, marinated, and even crumbled like we have in this recipe!

One of my favourite sources of plant-based protein, this fermented soy product has a denser, firmer texture and a heartier, earthier taste to tofu.

Tempeh Nutrition Facts

Tempeh is a nutrient-dense, plant-based protein option! A 100 gram serving of tempeh packs in:

  • 19 grams of complete protein
  • 9 grams of carbohydrate (most of which is fibre!)
  • 11 grams of fat (mostly unsaturated)

In addition, tempeh is a great source of micronutrients like:

  • iron
  • calcium
  • vitamin B6
  • phosphorus
  • magnesium

Tempeh is also rich in beneficial prebiotic fibres, which help to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.

overhead photo of wood cutting bowl with bowls of ingredients on top to make a vegan pasta recipe

How To Crumble Tempeh

This vegan pasta sauce uses crumbled tempeh in place of ground beef! Crumbling tempeh is super easy – there are 3 ways to do it:

  1. Using your hands. Simply break off smaller chunks of tempeh and squeeze into crumbles – I typically do it this way for the least amount of clean up/equipment!
  2. Using a cheese grater
  3. Using a food processor
overhead photo of a grey bowl filled with crumbled, ground tempeh

How To Store & Reheat Recipe

Leftovers of this recipe will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Recipe Modifications

While this recipe tastes great as is, there are so many ways you can modify it to suit your needs. Here are some ideas!

  1. Instead of canned tomatoes and tomato paste, you can use a store-bought tomato sauce and add the other ingredients to it.
  2. You can add other vegetables in place of or in addition to the mushrooms, like spinach, kale, carrots, or bell peppers.
  3. You can skip the zucchini noodles if desired!
  4. You can use any type of pasta shape you’d like, although I suggest long noodles (like spaghetti, angel hair, or linguine) to go with the zucchini noodles. Be sure to choose a gluten-free alternative if needed.
  5. You can serve it with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (if plant-based), or some freshly grated parmesan if you eat dairy.
overhead photo of white bowl filled with zucchini noodle pasta and a tempeh mushroom tomato sauce mixed together

More Easy, Healthy Tempeh Recipes

Did you give this Tempeh Tomato Sauce Pasta Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!

Get the Recipe: Vegan Crumbled Tempeh Tomato Sauce Pasta

This plant-based tomato pasta sauce uses crumbled, ground tempeh to increase the protein content of the dish for a filling, nutritious weeknight meal! Recipe is vegan and easily made gluten-free.
closeupphoto of white bowl filled with zucchini noodle pasta and a tempeh mushroom tomato sauce mixed together
Print Pin
No ratings yet
Leave a Review

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti or other long pasta noodles (enough for 4 people)
  • 1 package tempeh (roughly 200g or 7 oz)
  • 2 med-small zucchinis
  • ~4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.
  • Meanwhile, slice mushrooms and mince garlic. Make zucchini noodles using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler. Set aside.
  • Using your hands, a food processor, or a cheese grater, crumble tempeh into a large bowl. The goal is to achieve a similar texture to ground meat!
  • Once water has boiled, add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  • Heat 2 large pans over medium heat. In 1 pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and minced garlic, cooking for 1-2 minutes until slightly browned. Add crumbled tempeh, tamari, thyme, and oregano and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • In the other pan, add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender, approx. 10 mins. 
  • Then, add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan with tempeh. Continue to cook for about 5 mins, stirring regularly.
  • When mushrooms are cooked, drain and add to the pan with the tempeh-tomato mixture. Add chopped fresh basil, salt, and pepper and stir together. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Drain pasta and return to cooking pot. Add zucchini noodles and pasta sauce, stirring together until the sauce coats the pasta and zucchini noodles.
  • Serve pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan or nutritional yeast as desired. Enjoy hot! 

Notes

*You do not have to cook the zucchini noodles! They maintain their texture best when added to the pasta raw. They will heat up and soften slightly when mixed with the other ingredients.
*STORAGE: Leftovers of this recipe will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
*MODIFICATIONS: While this recipe tastes great as is, there are so many ways you can modify it to suit your needs. Here are some ideas!
  • Instead of canned tomatoes and tomato paste, you can use a store-bought tomato sauce and add the other ingredients to it.
  • You can add other vegetables in place of or in addition to the mushrooms, like spinach, kale, carrots, or bell peppers.
  • You can skip the zucchini noodles if desired!
  • You can use any type of pasta shape you’d like. Be sure to choose a gluten-free alternative if needed.
  • You can serve it with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (if plant-based), or some freshly grated parmesan if you eat dairy.

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

Pin it for later:

pinterest graphic for vegan crumbled tempeh tomato sauce pasta recipe
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.