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Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

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This Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese is made with plant-powered ingredients and is hearty yet wholesome comfort food. And thanks to the Instant Pot, it’s an easy dish that’s great for weeknight dinners.
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 18 minutes
Total 48 minutes
5 from 4 votes

I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I love my Instant Pot. It makes cooking big meals so much easier. And it also makes healthy cooking so much easier. From soups and curries to lentils and grains, the Instant Pot can do it all. Well, most things.

Like pasta! Did you know you can make a one-pot pasta meal in the Instant Pot? That’s exactly what I did with this vegan bolognese pasta. If you don’t want to read and just want to watch the recipe in action, I’ve included the video below.

And if you want more than 90 incredible vegan Instant Pot recipes, be sure to order my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook!

And if you do want to read, I have to say that this is my new favorite weeknight meal. It’s healthy (if you don’t overdo it on the pasta), hearty, and it couldn’t be easier to make. After you brown the tofu and vegetables, you just layer in some pasta, marinara sauce, canned tomatoes and vegetable broth and let the Instant Pot do its magic.

Bolognese penne in a white bowl on white table.

I used penne pasta in my recipe on Youtube, but you can you use any medium-sized pasta shape you like.

Pappardelle noodles in bolognese sauce in white bowl on white table.

Tips for this recipe:

  1. Don’t skip out on pressing the tofu. Tofu has a lot of excess water, so your dish will be watery and less flavorful if you don’t remove that excess water.
  2. Be generous with the seasonings. Tofu is pretty bland on its own, so give it a helping hand with lots of spices. Feel free to use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. Just cook it along with the vegetables.
  3. If you want to beef up this dish even more (sans the beef), add a cup more of mushrooms.
  4. To calculate the exact the exact cooking time once you add all the ingredients, use the cooking time suggested on your boxed pasta, divide it by 2 and then subtract 1 (i.e., 12 ÷ 2 – 1 = 5 minutes). If the cook time range includes odd numbers (i.e., 7-9 minutes), round the smaller number down (i.e., to 6), divide it by 2, and then subtract 1 (i.e., 6 ÷ 2 – 1 = 2 minutes).
Overhead photo of pappardelle bolognese in a bowl with a fork on white table.

Big Vegan Flavor

Techniques and 150 recipes to master vegan cooking.

Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

5 from 4 votes
This Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese is made with plant-powered ingredients and is hearty yet wholesome comfort food. And thanks to the Instant Pot, it’s an easy dish that’s great for weeknight dinners.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian-Inspired
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 6


  • 1 (16-ounce) block of firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 )24-ounce) jar of marinara sauce (not chunky)
  • 32 ounces of vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound dried penne pasta (or other medium-sized pasta of choice)
  • Garnishes: flat-leaf parsley, minced & vegan parmesan cheese


  • Press the tofu for 30 minutes to remove the excess water (see video at 00:37 for instructions).
  • Turn on the Sauté function on the Instant Pot and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once hot, crumble in the tofu and the seasonings (chili powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and cayenne). Sauté until tofu begins to brown, approximately 4-6 minutes. Remove tofu from the Instant Pot and set aside.
  • Add 1 more tablespoon olive oil to the Instant Pot and add the diced onion, celery and mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes until softened, adding salt and pepper to season in the last minute of cooking.
  • Return the browned tofu to the Instant Pot. If needed, add a tablespoon of vegetable broth or water to deglaze any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pot.
  • On top of the tofu and cooked vegetables. Then add the pasta and vegetable broth, pushing the pasta down to make sure it is completely covered in liquid. Gently pour the marinara sauce, and diced tomatoes on top of the pasta but do not stir in (this helps prevent the tomatoes from scorching).
  • Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure for 5 minutes (see tips above to calculate the precise cooking time based on your pasta box cook time).
  • When the time is up, perform a quick pressure release and open the Instant Pot. Stir the pasta well and serve with vegan parmesan cheese and minced parsley.

Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 844mg | Potassium: 709mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 761IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 4mg

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5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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26 comments on Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

  1. Michael Smith

    yummy! Looks like there might be a typo to start number 5 though!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Michael, sorry! It should be pour the marinara sauce on top of the tofu.

      Have you had the chance to try the newer vegan bolognese recipe yet? That one’s a winner!

  2. JT

    Can someone please tell me how I can avoid getting the “Food burn” error message on my Instant Pot when making this recipe?

    It’s a great recipe. The first few times I made it, I had no problem. But the last couple of attempts, I get the “food burn” message and the instant pot ceases cooking, even though I am careful when adding the sauce and diced tomatoes. Thanks in advance.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi JT, you may want to add a bit of water to help not trigger the burn warning? Sorry to hear the recipe has been giving you trouble lately.

    2. Nissan

      JT – I had the same issue. Had to abandon this one.

  3. Anica

    All of Nisha’s recipes are delicious – our family just loves them! So much flavour!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Anica!


    I made this today, it was very tasty. I adapted it to what I had at home. I used whole wheat pasta and it turned out fine.

  5. Tkv64

    Has anyone made this without the instant pot? I’m visiting my father and have no access to the instant pot… I’ve made it several times at home and know that he would love it. Just wondering if there’s anything to tweak/time of cooking noodles, etc. Thanks – Tami

    1. K

      You can do steps 1 and 2 in a standard pan. Then, you can cook the pasta in water/broth in a pot per the pasta box’s directions and then combine with the sauce, which is what I do for prep. You’d want to combine the tofu and sauce in a pot for a couple minutes to heat it up.

  6. Kathy

    Thank you for this recipe. I just loved how easy it was and how great it taste. I will be using this one again.

  7. Shon S.

    I think I have made this dish once per week on average over the past six months! It is so good and really simple.

    Some changes I make that other might like too are…

    -Use fresh garlic
    -Dice fresh tomatoes instead of canned
    -Substitute green lentils for tofu, cook prior using Nisha’s instructions from her post on cooking lentils and then stir in once finished
    -Cook sliced Field Roast Italian sausage on stove then stir in once finished
    -Double the spices

  8. Rkia W.

    This was a hit for the entire family! My 8 and 4 year old loved it! And my 4 year old is super picky! This is on my list of remakes for sure! We went vegan 2 years ago, and it’s been hard getting the kids to switch over. Can’t lie, me too! My husband has been sticking with it though! It’s been hard to find something that doesn’t take all day to prep and the kids enjoy. This was a fantastic recipe to find that the whole family loves! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Jill Duncan

    Hi NishaI just Recently bought your cookbook. And the reason why I bought your cookbook was because I really loved this recipe. But when I went to look it up in the cookbook it was a totally different recipe. I was a little disappointed. Maybe they’re two different recipes I don’t know.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Jill! Thank you for buying my cookbook! I wanted to keep the recipes in the book exclusive to the book since people can find my recipes on Youtube and my blog for free! Plus, that’s generally what publishers require (my contract requires that at least 90% of the recipes be new content that’s not available elsewhere). I’m so happy you like this current bolognese recipe and you should continue making it if you like it, but the one in the book is also fantastic! Or, you can try one of the other 90 recipes :)

  10. Sylvia

    I used 3 cups, rather than 4 cups water and that was more than enough. Your photo shows peas, but there were none in the recipe (you might want to add that into the instructions). At first, I got a burn message with my Instant Pot (yes, I layered everything and followed your instructions). Fortunately, I own two liner pots, so I poured the contents of the pot into another liner and set it for 4 minutes. It worked fine, but the colors of the finished product are definitely not as vibrant as your lovely food photography shows. The recipe did taste good.

  11. cca

    This looks great – will do asap. I appreciate that your video is both simple + to the point yet also has gorgeous camera work!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Aww how sweet of you to say! I appreciate your sweet comment!

  12. Jason G

    Hey Nisha, loved the black beluga lentils recipe.I’m using whole wheat pasta for this. Is there anything I need to keep in mind to make the dish successful (will the cooking times or cooking formula vary for example)?
    Also I’d love to see more instant pot Indian recipes (oil free recipes would be amazing). Dutch oven recipes would be amazing too.
    You should definitely start a kickstarter to fund a cookbook. I’d buy it in heartbeat :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Jason! Thank you so much for your kind comment! A cookbook might be in the works so definitely stay tuned!
      For the instant pot pasta, I haven’t tried it with whole wheat pasta, but based on my online research, you should be able to use the same cook time calculation method listed in the post :) I wouldn’t cook pasta for more than 5 minutes in the instant pot though, as it will get mushy. Usually, I find 3-4 minutes to be the best. Hope that helps!

  13. Christina

    Hi Nisha,You asked for recipes we’d like to see: Make-ahead entrees I can pack in Tupperwares for the week would be great!Thank you!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hey Christina! Thanks for the feedback! I will definitely try to do more of that in the future. In the meantime, check out some of my easy recipes on Youtube that can be made ahead/stored for several days or the week!

  14. emily

    Great recipe!!! My noodles came out really soggy though and the dish was in a sea of tomato/veggie stock soup… anyone else have this issue??

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hey Emily! Thank you, but sorry to hear it was soggy. The cook time differs based on the type of pasta you use. Some pasta brands (and shapes) cook in a shorter period of time than others. Also, not sure if you used a different kind of pasta like whole-wheat, gluten-free, etc., but that would also affect the texture of the finished dish. And one last question – did you do a quick pressure release (i.e., release the pressure as soon as the timer is done?) If you didn’t and instead let the pressure release naturally, the Instant Pot will continue to cook the pasta and cause it to become soggy. Anyways, hope this helps a bit!

  15. Ela

    Your vegan bolognese looks so delicious, Nisha!! I love that you used an Instant Pot! I need to try your recipe :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thank you so much, Ela! Do you have an Instant pot?

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