Polenta Cakes with Tempeh Bolognese! Crispy polenta topped with a meaty, vegan ragu. Healthy comfort food! |

Crispy Polenta Cakes with Tempeh Bolognese

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main
  • Cuisine: Italian, Vegan


  • Polenta Cakes with Tempeh Bolognese! Crispy polenta topped with a meaty, vegan ragu. Healthy comfort food! 




Crispy Polenta Cakes 

  • 1 tube pre-cooked polenta, sliced into 1/2” circles 
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil 

Tempeh Bolognese

  • 1 (8 ounce) package tempeh 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, or more/less)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1 cup red wine (can sub vegetable broth) 
  • 1 (28 ounce can) crushed tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley 


  1. Make the bolognese. Using a box grater, crumble the tempeh to resemble crumbs. If you don’t have a box grater, finely chop the tempeh. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a dutch-oven or large stock-pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat for 5 minutes until translucent and slightly tender. Add in the tempeh and gently fry until crispy and slightly golden, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, carrots and celery and cook for an additional 5 minutes until vegetables are just softened. Stir in the dried herbs. 
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir constantly until the paste is mixed well into all the vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the red wine (or vegetable broth), using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned vegetable bits. Cook until most of the liquid has cooked off, about 4-5 minutes. 
  5. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring often, for 45-60 minutes until sauce is thick and reduced. Add in salt (I usually start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there) and stir in the parsley. 
  6. About 15 minutes before the bolognese is done, make the polenta cakes. Heat the oil in a  skillet over medium heat (I love my cast-iron). 
  7. Lightly dust the polenta circles in the flour, then add to the heated pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a plate, then serve with tempeh bolognese. Garnish with more parsley, if desired.