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Friday, May 28, 2021

Trader Joe's Vegan Bolognese Style Pasta Sauce

Funfact: when Sonia was young, her elementary school classmates emotionally scarred her by calling her "Sonia Bologna" on the playground. 

Another funfact: her husband would resurrect the nickname many years later, you know, just because. 

Yet another funfact: Sonia and her husband would enjoy a pasta sauce from her namesake city of Bologna even further into the future—in late May of 2021, just yesterday, in fact.

This is actually the second Bolognese sauce we've reviewed from Trader Joe's over the years. The first one was made with turkey. This one is made with "meatless plant-based crumbles." From what I've read, it's a sauce that's traditionally made with beef...but enough cows and octopuses have given their lives for the advancement of Trader Joe's brand online criticism this week. Time for a vegan option.

Although it's not really apparent in the picture, the sauce contains a fair amount of the meatless chunks mentioned above, along with plenty of veggie pieces, too. The pea protein-based crumbles flaunt a mouthfeel somewhere between an actual bite of ground beef and a very small cube of tofu. 

The sauce coats the pasta fairly evenly. While not super thick, it's chunky enough to remain hearty.

There's a rich, tomatoey flavor. The blend of spices is somewhat milder than I expected for an Italian-inspired pasta sauce. I remember tasting lots of fennel in the turkey Bolognese—almost as if it contained bits of black licorice. That's not the case here. The overall flavor is more oniony and garlicky, with notes of less pungent elements like basil and celery.

$3.99 for 18 oz of sauce, easily enough for dinner for two to four people. We ate ours atop some large spiral pasta and were pleasantly surprised. Might buy again.

Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. If you can find Botticelli vegan Bolognese sauce, give it a try. Jar size is 24 ounces and usually on sale for $2.99 - $3.99.

  2. One of my favorite TJ products.


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