Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

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Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

Forget those heavily-processed mock meats – it’s all about mushrooms. Super versatile, super healthy, and with just the right texture, mushrooms are the original meat replacer. We’ve used them as taco meat and a base for veggie burgers, and you can bet this won’t be the last time you see mushrooms on One Ingredient Chef!

A bolognese sauce (ragù) is typically made with various types of ground meat, but ground mushrooms with some herbs, plus lots of tomatoes and veggies, create the perfect substitute. This is one of my all-time favorite pasta sauces.

As with all cooking, love is the biggest component of this sauce. Good ingredients? Skills in the kitchen? Experience? None of that matters if you don’t have love for the food you’re making and the people who will be eating it. Never is that more true than with an Italian pasta sauce. As always, I’ve provided the ingredients and recipe below, but this sauce is all about feel. You don’t have to use the exact amounts listed in the exact order – use your instincts and follow your heart to make this sauce your own.

Makes 4 servings


  • 14 oz. mushrooms of any kind
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 small white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

Step One

Make friends with your food processor, you’ll be using it a lot. First, pulse the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic until everything is very-finely processed into small chunks, like a super-fine mirepoix. [Note: it helps everything process evenly if you cut the veggies into pieces before adding them to the processor.] Add this mixture to a large skillet with a splash of water.

Next, pulse the mushrooms by themselves until they become ground like the meat of a typical bolognese. Add these to the pan of mirepoix and turn up the heat to brown all the ingredients in the pan. Finally, pulse the entire can of diced tomatoes a few times to break up any large chunks. Add these to the pan. Let this cook for 5 minutes.

Step Two

Add the remaining ingredients – tomato sauce, tomato paste, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Take a break and allow this sauce to cook for at least 30 minutes – 45 is even better. As it gets closer to being finished, boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti according to package instructions.

Give the sauce a final taste and adjust any ingredients as needed – don’t be shy to add more spices. Drain the spaghetti and top with a generous spoonful of the sauce.

Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

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 Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

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  1. Making this now, but, why is 3 cloves of garlic listed twice? I’m assuming it’s an error and I’m leaving it at just the 3 cloves unless you tell me otherwise. Thanks! PS. Smells wonderful!

  2. I feel the same way, but, I wasn’t sure the rest of the family would feel the love for the 6 cloves!

  3. Andrew, Fabulous recipe! 5 out of 5 stars! I will most certainly make this again….it reminded me of my mom’s spaghetti sauce she made every Sunday back in the day. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  4. Excited to try this! Mushrooms are mentioned twice though, is that accurate?

  5. Would fresh tomatoes work just as well as tomatoes in a can? Should the seeds be removed, if so?

    -Newbie ;)

    • I’m sure fresh tomatoes would work, the taste might be a little different, but it sounds fine! And no, you probably don’t need to remove anything: just add them to a food processor and pulse :)

  6. This recipe sounds go fresh and delicious! I love me a good vegetarian pasta sauce…Mmmm!


  7. Just a quick question. Do you think this would freeze well? It would be great to make up a batch and have it in the freezer for easy use during the week. Thanks!

    • Hmm, that does sound like a good idea. I’ve never tried freezing it, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work… Give it a shot! :)

      • Made some last night for dinner and put the rest in the freezer and it has frozen well! Looks like this will become a regular weekly meal for me.

  8. I am new to this eating style and am wondering why your recipe includes pasta as it is not a whole food. Would spaghetti squash be a better choice ??

    • Hi Donna, thanks for the question. By some standards pasta could be a whole food. Whole wheat pasta does, in fact, have nothing but one whole ingredient (wheat). Sure, it is processed flour for the pasta, but that’s the only way to eat wheat unless we just munch on the whole wheat berries themselves (not fun!). :)

      Yes, squash pasta is great too. I do have a recipe for that here:

  9. I decided to make this today and it came out great. I’ve recently went vegan and this was very first to try. It came out great. I actually paired mine with spaghetti squash and it was delicious. Even the rest of the family enjoyed it! Thanks so much.

  10. Andrew: Would you please describe what you mean in step one when you say ‘brown all the ingredients?’

    • Sure, Matt, good question. That basically just means to let all those ingredients cook in a skillet over fairly high heat for about 5 minutes. The onions especially will become slightly brown. Then, add the tomatoes and continue cooking.

      • I made the sauce last night for the 2nd time but last night I used my new food processor. I was very excited about my new toy :-) I found a good amount of water in the pan before adding the tomatoes (I used medium high heat). Is this to be expected? The onions didn’t really brown but the sauce was still fantastic.

        • Hey Matt, hmm… it shouldn’t be like overly “soupy” but a little liquid is okay. One thing I’ve found is that the more finely you process ingredients, the more liquid they release. Also, they will release water when cooking and that’s okay. As long as the final texture was right and it tasted good, that’s all that matters! :)

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