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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.

Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 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

25 Comments

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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. 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!

    • 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 🙂

  3. 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!

      • 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.

  4. 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 ??

  5. 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.

    • 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! 🙂

  6. Hi, I live in Australia and I’m wondering what you mean by tomato sauce? It’d be great to clarify how this is distinct to crushed tin tomatoes. In Aus, tomato sauce refers to ketchup. Thanks a lot!

    • Hey, that’s a good question. Tomato sauce as we refer to it, is sold in a can (or it can be made fresh) and it’s nothing more than a smooth, pureed sauce made from nothing but tomatoes. Hope that helps!

  7. To 5tace above –> the closest equivalent to north american ‘tomato sauce’ would ‘passata’ – in this case, probably the variant without the herbs already added! 😉

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