Vegan Mushroom Bolognese Sauce
This quick and easy vegan mushroom bolognese recipe makes a delicious weeknight meal paired with your favourite pasta.
This vegetarian bolognese pasta sauce is perfect for serving over pasta for a quick, healthy meal!
There are lots of different ways to make a meatless version of traditional bolognese sauce. You can use tofu, walnuts, lentils or a plant-based meat alternative like Beyond or Impossible.
This version uses mushroom, carrot, onion, garlic and celery to add meaty texture without needing ground beef or a vegan meat substitute.
Though mushroom bolognese can be paired with any pasta shape, it works especially well with wide pasta shapes like pappardelle and tagliatialle, which are perfect for feeling a little fancy!
Whether you dress it up with fresh basil, parmesan cheese and glass of red wine or pile it over whatever pasta you’ve got in the pantry, this simple vegetable bolognese is a wonderful recipe for all occasions.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- You can use the base recipe for your own additions like walnuts, crumbled tofu or tempeh or plant-based ground meat.
- Wholesome and healthy.
- Quick and easy!
- Minimal prep time, 20 minutes of cooking time and just 9 ingredients.
- Pantry staple simple ingredients.
- Can be made in advance and frozen for quick meals.
- Serve with your favourite pasta, garlic bread and lentil meatballs for a hearty home-cooked meal the whole family will love.
- Vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and can be made oil-free.
- Mushroom: You can use white button mushroom, baby bella mushrooms, porcini mushrooms or cremini mushrooms. Try a mixture of various mushrooms for more flavour!
- Onion: White or yellow onion is suitable.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic not garlic powder.
- Olive Oil: This can be substituted with another cooking oil such as avocado oil.
- Fresh Thyme: Remove the leaves from the tough stem and finely chop, or substitute 1 tsp dried thyme. Italian seasoning would also work.
- Crushed Tomato: Use any canned crushed tomato you like. Canned diced tomato or fire-roasted diced tomato also works!
- Stock: You can use any vegetable broth or stock you like. Bouillon cubes or powder is also suitable.
This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.
Variations & Additions
- Add 1-2 tbsp tomato paste to the sauce for more depth of flavor.
- For additional herbs, you can add oregano, basil or Italian seasoning.
- You can mix and match various kinds of mushrooms such as shiitake mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, etc. instead of all white button mushrooms.
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce can help add more umami flavor the sauce. Add it when you add the stock and tomato.
Step 1. Start by cooking the mushrooms, onion and garlic with the olive oil in a skillet or large dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning.
Add a little splash of vegetable stock and deglaze the pan by scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom.
You may also want to bring a large pot of water to a boil now if you’re making pasta to go with your bolognese sauce.
Step 2. Add the carrots and celery. Mix them in and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Quick Tip: If you want to add 1-2 cups of cooked green, red or brown lentils, vegan ground meat or ground walnut, add that now as well. If you’re using walnuts, make sure they’re very finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor.
Step 3. Add the crushed tomato and vegetable stock. Stir well them simmer lightly over low to medium heat until the carrots are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Step 4. Once the carrots are tender, use an immersion blender and pulse the sauce a few times. You want to leave some texture but thicken the sauce.
You could also scoop 1-2 cups of the sauce into a blender or food processor, pulse a few times, then pour back in with the rest of the sauce.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have an immersion blender, that’s ok. This step is optional! If you’ll be skipping it, you can chop the veggies very finely and grate the carrot for the same effect.
Serve with your choice of pasta, topped with fresh herbs and grated parmesan cheese.
Yes. To freeze this sauce, let cool completely then transfer to a freezer safe container or bag. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the the fridge then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated to your preference.
You can reheat any leftovers in one large portion or single portions either on the stovetop in a saucepan or in the microwave. If the sauce is too thick for your preference after storing, adjust the consistency with a splash of stock.
Wide pasta shapes like tagliatelle, pappardelle and fettuccine work with bolognese sauce. If using a short pasta shape, try something with ridges like penne or rigatoni to help hold the sold.
That being said, you can use any pasta shape you have on hand such as spaghetti, bows or even macaroni.
Yes. The bolognese sauce itself is already gluten-free, just serve over any gluten-free pasta you enjoy!
- Let cool before storing.
- Fridge: The sauce will keep well for 5 days in the fridge. Let cool completely before covering and storing in a sealed container.
- Freezer: Let cool completely then transfer to a freezer safe container or bag. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the the fridge then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated to your preference
- Reheating: Reheat bolognese in one large portion or single portions on the stovetop in a saucepan or in the microwave until heated through. The sauce may thicken after storing, adjust the consistency with a splash of stock or water.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
This hearty vegan bolognese sauce is easy to make but still delivers on flavour and nutrition. Enjoy with pasta for a healthy, comforting meal that’s perfect for meatless monday or any night of the week.
- 500 g white button mushrooms, finely chopped (approx. 4 cups)
- 1 medium onion, diced (1 cups, 175 g)
- 2 cloves garlic (10 g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (25 g)
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from step and chopped
- pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (2 cups, 275 g)
- 2 celery stalks, washed and diced (1 cup 150 g)
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomato (796 ml)
- 1 cup vegetable stock (250 ml)
- salt and black pepper
- fresh parsley or basil, for serving
- Saute Mushroom, Onion & Garlic: In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, sauté mushrooms, onion and garlic until the mushrooms have cooked out and absorbed their liquid, approximately 6-7 minutes. Add a splash of stock to deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. You may also want to bring a large pot of water to a boil now if you’re making pasta to go with your bolognese sauce.
- Add Thyme, Carrot & Celery: Add the fresh thyme, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes, if using), cooking for another 3-5 minutes stirring often to avoid any chance of burning. Add a splash of stock to deglaze the pan again.
- Simmer Sauce: Stir in the stock and crushed tomatoes. Allow to simmer lightly for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Blend Sauce: When carrots are tender to the touch, pulse the bolognese a few times with an immersion blender to create a chunky texture and thicken the sauce. If you don’t have an immersion, add 3-4 scoops of the sauce to a blender or food processor, pulse a few times, then pour back in with the rest of the sauce.
- Season and Serve: Season with salt and pepper. Serve bolognese over your favourite cooked pasta, topped with fresh basil or parsley and vegan parmesan.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Let cool before covering and storing.
If you don’t have an immersion blender or want to skip the blending. Be sure to finely chop all veggies and grate the carrot.
You can use mixed fresh mushrooms such as cremini (baby bella), shiitake mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, etc. instead of all white button mushrooms.
- Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
- Calories: 137
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 20 g
- Protein: 6 g
Keywords: vegan bolognese, mushroom bolognese