This quick and easy vegan mushroom bolognese sauce makes a delicious weeknight meal paired with your favourite pasta.

Plate of vegan mushroom bolognese sauce over spaghetti topped with basil and parmesan. A fork rests on the plate and there's a fresh basil plant in the background.

This easy vegetarian bolognese sauce is perfect for serving over pasta for a quick, healthy meal!

There are lots of different ways to make a meatless bolognese sauce. You can use tofu, walnuts, lentils or a plant-based meat alternative like Beyond sausage. This version uses mushroom, carrot, onion, garlic and celery to make a hearty, meaty base without needing meat 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 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 vegetarian ground meat.
  • It’s wholesome and healthy.
  • It’s quick and easy! You’ll need minimal prep time, 20 minutes of cooking time and just 9 ingredients.
  • It’s made with budget-friendly pantry staples.
  • It can be made in advance and frozen for quick meals.
  • It can be served with your favourite pasta, garlic bread and lentil meatballs for a hearty home-cooked meal the whole family will love.
  • It’s vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and can be made oil-free.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Visual of all ingredients needed for making a vegan mushroom bolognese sauce. Each ingredient is labelled with text overlay.

Here are some notes on the ingredients and possible substitutions. Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.

  • 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.
  • Carrot: You’ll need 2 medium-sized carrots.
  • Celery: You’ll need 2 stalks of celery.
  • 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.

How to Make Mushroom Bolognese

Step 1. Start by cooking the mushrooms, onion and garlic with the olive oil in a skillet 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.

Diced mushrooms, onion and garlic cooking in a skillet on a small induction cooktop.

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.

Diced carrots and celery in a skillet with cooked mushrooms.

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.

Crushed tomatoes in a skillet with carrots, celery and diced mushrooms. Wooden spoon rests in skillet.

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.

Immersion blender in a pot of vegan mushroom bolognese sauce.

Serve with your choice of pasta, topped with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese.

Overhead view of a plate of spaghetti and bolognese sauce.

Recipe Tips & Notes

Serving

  • For a low-carb option, serve over zucchini noodles or carrot noodles.
  • Serve over your choice of cooked pasta.
  • Serve with fresh garlic bread or any other bread you enjoy for dipping.
  • Serve topped with fresh basil, vegan parmesan and/or vegan ricotta.
  • Pair with these lentil meatballs.
  • Bolognese sauce can also be used to make lasagna.

FAQs

Can you freeze vegan bolognese?

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.

How should I reheat bolognese?

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.

What’s the best pasta shape to serve with bolognese?

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.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes. The bolognese sauce itself is already gluten-free, just serve over any gluten-free pasta you enjoy!

Fork lifting spaghetti and mushroom bolognese sauce topped with basil from a small plate.

Storing Bolognese

  • 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.

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Overhead view of a plate of spaghetti and bolognese sauce.

Vegan Bolognese Sauce

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This hearty vegan mushroom bolognese is easy to make but still delivers on flavour and nutrition. Enjoy with pasta for a healthy, comforting meal that’s perfect any night of the week.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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 (or 1 tsp dry) 
  • 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 pepper
  • fresh parsley or basil, for serving

Instructions

  1. Saute Mushroom, Onion & Garlic: In a medium sized saucepan, 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.
  2. Add Thyme, Carrot & Celery: Add the fresh thyme, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt and pepper, cooking for another 3-5 minutes stirring often to avoid any chance of burning. Add a splash of stock to deglaze the pan again.
  3. Simmer Sauce: Stir in the stock and crushed tomatoes. Allow to simmer lightly for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. 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.
  5. Season and Serve: Season with salt and pepper. Serve bolognese over your favourite cooked pasta, topped with fresh basil or parsley and vegan parmesan.

Notes

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.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 137
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Protein: 6 g

Keywords: vegan bolognese, mushroom bolognese