This mushroom ragu is an easy and versatile meatless alternative to Bolognese sauce, and it’s excellent for an everyday family dinner as you can make it in just over 30 minutes with simple, affordable ingredients.

It’s a quick, rich, and tasty mushroom bolognese that goes perfectly with spaghetti, fettuccine, on top of polenta, or in a lasagna.

Mushroom bolognese in a bowl

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With this mushroom ragu, we wanted to make a quick and easy sauce without the need to simmer for a long time, like a traditional meat-based ragu.

We also wanted it packed with flavor, umami, and overall richness without using unusual ingredients that we don’t keep in our pantry.

Finally, we wanted it to be healthy – without heavy cream, butter, beef, or pork – although we like adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on the pasta.

The result is a recipe you can make with simple and affordable ingredients such as mushroom, olive oil, onion, celery, carrot, rosemary, tomato paste, salt, and pepper.

This has become our go-to quick dinner sauce when we feel like eating an earthy and flavorful pasta dish.

We still can’t believe how a few ingredients like this can produce such a tasty sauce.

The mushrooms bolognese is delicious with tagliatelle, spaghetti, or any pasta; but it’s also great on tacos, wraps, lasagna, creamy polenta, gnocchi, or simply on a slice of toasted bread.

Mushroom Bolognese with fork

Ingredients

ingredients for mushroom ragu

Mushrooms

We tested this mushroom ragù recipe with the cheapest fresh mushrooms we could find at the supermarket, and it turned out incredible.

So feel free to use white button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms. For extra flavor, you can add a few fresh shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, wild mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, or portobello mushrooms.

Olive oil

Use extra virgin olive oil to make the flavor base where you’ll cook the mushrooms. It adds a ton of flavor to this recipe, and it’s essential.

Onion, celery, carrot, and garlic

When cooked in olive oil for five to eight minutes, these veggies add an incredible amount of flavor to the ragu.

You can use white or yellow onion.

Tomato paste

Tomato paste (the thick one that comes in a tube) adds umami. Umami is that savory taste that makes the sauce feel rich and flavorful. It’s absolutely essential in this recipe, especially because we don’t use any other canned tomatoes.

Since tomato paste is concentrated in flavor, it allows us to make this sauce in a short time.

Herbs

Add sturdy herbs like fresh rosemary, bay leaves, sage, or fresh thyme to simmer in the sauce (we use rosemary and bay leaves).

If you serve the mushroom ragu with pasta, you can sprinkle it with chopped parsley or a few fresh basil leaves.

Salt and pepper

Season the sauce with sea salt or kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

Pasta

Like traditional bolognese sauce, mushrooms bolognese is delicious with tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, spaghetti, and linguine. It also goes well with rigatoni, penne, and other short pasta types.

Parmesan cheese

If you serve mushroom bolognese with polenta, gnocchi, and pasta, you can sprinkle it with some grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano) or with some dairy-free cheese if you want to keep the recipe vegan.

Mushroom Bolognese with parmesan

Instructions

Make flavor base

Finely chop celery, carrot, and onion. You can do so with a chef’s knife or a food processor.

Blending the onion, celery and carrot

If you use a food processor, pulse the veggies until coarsely chopped. Don’t blend continuously, or you’ll risk overprocessing the veggies.

blended soffritto

In a large skillet or dutch oven, warm up the olive oil.

Add the chopped celery, carrot, and onion and fry them gently for 5 to 8 minutes.

Add tomato paste, grated garlic, rosemary, and bay leaves, stir and fry for another 3 minutes or until the tomato paste turns darker.

Tip: these first steps are essential to building a solid flavor base that will make your mushrooms ragu earthy and rich.

adding tomato paste

Add mushrooms

Coarsely chop the mushrooms. You can do so on a cutting board with a chef’s knife or a food processor.

blending mushrooms

If you use a food processor, pulse a few mushrooms in 3 or 4 batches. You want a coarse texture.

Blending in batches ensures the mushrooms at the bottom of the food processor won’t get mushy and over-processed.

blended mushrooms

Transfer the chopped mushrooms onto the pan, season with salt and black pepper, and cook on medium-high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the water content of your mushrooms. Stir occasionally.

adding mushrooms

The mushrooms will release their liquid at first. Keep cooking them until the water is gone, and a few minutes passed that. You want a thick, rich, creamy mushroom sauce.

mushroom sauce in skillet

Toss pasta

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Reserve one cup of pasta water, drain it when al dente, and toss it in the pan with the mushroom ragu.

Add a ladleful of pasta cooking water, finish cooking on medium heat for a few seconds, and serve immediately.

Adding pasta to the bolognese

Spoon some sauce on top, sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and optionally with grated parmesan cheese.

Mushroom Bolognese with a fork

Serving suggestions

As a meatless pasta sauce with lasagna, pasta, pasta bakes, polenta, gnocchi, rice, or cauliflower rice. Serve with fresh greens such as:

As filling in tacos, wraps, and burritos. Serve it with your favorite condiment, such as:

Variations

Tempeh bolognese

tempeh bolognese

Replace the mushrooms with about 14 oz (400g) of tempeh. Crumble the tempeh with your hands, add it to the flavor base instead of the mushrooms, add one bottle of tomato puree (24 ounces or 700 grams), and keep cooking as instructed in the recipe.

Check out our tempeh bolognese recipe.

Lentil bolognese

lentil bolognese with tagliatelle

Lentils bolognese is as delicious and nutritious as a pasta sauce gets. Also, it pairs well with any pasta type. We even use this sauce on top of tacos, with tortilla wraps, or as a topping on roasted veggies.

Check out our lentil bolognese recipe.

Tofu Bolognese

tofu bolognese on spaghetti

Nutritious, protein-packed, and satiating, our tofu bolognese is super easy to make with crumbled tofu. It’s perfect as an easy dinner for the whole family.

Check out our tofu bolognese recipe.

Red lentil bolognese

Replace the mushrooms in the recipe with 2 cups (400g) of red lentils, then add one 15-ounce (400 grams) can of crushed tomatoes and 2 to 3 cups vegetable broth.

It’ll take about 30 minutes for the lentils to be ready.

Textured vegetable protein (TVP) bolognese

Replace the mushrooms with 3 to 4 cups (300 to 400 grams) of TVP. Add TVP to the flavor base instead of the mushrooms, add one bottle of tomato puree (24 ounces or 700 grams), and keep cooking as instructed in the recipe.

Chickpea Bolognese

Replace the mushrooms with about 2 cups (400 g) of rinsed canned chickpeas. Add the chickpeas to the flavor base, add one bottle of tomato puree (24 ounces or 700 grams), and keep cooking as instructed in the recipe.

Storage

Refrigerator: store leftover mushroom ragù in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. When ready to use it, add it to a skillet with a ladleful of pasta water, warm it up, then toss it with pasta.

Freezer: you can freeze mushroom bolognese in freezer bags or an airtight container for up to three months. When you want to use it, take it out of the freezer and warm it up in a pot with a dash of water until hot. You can also reheat it in a microwave.

Questions

What to serve with mushroom ragu?

You can eat this vegan sauce with your favorite pasta type. Of course, spaghetti or other types of long pasta are perfect for this sauce, but short pasta shapes work well too.

You can also use this mushroom ragu for lasagna, combined with our easy white sauce.

Also, this sauce works perfectly on top of polenta or with gnocchi. We even use it on tacos, in wraps, and on top of roasted vegetables.

Can I prepare mushroom bolognese in advance?

Yes, you can prepare it in advance, even better. Letting the sauce cool down and rest for a few hours will increase its flavor. You can prepare this sauce up to 3 days in advance.mushroom bolognese ragu

More easy pasta recipes

If you love easy weeknight-friendly pasta meals, get fresh inspiration from these reader favorites:

More recipes with mushrooms

For more mushroom inspiration, check out these easy recipes with few ingredients:

For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.

Mushroom Bolognese and fork

Mushroom Ragu (Mushroom Bolognese)

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 23 votes
This mushroom ragu is an easy and versatile meatless alternative to Bolognese sauce, and it's excellent for an everyday family dinner as you can make it in just over 30 minutes with simple, affordable ingredients.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Course: Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine: American Italian

Equipment

  • Food processor or chef's knife to chop the mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary or thyme
  • 2 bay leaves or sage
  • cup tomato paste the thick one that comes in a tube
  • 2 pounds mushrooms white button, cremini, or mixed mushrooms
  • teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

SERVE WITH

  • 1 pound pasta
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese grated, or dairy-free cheese
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley chopped, or basil

Instructions 

MAKE FLAVOR BASE

  • Finely chop celerycarrot, and onion. You can do so with a chef's knife or a food processor.
    Blending the onion, celery and carrot
  • If you use a food processor, pulse the veggies until coarsely chopped. Don't blend continuously, or you'll risk overprocessing the veggies.
    blended soffritto
  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, warm up the olive oil.
    Add the chopped celerycarrot, and onion and fry them gently for 5 to 8 minutes.
    Add tomato pastegrated garlicrosemary, and bay leaves, stir and fry for another 3 minutes or until the tomato paste turns darker.
    adding tomato paste

ADD MUSHROOMS

  • Coarsely chop the mushrooms. You can do so on a cutting board with a chef's knife or a food processor.
    blending mushrooms
  • If you use a food processor, pulse a few mushrooms in 3 or 4 batches. You want a coarse texture.
    Blending in batches ensures the mushrooms at the bottom of the food processor won't get mushy and over-processed.
    blended mushrooms
  • Transfer the chopped mushrooms onto the pan, season with salt and black pepper, and cook on medium-high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the water content of your mushrooms. Stir occasionally.
    adding mushrooms
  • The mushrooms will release their liquid at first. Keep cooking them until the water is gone, and a few minutes passed that. You want a thick, rich, creamy mushroom sauce.

TOSS PASTA

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Reserve one cup of pasta water, drain it when al dente, and toss it in the pan with the mushroom ragu.
    Add a ladleful of pasta cooking water, finish cooking for a few seconds, and serve immediately.
    Adding pasta to the bolognese
  • Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and optionally with grated parmesan cheese.
    Mushroom Bolognese with a fork

Video

30-min Mushroom Bolognese for weeknight dinner

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for one serving of mushrooms ragu out of five servings, including pasta and parmesan.
PASTA COOKING TIP
You’ll need about 1 gallon (16 cups or 4 liters) of water and 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of salt, to cook 1 pound (450 grams) of pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 505kcal, Carbohydrates: 83g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Potassium: 1109mg, Dietary Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 2888IU, Vitamin B6: 0.4mg, Vitamin C: 13mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 25µg, Calcium: 141mg, Folate: 64µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 82mg, Zinc: 3mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I doubled the sauce and froze it which made it a perfectly easy week-night meal. My husband (who doesn’t care for mushrooms) and three year old loved it.

    1. That’s great, Cilla. I’m delighted that everyone enjoyed it – even your 3-year old ❤️

      Thank you for your feedback and for your rating, we appreciate it.

      All the best,
      Louise

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious! I’ve made this twice already. I love that I can freeze it and have it ready for the next time I have a pasta craving.

      1. 5 stars
        Hey Louise! Just a suggestion because I love your pastas so much. I really would appreciate it if you would consider making a category of recipes that are freezer friendly. This recipe froze really well!

        1. Hi Ali,
          That’s a fantastic idea and great timing since we are updating our categories these weeks.
          Thanks very much for your input, and stay tuned for a couple of new categories on the site ❤️
          Kindest,
          Louise

  3. 5 stars
    I have now done the lentil, tempeh and TVP versions. All are excellent.
    It’s a standard that’s in my freezer at all times.