Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce

Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce

Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce

Of the many recipes for bolognese sauce, few are for the vegetarian considering the popular definition of the bolognese sauce is a pasta sauce with meat.

However, the following recipe for bolognese sauce uses mushrooms as a meat substitute, adding texture and deep earthy flavors to the otherwise traditional accented sauce.

A great recipe to make for vegetarian friends or family members and meat eaters alike, this thick chunky and creamy bolognese sauce can also be used when making lasagna


  • 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • hot water
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 t fresh stemmed thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 t stemmed fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 t stemmed fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 oz assorted fresh wild mushrooms (can use crimini, chantrelles, shiitake, portabello, or button), wiped of any dirt, stemmed and ripped up or chopped
  • 1 can (8 oz), diced or whole tomatoes (broken up), with juices
  • 2 T tomato paste or concentrate
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche or mascarpone cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Hydrate the dried porcini mushrooms by placing them in a small bowl and pouring hot water over them. Weigh them down with a plate and leave them to soften up

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. When shimmering, add vegetables and herbs (not the fresh mushrooms), salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.

Pour the hydrated porcini mushrooms through a sieve, reserving the liquid.

Add porcini and fresh mushrooms, tomato paste and sauce to the vegetables and cook until mushrooms are softened and sauce begins to thicken up, about 8 minutes.

Pass reserved porcini liquid through a fine sieve and add to the sauce along with red wine and bring vegetarian bolognese sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, simmering until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add crème fraiche or mascarpone cheese and stir until incorporated into the sauce.

Taste and adjust seasoning as required

Serve vegetarian bolognese sauce over favorite pasta, spaghetti, tagliatelle, rigatoni, or penne and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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