Spaghetti Bolognese is always a family favourite, but this version uses just mushrooms instead of beef to make a vegetarian (it can even be vegan) version of a classic Italian dish. Swapping meaty dishes for vegetarian versions a few times a week can have a huge impact on your health (and environment) and because mushrooms have a real meaty texture, you won't notice the difference in this Mushroom Bolognese.
We have taken a classic Italian dish and given it a vegetarian twist that even meat eaters will love. The key to making a really good mushroom bolognese is using a selection of different mushrooms for plenty of texture.
We went with a mixture of chestnut, shiitake, oyster and button mushrooms, but you can use any that you have available. Leftovers of this vegan bolognese are delicious on a jacket potato too.
Why you will love it
- A delicious way to eat mushrooms - If you love mushrooms and you are looking for new ways to enjoy them, then is vegetarian bolognese ticks the boxes.
- An easy vegetarian swap - A lot of us could do with reducing the amount of meat we eat, and this is an easy swap because mushrooms have such a meaty texture.
- Kids love it - Mushrooms aren't usually at the top of the list of favourites with kids, but ours love this spaghetti bolognese with mushrooms.
- Easy to bulk out with more veggies - There are lots of ways to adapt this mushroom bolognese recipe to pack it full of vegetables.
- Pasta - We used linguine, but spaghetti or tagliatelle would both work. Pasta shapes would also work, but we find long lengths better.
- Mushrooms - If you only have one type of mushroom available that will work, but using a mix gives a lot more texture to the dish. We like shiitake, mini portobello and chestnut.
- Tomatoes - A good quality can of tomatoes is a must as cheaper ones can be quite watery.
- Vegetables - A great dish to sneak some hidden veggies in. We used onion, garlic, carrot, celery and leek. You could also grate some courgette into it for some hidden vegetables, along with some finely chopped spinach.
- Herbs - We used basil and oregano. Fresh basil is best and remember to chop roughly, rather than tear the leaves. Dried oregano is fine.
- Balsamic vinegar - Brings everything together with a nice rounded flavour.
- Tomato puree (paste) - To thicken the sauce.
- Oil - A good quality olive oil to cook the vegetables in. Vegetable oil is also a good choice.
- Seasoning - Try to use a good quality rock salt and black pepper.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make mushroom bolognese - Step by step
One: Add the pasta to a pan of boiled water and simmer for 12 minutes.
Two: Put the oil in a pan and heat gently. Fry the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and leek and gently cook for 4-5 minutes.
Three: Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes
Four: Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, oregano and fresh basil and stir well.
Five: Simmer for 5 minutes (10 is best, but it is cooked after 5).
Six: Serve on top of drained pasta. Top with Parmesan and more chopped basil.
There are lots of way to make a vegetarian bolognese, such as using a soya mince substitute, or using lentils, but using mushrooms is our favourite way because they have such a meaty texture. Mushrooms are always our go-to when trying to eat more meat free meals.
You really won't miss the meat in this, as there is so much flavour from the tomatoes, herbs and vegetables and of course a sprinkling of cheese on top goes a long way!
To make this dish really stand out, we use lots of different mushrooms to add different textures. We use a mixture of chestnut, shiitake, oyster and button mushrooms and we cut them different ways too. Some of the mushrooms are finely diced, others are sliced, some in chunks and others shredded.
What to serve with mushroom bolognese
This is a pretty filling meal by itself and it has all the mushrooms in it. However, if we are trying to make it go a little further, then we love serving up some garlic bread with it. Either buy some ready made, or make your own easy garlic bread by cutting up some French stick and spreading it with a mix of butter, crushed garlic and dried herbs. Then pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Why not try our Cheesy Garlic Bread recipe or Air Fryer Garlic Bread?
As well as garlic bread, you can bulk the meal out with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette? You could also try our Grilled Little Gem Salad.
If you want to add a big side of vegetables, then we recommend our Garlic Spring Greens, Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli, Garlic Green Beans, Air Fryer Carrots, Microwave Broccoli or Roasted Lemon Asparagus.
If you manage to save any leftovers from this, then they will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for 2 days.
You can reheat it on the hob (stove top) or in the microwave and then serve on top of spaghetti or rice. It is also really good on top of a crispy baked potato with lots of cheese.
The great thing about this mushroom bolognese is that it vegan. Cheese is kind of a must when it comes it pasta dishes, but you can get some great vegan cheese now, so pile some of that on top.
If you don't want to stand over a hob watching this bubble away, then you can put it all in the slow cooker at 4. Cook it on high for about 2 hours and it will let the sauce good low and slow and really intensify the flavour.
You just need to then cook the pasta when you are ready to eat.
More mushroom recipes
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Onion - small; diced
- 2 Carrots - diced
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 1 rib Celery - diced
- 1 Leek - thinly sliced
- 400 g (1.75 cups) Mixed mushrooms - half grated, half sliced
- 400 g (2.5 cups) Chopped tomatoes - canned
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoon Tomato puree
- 2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 10 g (0.5 cups) Fresh basil - chopped
- 2 tablespoon Dried oregano
- 140 g (5 oz) Linguine or Spaghetti
- Parmesan - to serve
- Add 140 g Linguine or Spaghetti to a pan of boiled water and simmer for 12 minutes.
- Put 1 tablespoon Olive oil in a pan and heat gently. Fry 1 Onion, 2 Carrots, 1 rib Celery, 2 Garlic clove and 1 Leek and gently cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add 400 g Mixed mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Add 400 g Chopped tomatoes, 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper, 2 tablespoon Tomato puree, 2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoon Dried oregano and 10 g Fresh basil and stir well. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and dived between bowls and then spoon the mushroom bolognese on top. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan and extra basil.
- To give this dish plenty of texture, use as many different mushrooms as you can find. We used chestnut, button, shittake and oyster.
- Chop all the mushrooms different ways to add more texture. We chopped, shredded and left the little ones whole.
- You could add some extra protein to this dish by adding some lentils when you put the tomatoes in.
- For some added flavour, add a splash of red wine to make it more like a traditional ragu.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.