mushroom bolognese sauce over pasta

Comfort food [kuhm-fert fuud] (n.): the type of food that makes you want to cozy up under a blanket with your hunny and stuff your face while watching Netflix or sitting by a fire.

Well, that’s my definition of it, at least.

To me, comfort food is all about the experience of eating. It’s more than just taste. Its feelings. Emotions. Love. 

Bolognese is one of the first dishes Alex ever made for me. I ask him to make it from time to time, and each time it’s better than the last. Every time I eat it it fills me up and then some.

Is it weird to say it makes me feel at peace? Like you finish every last little bit on your plate, sit back, and think to yourself ahhhh, that was perfect. Or, according to our friend Mike, you think I could eat this for hours.

This mushroom bolognese version is modeled off of Alex’s original recipe, which uses finely diced peppers and onions to create a rich texture. And I mean minced—get them as small as you can. The addition of mushrooms adds a hearty meatiness that will leave you wondering if you did, indeed, put meat in there after all.

Alex swears by Parmesan rinds to create this super deep, umami flavor. We can usually get them at Whole Foods; we just ask the cheese mongers for Parmesan scraps. So worth.

mushroom bolognese sauce on pasta with cheese

Tips on how to make bolognese sauce

Whether you’re making this vegetarian bolognese sauce or a meat-filled sauce, the key thing to remember is that your sauce needs lots of time on the stove to develop the best flavor.

To make this mushroom bolognese sauce, you’ll first need to let the mushrooms, peppers, and onions fully cook down. This will take a good 15 minutes, so don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to make things go faster. The veggies are the base of this incredible pasta sauce, so give them time to cook properly!

Add the fresh herbs in the last minute or so of cooking your vegetables. This will “wake up” the herbs, so to speak, and will make your kitchen smell ah-mazing. Then, add in some red wine to deglaze the pan (i.e. loosen up the flavorful bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot).

After that, you simply have to add in the rest of the ingredients and let everything simmer for 2+ hours. Yes, you read that right. 2 or more HOURS are needed to create the absolute best mushroom bolognese sauce. As the bolognese sauce simmers, it’ll thicken up and the vegetables will soften even more.

mushroom bolognese with sage leaves on top

We like to serve this vegetarian bolognese over pasta, but I bet it’d taste incredible in lasagna or on top of spaghetti squash. (I can also confirm that it tastes amazing by the spoonful, just saying…).

Print

Healthy Mushroom Bolognese with Tagliatelle + Buffalo Mozzarella

  • Author: Sarah Fennel
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers, minced
  • 1 large red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 portabello mushrooms, minced (about 10 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes
  • 1 pint crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon)
  • 24 parmesan rinds (you can usually get these at your cheese counter– just ask!)
  • 1 pound tagliatelle pasta
  • 46 oz buffalo mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Heat a large dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in the red peppers and red onion. Cook until peppers are soft and onions are translucent.
  3. Add in the garlic and mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to release juices and fully cook down, about 5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking, add in the oregano, sage, and basil.
  4. Turn the heat to high and deglaze the pan with red wine. Cook down the mixture with the wine for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add in the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, sugar salt, and red pepper flakes. Allow mixture to come to a boil, then turn heat to low. Plop in the parmesan rinds, cover the pot with a lid, and let simmer for 2-3 hours (the longer it goes, the more deep the flavor will be).
  6. Cook tagliatelle al dente so it can really hold up to the thick sauce. Finish with buffalo mozzarella and a sprig of sage!

More easy dinner recipes from Broma Bakery:

Taco Tuesday Fish Tacos

Caramelized Onion, Whole Grain Mustard, & Gruyere Grilled Cheese

Golden Turmeric Carrot Ginger Soup

Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Avocado Basil Pesto Zucchini Noodles

25 comments

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heather (delicious not gorgeous)
Reply

love the tip to use parm rinds (and to ask for them at the cheese counter!).. i’ve added them to soups, but never sauce before (:

Avatar
ken Ralph
Reply

Recipe sounds interesting. I presume I can half the ingredients

Thanks

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Definitely! Or you can make it all and freeze half 🙂

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Karlie
Reply

This is beyond gorgeous! What a lovely meatless meal, fancy enough for a date night.xx

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Abby @ Heart of a Baker
Reply

Ohhhh yeassss I could eat this all day everyday! Give me a good hearty dish anytime!

Avatar
K
Reply

Please forgive the dumb question.. Recipe says ” 4 portabello mushrooms, minced (about 10 cups)”.
Is that 4 lbs or is there 10 c. in 4 portabellos? Thanks so much!!!!
(LOVE the site!!!!)

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Kay! Not a stupid question at all. 4 portobello mushrooms (those big ones that look like a pancake!), when cut, makes about 10 cups 🙂

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Sarah | Well and Full
Reply

My favorite comfort food is usually pasta, too – I think it’s my Italian side coming out! And I especially love this because it’s meatless! 🙂 Cheers, Sarah!

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Tori//Gringalicious.com
Reply

What a crazy delicious meal. Wow, I totally want to try it!

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Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps
Reply

Well, this is just the prettiest thing I’ve seen all week. Comfort food at its finest.

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Denisse | Le Petit Eats
Reply

I have such a love affair with pasta! Totally nostalgic, totally romantic, TOTALLY comforting. I love this meatless bolognese since I’ve been gradually reducing my meat consumption- can’t wait to try it!

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Meredith | Earth & Oven
Reply

All about that feeling ‘of peace’ after eating a solid meal. ZZzzzzZZz Jeally about the whole foods cheese rinds. My sister lives near one and swears by their tiny scraps of blue cheese for sampling. (NEED)

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Gaby Dalkin
Reply

If I hear of any recipe that combines the words “healthy’ and ‘pasta,’ I’m totally in! Especially this one!

Avatar
situ
Reply

I can’t get portobello mushrooms easily where I am. DO you think a mix of regular button and dried porcini mushrooms might work as well? Also if I’m making this for a family including kids, what could be a substitute for the red wine?

thanks! love your site!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Definitely to the mushrooms! I would use 8 cups button and 1 cup dried porcini 🙂 As for the wine, you can substitute vegetable stock or water. Though as a sidenote, the alcohol in the wine mostly cooks out because it’s cooked for so long, so I wouldn’t be worried at all about it 🙂

Avatar
Liza
Reply

I’m going to make this next week! Can I make this in a slow cooker?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Liza! I haven’t tried this recipe in a slow cooker but I think it would be fantastic! I would try it on low for 6 hours 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

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Brittany
Reply

Is it red bell peppers as the first ingredient or is it a spicy red pepper? Thank you!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

It’s a red bell pepper!

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Natasha
Reply

Love this recipe but looking to make it dairy free. What do you think I can substitute for the parmesan rinds?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

You can skip them altogether!

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Sami
Reply

I’ve made this a few times and love the flavor! My sauce always turns out pretty watery though. Any tips for making it thicker?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

That’s very odd, since in it cooking for so long most of the water evaporates. I would take the lid off for the last 30 minutes of cooking to help aid in that evaporation!

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Angela
Reply

What is the nutritional info on this? Thanks!

Avatar
Sofi Llanso
Reply

Hey Angela,

We actually don’t calculate the nutrition facts, but there a ton of great online tools you can use to do it. Just plug in all the ingredients and divide by the amount of servings. Hope this helps. Sorry about that!

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