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Vegetarian Bolognese Recipe

This vegetarian bolognese recipe is made with mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, and onion. A delicious meatless vegetarian “meat” sauce recipe that everyone will enjoy!

bowl of spaghetti topped with vegetarian bolognese sauce

Bolognese sauce is a classic family favorite dish.

Today I’m sharing a delicious alternative to the traditional bolognese sauce. vegetarian bolognese sauce!

As a vegetarian (and just a carb lover in general), pasta is one of my favorite meals.

It’s a great way to get lots of veggies, pasta, and protein for a well rounded meal.

I love to vegetarian-ize classic recipes like bolognese sauce, vegetarian meatloaf, and million dollar baked ziti.

This vegetarian bolognese recipe is a great meatless substitute for “meat sauce.” It is super satisfying, packed full of good for you ingredients, and tastes amazing!

wooden spoon in a pot of vegetarian bolognese sauce

ingredients to make meatless bolognese sauce

  • baby bella and golden oak shitake mushrooms: these really give the bolognese that “meaty” taste
  • celery 
  • carrots
  • garlic
  • onion: you can use yellow or white onion for this recipe
  • diced fire roasted tomatoes: the depth of flavor from fire roasted tomatoes is so important to this recipe, don’t skip this!
  • dried basil and oregano: or you can use italian seasoning
  • sugar: just a touch to offset the acidity of the tomatoes
  • nutritional yeast
ingredients needed to make vegetarian bolognese sauce

How to make vegetarian bolognese sauce

Step 1: Add the baby bella and shitake mushrooms to a food processor and either pulse or shred them.

mushrooms in a food processor

Process the mushrooms up until they are in minced like texture like the picture below.

mushrooms ground up in the food processor

Step 2: Transfer the mushrooms to a skillet, and add the celery, carrots, garlic, and onion to the food processor.

celery, garlic, carrots, and onion in a food processor

Mince it all up in the food processor until it is in tiny pieces like the mushrooms.

Once it’s all processed it will look like this picture below.

celery, garlic, carrots, and onion ground up in the food processor

Step 3: It’s time to let the veggies sweat and cook the liquid out.

ground up vegetables in a skillet with spices

Cook the minced mushroom, garlic, onion, carrots, and celery with the salt and pepper in a large skillet for around 25 – 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables have reduced in volume.

cooked bolognese vegetable "meat" in the skillet

Step 4: Next, puree the fire roasted tomatoes in the food processor until smooth.

The fire roasted tomatoes add a great depth of flavor, and the spices help round it all out.

fire roasted tomatoes in a food processor

The flavor is key to nailing the perfect vegetarian bolognese sauce!

pureed fire roasted tomatoes in the food processor

I have had a few people tell me that they cannot find fire roasted tomatoes.

I buy mine in the same aisle as the other canned tomatoes. If you are unable to find them, just substitute regular canned diced tomatoes, and adjust the spice amounts as necessary. 

ingredients to make the bolognese sauce

Step 5: Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, nutritional yeast, and sugar to the vegetables. Stir until hot and it is ready to serve!

The texture of the vegetable bolognese is so meaty.

I was genuinely surprised that it felt to me that I was eating meat sauce!

adding the nutritional yeast, tomatoes, and spices to the vegetarian bolognese

Made this today and LOVED it, thank you so much, it’s such a great idea! I make normal bolognese all the time and even my kids didn’t notice anything different about it.

finished bolognese sauce in the pot

Top with fresh chopped parsley if you want for more added flavor.

I like to do this for that little extra garnish and flavor.

wooden spoon in a pot of vegetarian bolognese sauce

I totally love this recipe! It’s so delicious and my 2 years old picky eater devoured it. Yay happy mom over here

wooden spoon adding bolognese sauce to a bowl of spaghetti noodles

If you’re vegetarian and not vegan (like me), parmesan cheese is a great topping for this recipe.

Freshly grated is best!

Otherwise, this bolognese sauce is vegan as written.

You could also top with vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast to keep it dairy free.

bowl of spaghetti topped with vegetarian bolognese sauce and parmesan cheese

It’s honestly so delicious and so filling.

You won’t miss the meat at all!

For more yummy inspiration, be sure to read our 25 best vegetarian recipes.

fork taking a bite of spaghetti with vegetarian bolognese

This recipe makes a huge batch of sauce so it is great to feed a lot of people!

 More vegetarian pasta recipes 

Are you making this recipe? I want to see! Don’t forget to tag me on instagram @buildyourbite and hashtag #buildyourbite with your recipe creations!

bowl of spaghetti topped with vegetarian bolognese sauce and parmesan cheese

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bowl of spaghetti topped with vegetarian bolognese sauce and parmesan cheese

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Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Vegetable Bolognese Recipe

bowl of spaghetti topped with vegetarian bolognese sauce

This vegetable bolognese sauce recipe is made with mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, and onion. A delicious meatless vegetarian "meat" sauce recipe.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
  • 5 oz golden oak shitake mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 celery stalks, ends cut off and cut into 3 pieces each
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3 sections each
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 4 (14.5 oz each) cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • Spaghetti, for serving

Instructions

  1. Add baby bella and shitake mushrooms to a food processor and either pulse or shred, until minced
  2. Transfer mushrooms to a large skillet or dutch oven
  3. Add celery chunks, carrot chunks, garlic cloves, and onion pieces to the food processor and pulse/shred
  4. Add the celery/carrot/garlic/onion mixture to the mushrooms in the pan
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper to the vegetables
  6. Turn the burner on medium high heat and sautee vegetables for 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables cook down and most of the liquid evaporates
  7. Puree diced fire roasted tomatoes in the food processor until smooth
  8. Add the pureed tomatoes to the vegetables along with the basil, oregano, nutritional yeast, and sugar
  9. Taste and add any seasonings if necessary (if it tastes too acidic, add a little more sugar as necessary)
  10. Heat until hot throughout, then serve
  11. Serve over spaghetti and topped with parmesan cheese, if desired

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 85Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 43mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure to tag me on instagram @buildyourbite and hashtag #buildyourbite with your recipe creations!

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Sara

Sunday 27th of March 2022

This recipe is amazing! I'm planning to make it again next week. Thank you so much!

Jennifer Spears

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

I'm going more and more plant-based this fall and love the effects. I've been craving a good Bolognese like it's nobody's business. So I'm ready to give this a try. What size food processor are you using? I don't currently own one so I have no concept of size. However Black Friday sales are beckoning, and I know I can get a lot of use out of it. Any tips? I generally cook for four.

Joy Shull

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

It depends on what you'll be using it for, but a 6-8+ cup might be the best choice in your case!

Allison

Friday 4th of June 2021

The perfect veggie bolognese. I often find with vegetarian meals that something feels like it is missing, but this one lacks nothing!! It is so satisfying and easy. Definitely a staple in my rotation.

Joy Shull

Saturday 5th of June 2021

So glad you enjoyed the recipe Allison! Thanks for leaving a comment :)

Steven Prio

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Oh my God! Such an easy and tasty recipe!!! One of these recipes that remind you why you are so happy to be a vegetarian! Thank you so much!!

Joy Shull

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe Steven!!

Susanne

Saturday 14th of March 2020

That’s THE veggi dinner. We put A lot of parmesan cheese on top. So yummy. Thank you for sharing this recipe. My family loved it.

Joy Shull

Saturday 14th of March 2020

So glad your family enjoyed the recipe!

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