Elevate your pasta night with this savory mushroom ragu with a meaty base of walnuts, button mushrooms, red wine and delicious San Marzano tomatoes cooked down until thick, hearty and divine. Vegan, easy and good for you comfort food!
A meatless recipe I’ve been testing and retesting and truly hope you will enjoy as much as I do and add it to your pasta night rotation. Cooked in a traditional way just like a classic Italian Bolognese, this sauce is heavy on the mushrooms and just enough ground walnuts for that authentic ragu texture throughout.
The recipe makes a big pot of sauce, I’d say enough for nearly two pounds of pasta or so. If you don’t have a large family to feed just freeze whatever Ragu you don’t eat right away. It’s a beautiful thing to have ready to defrost in the middle of winter for a fabulously comforting weeknight pasta dinner on a cold evening. Veggies are magical!
Ingredient Notes + Tips
- Mushrooms – Brown button aha Baby Bella mushrooms are just perfect for this. I wouldn’t use anything too exotic or spectacular wild mushrooms here in case you were wondering.
- Walnuts – Soaked in hot water, drained then ground up to add not only texture but to also kind of act like the meaty glue between the mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients.
- Red Wine – The secret ingredient in an authentic rich Ragu alla Bolognese that reduces into the most flavorful sauce. I used a Chianti this time but whatever leftover good enough to drink red you have will be fine. You could also try a White variation with a fruity dry wine for a lighter flavor profile. Use between 1 to 1.5 cups of wine depending on how strong a flavor you prefer.
- Aromatics – The usual suspects are onion, carrot, celery and garlic, to which I added some capers for extra salty umami flavor.
- Porcini Mushroom Powder – This is a condiment I like to always keep in my pantry, it adds that “je ne sais quoi” depth of flavor element, use it if you have it but don’t let it hold you back from making this sauce either.
- Tomatoes – I used both tomato paste and my favorite San Marzano canned tomatoes crushed with your hands for that rustic texture vibe. I’m always thinking layers of flavor built one upon the other for that final burst of perfection in the final sauce.
On Storage + Reheating
Wait to toss the ragu with the pasta just before serving. Refrigerate any leftover sauce on its own for up to a week or freeze it for up to 6 months in freezer proof lidded glass containers or freezer bags. Thaw out in the fridge overnight or at room temperature on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours. Best to reheat in a saucepan on the stove top but the microwave works in a pinch too.
What to Serve With Mushroom Ragu
Choose a good quality Italian durum wheat semolina pasta with ridges, think rigatoni, lumache even orecchiette would serve as a nice vehicle to capture the thick sauce. If you fancy noodles I’d say go for Pappardelle or even better: Reginette aka pretty wavy tagliatelle ribbons that will hold up really well to this ragu. Or forgo the pasta altogether for a bowl of creamy polenta or mashed potatoes instead. Maybe pillowy soft gnocchi speaks to your heart today…? Whatever you choose just go all out and top your final dish with dollops of our heavenly creamy cashew ricotta cheese fatto in casa, I think it’s pretty exquisite and sure to impress even picky company.
Vegan Pasta Recipes
- Best Vegan Lasagna
- Vegan Pasta Bake
- Mushroom Leek Pasta
- Avocado Pesto Pasta
- Vegan Cacio e Pepe
- Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta
- Bucatini Pomodoro
- Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta.
how to make mushroom ragu alla Bolognese
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1.25 lb brown button mushrooms quartered
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 carrot peeled + grated
- 1 celery rib diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp brined capers roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 cup red wine ( up to 1.5 cups for stronger flavor)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 x 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes (lightly crushed)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5 tsp porcini mushrooms powder (optional but so good)
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- fresh basil for garnish
- pasta rigate for serving (there is enough sauce here to coat 1.5 to 2 lb pasta)
- cashew ricotta dollops for serving
- Optional In Advance: Make a batch of ricotta cheese and refrigerate, it's heavenly served with the Ragu.cashew ricotta dollops for serving
- Soak the walnuts in hot boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain well. Add the walnuts to the food processor and pressing the pulse button a few times chop until you get small pieces but careful to not overdo it.1 cup raw walnuts
- Add the mushrooms to the food processor and pulse a few more times until a uniform ground mixture is achieved.1.25 lb brown button mushrooms
- Preheat a heavy bottom pot (enameled cast iron pot is great) over medium heat and sauté the onion, carrot and celery in a drizzle of olive oil until softened and the onion starts to get a little color.1 yellow onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery rib
- Push the veggies to the sides, drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil in the center then drop in the garlic, capers and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 35 seconds to one minute. Stir well.4 cloves garlic, 1 Tbsp brined capers, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Add the tomato paste and mushroom walnut mixture. Turn up the heat and sauté stirring often until the mushrooms have released their water content and it has evaporated.1.25 lb brown button mushrooms, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 cup raw walnuts
- Add the red wine, bring to a boil and cook the mixture until the wine has reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf (+ porcini powder if using) and a good pinch of salt and bring to a simmer.1 cup red wine, 2 x 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, 1.5 tsp porcini mushrooms powder
- Partially cover with a lid and cook on medium low heat for 1 hour or until the Ragu has reduced to a thick consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and a grating of fresh nutmeg.1 pinch nutmeg
- Finish with a light drizzle of olive oil and serve hot tossed with your favorite pasta and dollops of cashew ricotta.fresh basil for garnish, pasta rigate for serving
- Red Wine - The secret ingredient in an authentic rich Ragu alla Bolognese that reduces into the most flavorful sauce. I used a Chianti this time but whatever leftover good enough to drink red you have will be fine. You could also try a White variation with a fruity dry wine for a lighter flavor profile. Use between 1 to 1.5 cups of wine depending on how strong a flavor you prefer.
- Porcini Mushroom Powder - This is a condiment I like to always keep in my pantry, it adds that "je ne sais quoi" umami depth of flavor element; use it if you have it but don't let it hold you back from making this sauce either.