Ignoring the fact that it’s Saint Patrick’s Day and many Americans are probably tucking into a nice, comforting plate of Corned Beef and Cabbage (yes, mostly just Americans, haha), I’ve instead decided to share a new recipe for Meatless Monday.
Don’t sound so excited, meat-eaters!
Actually, as a meat-eater turned semi-meat-eater, I understand that it can be difficult to replace meat with another non-meat substance. But if you’re looking to ease your way into it or just want a healthier alternative, this Mushroom Bolognese is the recipe for you!
The secret ingredient to this recipe is dried porcini mushrooms which are soaked in hot water, imparting a rich, earthy flavor that makes this dish hearty enough to stand on its own.
I must also note that a food processor definitely helps with this recipe as it turns 10 minutes of prep time into 1 minute of prep time. Bonus points!
I’ve made this Mushroom Bolognese recipe ever since working in a restaurant where this dish was a vegetarian staple on our menu. We served it with our House-made Pappardelle, which I had the esteemed pleasure of rolling out each night (but that’s another story for another time). On this particular day, we tossed it with whole wheat spaghetti but I encourage you to use whatever you have hanging out in your pantry.
If you feel so inclined, you can also replace the mushrooms with 1lb ground beef or ground turkey, which I have attempted in the past with equally delicious results.
Either way, I recommend doubling the recipe and then freezing for future dinners. You’re going to want it on those days when you return home exhausted from a busy week of work in which you’ve spent countless nights eating last minute fast food and you reach the point where you just want a healthy, hearty homemade dinner in minutes without having to dig out the cutting board. Trust me.
Mushroom Bolognese (Serves 4)
1 Medium Onion
2 Medium Carrots
2 Small Celery Stalks
2 Cloves Garlic
8 oz Cremini Mushrooms
1 oz Dried Porcini Mushrooms
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 – 28oz can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 c Red Wine
1 c Water
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1 pinch Sugar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Soak porcini mushrooms in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Reserve mushrooms and liquid.
- Place large pieces of onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a food processor and pulse until ground. If you don’t own a food processor, you can chop it by hand.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion/carrot/celery mixture. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the cremini mushrooms and rehydrated porcini mushrooms in the food processor and pulse until ground (or finely chop by hand). Add to the vegetables and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze with red wine.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, reserved porcini liquid, water, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Simmer for at least one hour (ideally two).