This is best ever Vegan Bolognese made with mushrooms and in your slow cooker! The recipe packs a flavor punch and perfect for meat eaters in your family. They won’t be able to tell there’s no meat in it.
Vegan Bolognese Recipe
I think the biggest challenge for meat-eaters when transitioning to a Vegan/Plant-Based Diet is to find healthy recipe that somehow resembles familiar texture and flavor of their favorite non-vegan dishes.
After I gave up meat, it’s been my mission to introduce my husband to a world of delicious vegan meals. Despite that he’s not quite ready to change his diet, he eagerly tries my recipes.
One of the recipes that my husband loved and couldn’t tell whether there was meat inside – was Vegan Bolognese.
When I gave it to him, he said “tastes like meat, but I know it’s vegetable”.
That’s exactly what you want to hear from the meat-eaters in your family.
My hearty and delicious Mushroom Bolognese is impossible not to love. It has an amazing aroma and the texture definitely resembles meat.
But wait, how do you make that “meaty” texture?
Easy and simple solution but you’ll be glad you made that extra step to process mushrooms in a food processor instead of just chopping them.
Ground mushrooms absorb the seasoning much better than sliced and they make a perfect base for tacos, lasagna or rich tomato sauces like Bolognese.
Vegan Slow Cooker Bolognese
Aside from the fact that ground mushrooms contribute to a a better absorption of the spices, slow cooking is another key for achieving a rich deep flavor that otherwise conventional stovetop might not achieve.
This Mushroom Bolognese is Vegan and packs a lot of nutrients. It’s a feel-good recipe that will keep you full and satisfied for hours.
One of the things that I love about this recipe is that mushrooms are so easy to find at any time of the year. I love buying mine at Costco because you get big 24 ox box of Portobello mushrooms that will be enough to make few recipes.
White mushrooms will work here as well. I haven’t tried this recipe with other types of mushrooms, but if do, please let me know how it turned out.
- 13 oz mushrooms
- 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can (14.4 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
The beauty of this recipe is that you can do a minimal prep work, put the ingredients in your slow cooker and go about your day.
I always advice browning the mushrooms as well as onion, carrot and celery prior to slow cooking. This will help develop even more flavor.
In addition, mushrooms release lots of liquid during cooking and it’s always best to let those liquids evaporate before adding the rest of the ingredients. That’s why browning mushrooms is essentials.
- Heat olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet and over medium heat and brown mushrooms for 7-10 minutes or until liquid evaporates.
- Transfer mushrooms to a separate plate. To the same pan add onion, carrot, celery and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Add the cooked ingredients in your slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients, cover the lid and cook on low for 4 – 4 1/2 hours or on high for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
If you love deep umami flavors and if you have a chance, buy 1 sachet or bottle of dry Porcini mushrooms. Soak them for 30 minutes in the warm water and then use this water along with chopped soaked mushrooms in your recipe.
Porcini mushrooms are just like Truffles and they’re the kings of flavor. They are capable of transforming any recipe into a restaurant-type meal.
Storing and Heating
To ensure the safety and maximum freshness, this Vegan Mushroom Bolognese should be stored in the airtight container for 2-3 days.
In addition, you can also freeze it. Properly stored, this Mushroom Bolognese will keep for up to 6 months in a freezer.
For best results when reheating, transfer Bolognese to a saucepan and reheat on medium heat until it’s completely heated through.
This Vegan Mushroom Bolognese Recipe pairs well with any type of pasta or rice. You can also put it your taco or quesadilla. To round out your meal, here’re my favorite salad suggestions:
- Marinated Zucchini Salad
- Beets With Goat Cheese And Arugula
- Vegan Cauliflower Salad With Cucumber And Corn
Vegan Mushroom Bolognese
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 13 oz Portobello or white mushrooms
- 1 medium onion finely minced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 can (14.4 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke* See Note 1
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning* See Note 2
- 1/4 c water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Use a dump paper towel to wipe each mushrooms, cut a thin slice off the bottom of each stem and give mushrooms a rough chop. Add them to a food processor and pulse for a few times until mushrooms resemble ground "meat".
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet and over medium heat. Add ground mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally for 7-10 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown.Transfer mushrooms to a separate plate.
- To the same pan add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion, carrot, celery and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Add the cooked ingredients in your slow cooker along with the tomato paste, maple syrup, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, Italian seasoning, water and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
- Cover the lid and cook on low for 4 - 4 1/2 hours or on high for 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Adjust the seasoning and serve.