Vegan Wild Mushroom Ragu

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How to make a rich vegan mushroom ragu that can double up as mushroom bolognese, perfect for topping tons of dishes! Umami-rich, high-protein, gluten-friendly, and absolutely delicious!

Mushroom ragu in a pan with a wooden spoon

This mushroom ragu recipe is hearty, healthy, and packed with protein as well as flavor. By combining umami-rich wild mushrooms with the soffrito veggie combination and several other umami-boosting ingredients, you end up with a thick and decadent vegan ragu worthy of serving over all your favorite pasta dishes, polenta, mashed potato, rice, and more (check serving suggestions towards the bottom of the post).

I’m not sure what the weather is like wherever you are based, but here the rain and wind have been showing up a lot recently, which means I’ve craved comforting, warm, wholesome meals like Healthy Mushroom & Lentil Vegan Meatballs, baked feta and tomato pasta, and this mushroom ragu (bonus – it can even double up as a mushroom bolognese sauce!).

Plus, did you know that mushrooms are in the top 20 immune-boosting foods?! In fact, this entire dish is packed with healthful vitamins and minerals, all while tasting rich and decadent – that’s a win-win to me!

A close up of mushroom ragu

I’ve already shared a simple soy-based bolognese sauce. This mushroom ragu recipe is packed with healthy nutritional veggies. With the addition of several umami-packed ingredients, including soy sauce, miso, and tomato paste, along with the wild mushrooms (of course), this homemade ragu really has tons of depth of flavor and is super rich without being super heavy! 

Best of all, this recipe is customizable and freezer-friendly – a perfect meal-prep option!

What Is Ragu (vs. Bolognese)

Since I use this mushroom ragu interchangeably as mushroom bolognese, I thought I’d better go through the definition of ragu vs. bolognese.

Ragu is an Italian dish often described as a hearty, seasoned sauce made up of meat, tomatoes, and soffrito – often with the addition of red wine, and usually served with pasta dishes.

This vegan ragu keeps the tomatoes and soffrito (also called Mirepoix – sauteed carrots, celery, and onion used as the base for all kinds of soups, stews, and pasta dishes), makes the red wine optional (but recommended), and ditches the meat entirely in exchange for hearty, slightly meaty, flavorful and nutrient-packed mushrooms. 

When comparing ragu and bolognese, the differences can be fairly subtle. Both have a tomato-based sauce and are used primarily with pasta dishes. However, bolognese usually ditches the red wine in place for white (if using any), and the amount of tomato used within the two varies. Not all bolognese sauces include the mirepoix/soffrito base either. 

The Ingredients

A selection of mushrooms in a tray
  • Mushrooms: I used a mixed ‘wild mushroom’ pack with several varieties of mushrooms for different flavors. However, feel free to stick to a single variety: shiitake, chestnut, or oyster. I recommend using brown mushrooms over white ones for a richer flavor. 
  • Soffrito: also called mirepoix, this combination of celery, carrots, and onion makes up a base for tons of Italian, French, and Spanish dishes.
  • Tomatoes: if you can’t source high-quality fresh tomatoes, then use high-quality tinned chopped tomatoes. 
  • For umami: I used a combination of soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free), miso paste, and tomato paste to add additional umami flavor to the mushroom ragu. 
  • The ‘sauce’: the bulk of the sauce is made up of vegetable stock and plant-based milk (you can use oat milk, tinned coconut milk, or coconut cream for creamier results). I also add (vegan) red wine to intensify the flavor and add depth – though this is optional.
  • Aromatics: I used garlic, salt (optional as the soy adds the salt) and pepper, and coriander seeds. You can optionally further boost the flavor with the addition of dried thyme, a bay leaf (removed before serving), or some smoked paprika to add a little smokiness. 
  • Olive oil: or another mild cooking oil for sauteing the ingredients – like avocado oil
Vegan Mushroom Ragu ingredients

How To Make Vegan Mushroom Ragu

Step 1: Prepare the vegetables

Clean, dry, and finely chop all of the vegetables: onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, tomato, and garlic.

Chopped veggies in different bowls

To save time, you can roughly chop them then pulse them (except the tomatoes!) in a food processor for a few seconds to break up into smaller pieces. They won’t be ‘even,’ but it will definitely save a lot of time!

Step 2: Saute the vegetables.

In a large pan, add the oil and toast the spices including the crushed coriander seeds, if using and saute until it is fragrant.

Then add the onion, celery, and carrots and saute over medium-high heat until softened and caramelized. This should take around 10 minutes.

Steps for cooking vegetables

Then, add the garlic and chopped mushrooms and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until softened and most of the mushroom liquid has released.

Step 3: Simmer the mushroom ragu

If you’re adding the wine, add it now to de-glaze the pan and stir until it’s cooked off.

Then add the remainder of the ingredients: chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, white miso, and vegetable stock.

Steps for making mushroom ragu

Reduce the heat to medium-low and then simmer the sauce for up to 30 minutes, or until it has thickened and reduced.

You can control the sauce’s thickness by reducing or increasing the amount of vegetable stock (or water) added.

Finally, optionally, add the oat milk or coconut cream and mix it well – heat for just a few additional minutes.

Cream added to ragu

Taste the mushroom ragu and adjust any of the seasonings to your personal taste. Then your vegan ragu is ready to enjoy!

How To Serve Mushroom Ragu

Though mushroom ragu is most often served with pasta dishes, there are actually many ways you can enjoy this homemade ragu, including:

  • Pasta: obviously, we have to mention the pasta options first. Serve the vegan ragu with your favorite pasta; vegan pasta, oat pasta, lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, gnocchi, spaghetti (as mushroom bolognese), etc. You can also use it within lasagna and to top vegan mac n’ cheese!
  • Potatoes: serve the mushroom ragu over mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, etc. 
  • Polenta: mushroom ragu polenta has become very popular in the last few years. Prepare the polenta according to the package instruction with a little butter (or dairy-free butter) and optionally some cheese or nutritional yeast, then spoon the vegan ragu over the top and enjoy!
  • Grains: serve with your favorite grain like rice (brown rice, jasmine rice, etc.) or quinoa (technically not a grain). 
  • Bread: enjoy the mushroom ragu as a mushroom stew and serve with your favorite flatbread for mopping up the sauce; naan bread, pide bread, cheese manakish, even homemade soft pretzels – yummy!
  • Tex Mex: this vegan ragu makes for a great filling to burritos, burrito bowls, and tacos too!
Mushroom ragu in a pan

How To Store and Reheat

Store: Once prepared, store the vegan mushroom ragu in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Freeze: Allow it to cool completely then freeze the leftovers in portion-controlled airtight freezer-safe containers for between 2-3 months. I like to freeze portions in re-usable freezer-safe bags for less storage space. Allow it to thaw in the fridge before reheating.

Reheat: You can reheat this vegan mushroom ragu either on the stovetop over low or within a microwave until warmed through.

FAQs

Can you make this mushroom ragu ahead?

This vegan mushroom ragu is one of those dishes that manages to taste even better the next day (or the day after), as the flavors meld and marinate in the fridge- for that reason; it makes for a great make-ahead/meal prep option when prepared in full. 
You can also start the prep in advance, ready to cook the following day. Prepare and chop the soffrito and mushrooms ahead of time and keep them stored in two separate containers in the refrigerator (lay a damp paper towel over the soffrito mix) for up to a day before continuing with the recipe. 
You can also pre sauté the soffrito/mirepoix mixture ahead of time, allow it to cool, and store it within the refrigerator for several days or the freezer for several months!!

Do you have to use red wine?

No, you don’t. I love to add some, as the alcohol will actually burn off during the cooking process, leaving you with a depth of flavor. However, feel free to omit it and add a little extra broth or plant-based.

Do you have to use wild mushrooms?

No – feel free to use button mushrooms or another single-type of mushrooms if preferred. I’m able to source a pack of mixed wild mushrooms easily near where I live, and I love the different flavors from the different ‘shrooms. Feel free to use what you’re able to, though- I recommend brown mushrooms for richer flavor over white.

Can you substitute the mushrooms?

As odd as it sounds to include this option in a mushroom ragu recipe – I know some people may want a vegan ragu option, but someone in the family hates mushrooms. Have no fear; you won’t get as much umami, earthy flavor, however, you can swap the mushrooms with eggplant and/or zucchini. You could also add lentils to the dish to beef it up.

A spoonful of mushroom ragu

Other Recipe Notes

  • You can further bulk up the mushroom ragu with other ingredients. My favorites are sauteed eggplant, zucchini, or cauliflower.
  • Feel free to slightly reduce the amount of broth used for even thicker results. I suggest reducing it by 1/2 cup. If you feel it’s too thick, then you can add in a little additional water, broth, or milk.
  • If you substitute the mushrooms for another ingredient, then you’ll likely need more seasoning. 

If you try this mushroom ragu recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts & questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Vegan Wild Mushroom Ragu (Mushroom Bolognese)

5 from 5 votes
By: Samira
How to make a rich vegan mushroom ragu that can double up as mushroom bolognese; perfect for topping tons of dishes! Umami-rich, high-protein, gluten-friendly, and absolutely delicious!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16

Ingredients 
 

  • 12 oz carrots
  • 5 oz celery
  • 18 oz onions I am using shallots
  • 25 oz mixed mushrooms you can use chestnut mushrooms or oyster or shiitake
  • 7 garlic cloves (2.5oz/70g)
  • 18 oz tomatoes or tinned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 Tbsp miso paste
  • 5.5 floz soy sauce
  • 34 floz vegetable stock
  • 1 cup oat milk or coconut cream optional
  • 7 floz red wine optional
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander seeds optional

Garnish (optional)

  • fresh thyme

Instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the vegetables

  • Clean, dry, and finely chop all of the vegetables: onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, tomato, and garlic.
    To save time, you can roughly chop them then pulse them (except the tomatoes!) in a food processor for a few seconds to break up into smaller pieces. They won't be 'even,' but it will definitely save a lot of time!

Step 2: Saute the vegetables.

  • In a large pan, add the oil and toast the spices including the crushed coriander seeds, if using and saute until it is fragrant.
  • Add the onion, celery, and carrots and saute over medium-high heat until softened and caramelized. This should take around 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and chopped mushrooms and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until softened and most of the mushroom liquid has released.

Step 3: Simmer the mushroom ragu

  • If you're adding the wine, add it now to de-glaze the pan and stir until it's cooked off.
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients: chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, white miso, and vegetable stock.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and then simmer the sauce for 30 minutes, or until it has thickened and reduced.
    You can control the sauce's thickness by reducing or increasing the amount of vegetable stock (or water) added.
  • Optionally, add the oat milk or coconut cream and mix it well – heat for just a few additional minutes.
  • Taste the mushroom ragu and adjust any of the seasonings to your personal taste. Then your vegan ragu is ready to enjoy!

How To Store and Reheat

  • Store: Once prepared, store the vegan mushroom ragu in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
    Freeze: Allow it to cool completely then freeze the leftovers in portion-controlled airtight freezer-safe containers for between 2-3 months. I like to freeze portions in re-usable freezer-safe bags for less storage space. Allow it to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
    Reheat: You can reheat this vegan mushroom ragu either on the stovetop over low or within a microwave until warmed through.

Notes

  • You can further bulk up the mushroom ragu with other ingredients. My favorites are sauteed eggplant, zucchini, or cauliflower.
  • Feel free to slightly reduce the amount of broth used for even thicker results. I suggest reducing it by 1/2 cup. If you feel it’s too thick, then you can add in a little additional water, broth, or milk.
  • If you substitute the mushrooms for another ingredient, then you’ll likely need more seasoning. 
Read the blog post for more notes on the ingredients and the answers to several FAQs
Course: Main
Cuisine: European, Italian
Freezer friendly: 2-3 Months
Shelf life: 4-5 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 117kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1077mg, Potassium: 443mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 4074IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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