Vegetable Bolognese

in Dinner, Pasta

Fact: I don’t eat very much meat. Technically, my diet is classified as “pescetarian” because the only meats I will eat are fish and seafood.

Fact: I never call myself a pescetarian because I think the word sounds snotty.

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, I, like most vegetarians, do not like eating salads all the time. I do not typically believe that a salad constitutes a meal. I prefer “stick to your ribs” kind of food.

Fact: Uncooked and/or steamed tofu is gross. Seriously people, why even put it on the menu?

Fact: This Bolognese is amazing. It is 100% vegetables and brings back every memory I have of eating the beef-based kind. With recipes like this I do not miss meat. Ever.

Fact: I ate this for dinner and then breakfast the next morning. Totally awesome.

Vegetable Bolognese

Print this recipe!

Adapted from Giada Dr Laurentiis

I liked the base of vegetables that this recipe uses, but I thought it was a little skimpy on the tomato aspect so I added in a can of crushed tomatoes. It is absolutely perfect, definitely going to be showing up in my kitchen a lot more often. I used white button and cremini mushrooms, but feel free to play around to get different flavors.

1 pound pasta – I used rigatoni
3 small – medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces assorted mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Place the carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse the vegetables until finely chopped but still chunky. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste, until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, reserved liquid from the pasta and red wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, sprinkly with parmesan and serve.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrianna August 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm

This is a first for me (commenting on one of your posts), but I can’t help myself. Bolognese is my favorite food of all time and this meatless version looks absolutely amazing! Love it!


DessertForTwo August 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

So I’ve got vegetarian tendencies and my cowboy is a carnivore. I want to trick him with this dish and tell him it’s ground beef–is that evil? He says he hates mushrooms–do you think you can taste them in this dish if I chop them real small?


Caroline August 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Even though there are a lot of mushrooms, it doesn’t really have a strong taste, so I think you’re cowboy will like it :)
However, it definitely doesn’t taste exactly like beef, so I think honesty is the best policy with this dish.


Sarah August 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm

You have just solved my “what to eat tonight” dilemma. AND I don’t even have to go to the store. THANK YOU!


Joanne August 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I am neither a vegetarian nor a pescetarian although I do EAT vegetarian the majority of the time and I have to say that this looks amazing! I hate the common misconception that people who like vegetables love salads, as well. Unless a salad is something really special…I won’t eat it.


Gastronomer August 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

This recipe needs to be made in my kitchen ASAP! Thanks for sharing this meatless wonder.


M. August 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm

my stomach is seriously growling while I’m looking at this!!!
so yummy, love Giada’s recipes, so think I’ll be trying this tomorrow for dinner, you made it look so delicious:)
thanks for the inspiration :)


jenn from muchtomydelight August 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

That looks GOOD.


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit August 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm

This sauce looks amazing! I’m not vegetarian, but we do eat a lot of meatless meals, especially in the summer. I wouldn’t miss the meat in this dish!


Nadette @ Eat, Read, Rant! August 10, 2010 at 8:21 am

while i am a self proclaimed semi-meatarian, i really do love a tasty meat free meal. and you’re absolutely right about tofu. it’s disgusting. i just don’t understand how or why someone thought that pressed soybean curd was a good idea. bleck!


fantasie November 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm

if you do tofu right, it is actually very delicious. like egg custard, except smoother. try looking for real chinese or japanese recipes.


Nicole August 10, 2010 at 8:27 am

That looks ridiculously delicious!


Tiffany August 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm




Chaya August 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm

This would make a perfect dinner for us. We have been eating lots of vegetables and I am always looking for more ways.


Tracey August 11, 2010 at 7:04 am

So funny I made a veggie bolognese the other day I also put in those Morning star crumbles for extra protein. I may eat meat but I do have very vegetarian tendencies

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El August 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm

As a vegetarian, you have no idea how much I appreciate this recipe. I didn’t even know you could make a bolognese with vegetables. Thanks for the recipe- it looks great!


Josy August 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Looks delicious! I might make it for my brother coming into town next week. He is vegetarian so this can come in handy! Thanks!


Caroline August 13, 2010 at 10:44 am

Hope you enjoy it! I promise this is one veggie meal that even a meat-eater can enjoy!


The Vegetable Lady August 16, 2010 at 3:16 am

It looks yummy, especially the mushrooms and tomatoes, but what do you use as a source of protein in the meal, if you’re not adding tofu, bean curd, etc?


Caroline August 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I actually don’t follow the rule that you need to have a high source of protein in every meal. Normally I try and make sure that I get two good sources every day, whether it be eggs, beans, etc. If you wanted you could bump up the protein by using whole-wheat pasta. I’m just happy that this meal gives me a few good servings of vegetables :)


alisa August 16, 2010 at 9:08 pm

sounds delicious! so excited to have discovered your site..i saw a reply post of yours on and on a wim clicked on your site link… what a great surprise! i am a “pescatarian” as well, so thank you for this!


Rachel August 17, 2010 at 9:56 am

I made this and it was super yumtown! I used more wine than specified, because I love wine, and made it early afternoon for dinner with friends that night. Nobody even noticed the lack of meat and my carnivore friends all thought it was great!


Andrea December 8, 2010 at 4:43 am

This was delicious! Made it today. Will link you on my blog!


liz December 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I’m making this tonight and will eat it while decorating my tree!!


Sue May 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I found this searching for vegetarian bolonese; picked the recipe that looked the best. This is like Giada’s without the porcini and celery. I did use a little celery. I cut up the mushrooms in the food processor to create a ground meat consistency…button, baby bella and shitake, probably 10oz all together. This was very much what I was looking for–my husband loves spaghetti bolognese; I am a vegetarian wanabe. He loved it. Thanks!


Valeria June 4, 2015 at 1:16 pm

I made this Vegetable Bolognese sauce yesterday for dinner – it was delicious!!! It took longer to reduce then I thought, about 30 minutes on low-medium heat (the can of tomatoes, the cup of pasta water and the wine made it really wet). I also made a bechamel sauce to go with the dish. So I added the Vegetable Bolognese sauce, the bechamel cause and some Parmesan cheese to the pasta. I placed it in a casserole dish and in the oven for 10 min. The end result was amazing! This sauce takes a quarter of the time it takes to make a meat bolognese sauce so it is a great recipe!! :) :) As always, I am so thankful for YOU!! :) :) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog!!


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