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Mushroom and Eggplant Bolognese

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Easy mushroom and eggplant Bolognese is a healthy, vegetarian version of the traditional Italian recipe.  Made with vegetables instead of meat, it’s flavorful, light and delicious.

A white bowl full of vegetarian bolognese over pasta noodles. It’s made with carrots, mushrooms, and eggplant

Oh, the magical mushroom. 

I used to think mushrooms had no nutritional value and were just used for flavor in recipes.  Now, read any food or health magazine and mushrooms are like the holy grail of health.

Mushroom and eggplant Bolognese is made with a mix of mushrooms and eggplant that’s simmered in an aromatic red wine tomato sauce and served over pappardelle pasta.  It’s an easy recipe made the same way as a traditional Bolognese minus the meat!

A white bowl filled with pappardelle pasta covered with red mushroom bolognese sauce. It’s topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

This mushroom Bolognese is a great way to get those amazing mushroom benefits in your diet.  The mushrooms are meaty and tender making them the perfect meat substitute in the bolognese.

Health benefits of mushrooms:

  • Low calorie-just 21 calories per cup!
  • High in copper, potassium, fiber and protein
  • High in B-2 and B-5 vitamins
  • Loaded with antioxidants (selenium)

A couple of tips when making the perfect Bolognese:

  • Just like a traditional Bolognese, the sauce is best if simmered low and slow for at least a half hour.  (If I’m not pressed for time I like to cook it for even longer to really get the flavors married).
  • I highly suggest not skipping or substituting the wine because it’s essential for traditional Bolognese flavor.  (Plus, it’s even better when you have a glass or two while you’re making the Bolognese!)
  • Be sure to dice your vegetables small, this allows them to become tender and create that perfect Bolognese texture.

I like to add the diced pancetta for added flavor in this bolognese, but if you need this recipe to be completely vegetarian or vegan, you can leave it out.

An orange Dutch oven filled with mushroom and eggplant bolognese showing a serving spoon closeup shot. Its an vegetarian version of the traditional Italian recipe.

My brother is quite the mushroom connoisseur…he can tell you everything there is to know about different mushroom varieties, where they grow, and how to identify them.

It’s quite impressing (a little nerdy, but very interesting).

He’s opened my eyes to the mushroom eating world.  Now, obviously you can’t just pick wild mushrooms from your yard (that could be disasterous!), but you can experiment with the different varieties your local market sells.

Total immune boosters.

Vegetarian or not, this mushroom and eggplant Bolognese is a delicious recipe loaded with good-for-you nutrients.  It’s hearty yet light for the perfect Sunday family dinner.

An overhead shot of Italian bolognese made from mushrooms, eggplant and carrots. It’s served with fresh grated Parmesan cheese over pappardelle pasta

Looking for an even healthier & low carb dinner?  Try this mushroom and eggplant Bolognese over zucchini or other veggie noodle of choice.

For another delicious mushroom recipe try myCheesy Chicken and Mushroom Cauliflower Rice Casserole

A white bowl full of vegetarian bolognese over pasta noodles. It’s made with carrots, mushrooms, and eggplant
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5 from 1 vote

Mushroom and Eggplant Bolognese

Easy mushroom and eggplant Bolognese is a healthy, vegetarian version of the traditional Italian recipe. Made with vegetables instead of meat, it’s flavorful, light and delicious.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword bolognese, familydinner, italianrecipes, pastarecipes, vegetarianrecipes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Author Wine a Little Cook A Lot

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion diced small
  • 2 Carrots peeled and diced small
  • 2 Celery stalks peeled and diced small
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 oz Pancetta diced small (omit for Vegetarian/Vegan)
  • 1 small Eggplant peeled and diced small (about 2 cups)
  • 3 lbs Mixed Mushrooms chopped (I used white and baby bella)
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbsp Flour gluten free if needed
  • 1 cup Red Wine
  • 1 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Half & Half or Milk
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in large stock pan or Dutch oven. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pancetta (if using) and cook until lightly browned and crispy, about 4 minutes.
  • Add eggplant, mushrooms, and Italian seasoning; stir and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste and flour, cook 1 minute.
  • Add red wine, stir and cook 2 minutes.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes and milk. Bring to a boil, lower to low heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes (the longer the better!).
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.


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