If you're looking for a quick dinner, this isn't the recipe for you. But if you're looking for an exceptionally flavorful meal that will have you embracing Meatless Monday (or Sunday) full-throttle, you'll find yourself in good hands. Vegan mushroom bolognese takes a little time (but not too much effort, pinky promise!) and the result is worth every minute. Portobello mushrooms are the perfect alternative to beef or pork for a rich and hearty bolognese sauce.
Heat the olive over high heat in a dutch oven until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat in the fat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquids and then the liquid evaporates, about 25 minutes. You’ll know the liquid has completely evaporated when a thin coating of oil remains at the bottom of the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium high. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, then toss to combine. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and work into the vegetables; stir frequently until dark red in color, about 2 minutes.
Pour in the red wine and deglaze the pot, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom. Continue cooking until the wine stops bubbling, 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Give everything a good stir, then top with the bay leaf and fresh thyme. Cook at least 20 minutes more and up to 1 hour, until the flavors have melded and the bolognese is deep red in color.
Toss half the mushroom bolognese with one pound cooked pappardelle noodles. Portion into bowls and finish with an additional scoop of bolognese. Serve immediately.
Mushrooms need a lot of oil to properly sauté. They will release a ton of liquid in the first 15 minutes, and it will look soupy. Don’t be alarmed! The liquid will continue to cook off and once finished you’ll see a thin film of oil at the bottom of the pan. This is your signal to move onto the next step.
Serve over polenta for a gluten-free option or cauliflower puree for a grain-free and paleo option.