vegan mushroom bolognese recipe
Recipe type: pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
The original recipe says it will take about 2 hours to make. NO, with all the chopping I disagree. The 8 hours I list above is longer than you need but gives you a chance to take a break if blistering from chopping. Unless you a quick chopping robot, you will be like me and painstakingly take much of a Friday night prepping the mise en place, nursing a blister or two, then cooking the next day. This is a two-day project. I suggest doubling this recipe when you make it, as you might as well put your effort forth at one time and it freezes well. It will make enough to feed a crowd. My photos above show the doubled prep. The recipe below is Kenji's original, non-doubled. Use a large skillet and an 8 quart pot (instead of a "large saucepan") for cooking if doubling.
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, + more for serving
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion (about 1 cup), finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots (about 1 cup), finely diced
  • 2 large ribs celery (about 1 cup), finely diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves (I have a garden thick with rosemary so I edge down the sage and bolster with rosemary.)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, finely chopped (See important note on chopping -- because at this point, you don't want to chop ANYTHING anymore.)
  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps finely chopped (This was Kenji's original ingredient. I used baby bellas because 1) more than once, the shiitake available were shiite, and 2: I didn't want to discard the stems.
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white or red miso paste (I like a mix of the two, though if I only had one I'd choose the fruitier, deeper flavored red.)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes packed in juice, crushed roughly by hand or with a potato masher (San Marzano tomatoes are great here.)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¾ cup almond milk (I don't care for store-bought almond milk and I didn't feel like making any the first time I did this. I deveganed the recipe with 2% milk -- I can hear the vegetables screaming.)
  • 1 pound pasta like pappardelle (Kenji also recommends short, tubular pasta like penne or rigatoni. I like the wider noodle shape better here.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay eggplant on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle whole eggplant with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper (this helps distribute the heat so you don't end up with browned spots). Wrap loosely in foil. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until eggplant is soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, chop those vegetables as finely as you can. Listen to good music while doing so, or a podcast that requires focus. The rote of chopping will zone you out; give your brain something to do.
  3. Heat ~3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Stir occasionally and cook until completely softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add sage, half of parsley, half of basil, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add red wine and bay leaves. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until wine is reduced nearly dry (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan easily), about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan and wipe out skillet.
  5. Add remaining oil to skillet and set over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add button mushrooms and shiitake and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushroom liquid completely evaporates and mushrooms are well-browned all over, about 20 minutes. Add tomato paste and miso and stir to combine. Pastes will leave a light residue on the bottom of the pan. This is ok.
  6. Add canned tomatoes and cook, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add mixture to pot with vegetables and reduced wine. Add soy sauce and almond milk.
  7. When eggplant is cooked, remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Slit skin of eggplant and scrape out softened flesh gently with a spoon. Chop eggplant flesh into a fine puree and add to pot with sauce. Stir sauce to combine, bring to a bare simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting, and cover with lid slightly ajar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is rich and thick and flavors have fully developed, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. To serve, cook pasta according to package directions in salted water. Drain, reserving ½ cup of cooking liquid. Add pasta and cooking liquid to mushroom sauce. Add remaining chopped parsley and basil (reserving a little for garnish, if desired). Cook over high heat, stirring, until sauce is rich and thick and coats every piece of pasta. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls, drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil, and serve immediately.
  9. PLAN AHEAD: I did this recipe in two days. Chopping takes a LONG time. Except the herbs, all the chopping can be done the day before and stored in the fridge after wrapping well. The eggplant can be roasted the day before also, then cooled before skinning, mashing, and storing in the fridge.
Recipe by story of a kitchen at