HEARTY MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE

MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!

Not playing around. This mushroom and beet bolognese is one of the best things I’ve ever made. The ingredients are simple enough, but we take our time cooking all of the different layers for maximum flavour and depth. Again, this is another mushroom recipe that somehow gets away with not tasting too mushroom-y thanks to all the garlic, fragrant bay leaf, the acidity of the red wine, smoky-earthy beets, plus the tomato paste and miso umami bombs. I’m really, really into this one.

I am having a bit of a beet moment lately and I know some of you will think that they’re kind of a “Whaaaa?!” addition to this recipe. I promise that they’re good! They’re slightly smoky and earthy and they add a nice touch of colour, too. The beets also contribute to that typical squidgy bolognese texture, too. I’m always roasting beets as part of our weekly food prep, but if you’re strapped for time, the pre-cooked Love Beets are an amazing save. Also, if you need another great recipe with beets, look no further than this salad.

This recipe conveniently makes an excellent date night meal, but I think it’s perfect just for your own fine self or even for your whole family. It has a cozy, comforting, and crowd-pleasing vibe for sure. Just perfectly hearty and wholesome winter food that happens to be vegan and entirely whole food-based :)

One day I’ll cool it with all the carb-heavy vegan comfort food over here, but right now I just can’t get enough. Because this recipe is quite dependent on longer stretches of cooking time, I wouldn’t call it quick and easy. It’s more of a weekend cooking kind of endeavour. It’s nice to get all of the ingredients prepped and measured and just kind of linger over the stove with a glass of wine or whatever beverage you’re into. Hope you give it a try and I hope that you’re having a lovely week <3

MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!
MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE - The First Messpin it!


HEARTY MUSHROOM & BEET BOLOGNESE RECIPE

Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 4
NOTES: If you have fresh thyme on hand, a couple sprigs-worth of leaves (minced up) would be great here. Just add it to the pot with the garlic.
-A little splash of tamari soy sauce is great at the end of the cooking process, but not necessary. It just enhances all of those savoury flavours. Add a teaspoon along with the cashew cream if you like.
-If you have liquid smoke on hand, 3 little drops are great in this.
-To roast beets, place them in an oven safe baking dish. Pour water up to a ⅓ of the height of the beets. Cover the dish with foil and roast for about 45 minutes, or until beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Peel and refrigerate beets, storing them in a sealed container.

⅓ cup French lentils, rinsed
¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
¾ cup filtered water
1 lb cremini mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons oil (olive or avocado are great)
1 small yellow onion, small dice
½ teaspoon chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 medium roasted beets, small dice
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon light miso (I used chickpea)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup red wine
14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (I always prefer the fire-roasted ones from Muir Glen)
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lb long and wide pasta noodles of choice, such as taggliatelle or pappardelle

In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with water and place the pot over medium-high heat. Bring the lentils to a boil and then simmer until just-tender, about 20 minutes. They will continue to cook in the bolognese later on. Drain the lentils and set aside.

In an upright blender, combine the cashews and water. Blend on high until you have a totally liquified cashew milk. Set the milk aside.

You’ll need to finely chop the mushrooms, and a food processor is the easiest way to do it. Cut the mushroom caps into quarters and place half of them in the food processor. Pulse the food processor about 8-10 times or until mushrooms are finely minced. Transfer minced mushrooms to a large bowl and repeat pulsing process with remaining mushrooms. You can also mince them by hand if you prefer.

Heat a large, heavy pot (like a dutch oven) over medium heat. Pour the oil into the pot once it’s warmed up. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent on the edges, about 5 minutes. Then, add the chili flakes, garlic, bay leaf, and beets. Cook this mixture for 8 minutes. The beets should keep the pot sufficiently moist without the need to add water/more oil.

Add all of the mushrooms to the pot and stir to combine all of the vegetables. Leave the vegetables alone for one minute. Then, stir the vegetables again. Let them sit for another minute. After this, the mushrooms should be letting off liquid. Add the cooked lentils, miso, and tomato paste to the pot. Season everything generously with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Keep cooking the vegetables until there’s only a small amount of liquid weeping out and everything is quite brown and reduced, about 10-12 minutes. Continue stirring the mixture throughout the cooking process.

Add the red wine to the pot and stir. Let the mixture simmer and cook out for 5 minutes, stirring often. There should still be a good slick of liquid in the pot at the end of the 5 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring often. At this point the bolognese should be like a very thick stew. Add the cashew milk to the pot and stir. Bring the bolognese to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Check the bolognese for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Keep it warm while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to package directions minus 1-2 minutes. You want to finish cooking the pasta in the bolognese. Once pasta is sufficiently cooked, drain and add it to the pot with the bolognese. Add the chopped parsley as well. Gently fold the pasta and bolognese to combine and heat throughout. Serve mushroom and beet bolognese immediately.

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  • Susan06/02/2019 - 7:07 am

    I would like to make this ahead of time. Have you done that yet? Will it suffer or be enhanced by an overnight in the refrigerator?ReplyCancel

    • Laura06/02/2019 - 8:38 am

      Hi Susan,
      I would recommend making the sauce in its entirety in advance. I think the flavour could only get better from an overnight rest. From there, I would reheat it the next day and add freshly cooked pasta to finish. When we have leftovers of this dish, the pasta just seems gummy to me the next day and overall the dish feels paste-y to me. I’m really picky about pasta’s doneness and texture though (gotta be al dente), so could be just me.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Krystal06/02/2019 - 10:07 am

    You’re making my plant-based Italian heart sing. I didn’t think anything would top those big mushroom meatballs (misguided, I know) but OMG! I’m making this this weekend and then taking a pasta nap. I will never tire of these cozy carby recipes!ReplyCancel

    • Laura06/02/2019 - 11:30 am

      I love pasta naps and their close cousin the french fry coma hehe ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Ti06/02/2019 - 1:27 pm

    This is amazing. I thought it said BEEF and then noticed it was BEET. It looks so hearty and meaty given it’s meatless.ReplyCancel

  • Carolina Fernandez06/02/2019 - 2:44 pm

    Hi, Laura.. just wondering if the lentils are absolutely necessary..I can’t eat grains for a few days and THIS I need right now!
    Thank youReplyCancel

    • Laura06/02/2019 - 5:15 pm

      You can definitely leave them out! No other adjustments necessary either :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full06/02/2019 - 3:20 pm

    I am SO here for all this carby goodness! I have Italian heritage, and tomato-based sauce + pasta is pure comfort food to me.ReplyCancel

  • Maclean Nash06/02/2019 - 5:17 pm

    This looks incredible. For the sake of time, would using carton cashew milk do or do you think there would be a noticeable difference in taste etc?
    Either way – I cant wait to make this recipe!ReplyCancel

    • Laura07/02/2019 - 7:57 am

      I totally get you on the time save. Carton cashew milk that’s unsweetened would work, but I would go for something a bit richer if you can! Like an unsweetened plant-based creamer (my fave is nutpods) would be perfect here.
      -LReplyCancel

    • Franziska07/02/2019 - 3:20 pm

      I made this today and used cashew butter and a splash of water and I guess it did the trick because afterwards it was creamy and almost cheesy. The cashew butter was without any salt or sugar.

      @Laura Thanks so much for the recipe, I am eating right now and it is yum!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jill07/02/2019 - 7:43 pm

    This looks delicious, and I’m really looking forward to cooking it! It would be really helpful to skip a step, like the roasting of the beets. I’ve really enjoyed Love Beets in the past – would you consider those “medium size” or “small?”ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/02/2019 - 11:09 am

      I would call MOST of the Love Beets medium-sized. Sometimes you get a little baby one or a large one in the pack.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Natalie07/02/2019 - 10:21 pm

    Do you dice the beets before or after roasting?ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/02/2019 - 9:05 am

      I dice the beets after they’ve roasted and cooled down.
      -LReplyCancel

      • Natalie08/02/2019 - 11:05 pm

        Thanks! Made this tonight it was insanely delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Evie08/02/2019 - 9:00 am

    This was very good! Quite a bit pinker from the beets than your pictures – maybe you used golden beets? I’ll definitely make this again.ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/02/2019 - 9:05 am

      I used red beets too! I found that my beets got quite brown towards the end. Nature is funny, right? Glad that you enjoyed the recipe either way :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Julia Runyon08/02/2019 - 11:36 am

    Could this be a good candidate for a slow cooker on a weeknight? Looks like the perfect hearty meal for this time of year.ReplyCancel

    • Laura11/02/2019 - 3:49 pm

      Hi Julia,
      If you were trying this on a slow cooker from start to finish and just putting everything in the insert and turning it on, I’d reduce the wine by half. I’m willing to bet that you wouldn’t need as much of the cashew cream at the end either.

      I’m just worried that it will come out too wet and not nearly as flavourful since you won’t get that direct high heat contact at all. I think it will work okay, but I’m skeptical of whether the finished product’s flavour will be all the way there. Just my honest opinion!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Gwyn08/02/2019 - 8:11 pm

    Oooooh, I wanna kidnap this and stuff it in a lasagna recipeReplyCancel

  • Laura09/02/2019 - 1:26 pm

    This looks amazing for these cold winter days! Any suggestions on an alternative to red wine?ReplyCancel

    • Laura11/02/2019 - 3:50 pm

      I would just use a splash of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar and about a 1/4 cup of vegetable stock. You’re just looking to add a bit of acidity and liquid in this step.
      -LReplyCancel

      • Laura12/02/2019 - 11:45 pm

        Thank you so much! Just finished making and eating it and the substitution worked great — it’s delicious!! I will definitely come back to this again and again, especially if I need a meal that seems special or impressive. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Ali10/02/2019 - 2:26 am

    No apologies for carbs!! I’m loving it!ReplyCancel

  • caren magill10/02/2019 - 3:32 pm

    Hey there!

    I just met your website and I’m in love – from your photography, to your stories and your recipes – it’s all amazing. Also love that you’re from Toronto, too.

    I grew up in Richmond Hill. I live in California now and I can’t say enough about the winters here. Snow is just not my jam.

    So glad I found you!

    XOReplyCancel

  • Renée10/02/2019 - 8:04 pm

    the very best vegan bolognese sauce I’ve made so far. So rich and creamy. And satisfying. Thanks Laura.ReplyCancel

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