Hearty Mushroom & Beet Bolognese

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 17 votes

Mushroom and beet bolognese is a hearty, delicious, and comforting vegan dinner recipe that will satisfy anyone at the table. Slight creaminess from cashew cream fill the sauce out while mushrooms and lentils make the bolognese base slightly meaty.

A head on shot of a bowl of meaty, deep red vegan bolognese pasta.
An overhead shot of a deep red mushroom and beet bolognese pasta in two wide serving bowls.
A pair of tongs is shown lifting a deep red bolognese pasta from the pot.
An overhead shot of some fresh beets with greens attached.
Two images show mushrooms being finely chopped in a food processor.
An overhead shot of raw ingredients needed for a vegan bolognese on a platter.
Two images show an open can of tomatoes and dry pasta.

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.

For a faster, still super meaty and satisfying version, check out my 30-Minute Easy Lentil Bolognese.

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 beet and blood orange smoothie or this avocado tartare with roasted beets.

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

Two images show a finely chopped mushroom mixture being cooked down in a pot.
Image shows a bright white creamy liquid being added to a pot with a thick red sauce.
Image shows a hand holding a spatula stirring a vegan bolognese sauce.
An overhead shot of a deep red, meaty vegan bolognese pasta in a pot.
An overhead shot of a bowl of vegan bolognese pasta.

Vegan Mushroom & Beet Bolognese

Mushroom and beet bolognese is a hearty, crowd-pleasing, and delicious vegan main course. Perfect Winter supper that will satisfy vegans and meat-eaters alike!
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings 4


  • 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 olive oil
  • 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 miso)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (I always prefer the fire-roasted ones by Muir Glen)
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lb long and wide pasta noodles of choice, such as tagliatelle or pappardelle



  • 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.


  • 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.
06/02/2019 (Last Updated: 06/02/2019)
Posted in: autumn, cashews, earthy, gluten free option, lentils, main course, mushrooms, pasta, refined sugar-free, salty, sauce, spring, summer, tomatoes, umami, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • I have made this recipe at least 10 times now and don’t plan on slowing down. It has become a weekly staple. It is so carby and satisfying but filled with so many vegetables! I never feel weighed down after eating like I usually do with pasta dishes. What I appreciate most about this recipe (and most all of Laura’s recipes) is that you have to put a little labor of love and real cooking into the dish. Her recipes may sometimes be intensive but they really are so worth it. I love the art of cooking real, good, flavorful dishes and Laura’s blog is my go-to for recipe inspiration. Like she recommends, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the experience (: Highly recommend this recipe and all of her recipes. Thanks Laura!

  • We loveeeeee traditional bolognese. But this one! Oh wow!! It’s so delicious! It so hearty and it has a lot of depth of flavor. We made it during quarantine and we were out of lentils, only had frozen mushrooms, and we used Oatly instead of cashew milk. It did not disappoint! Will definitely be keeping this on repeat.

  • This recipe is devine. But in all honesty, ALL your recipes so far have been amazing!!!

  • I switched out the Lentils for Barley. OMG divine.

  • Last night I made this for my mushroom avoiding boyfriend. Well let me tell you that he gobbled it right up and couldn’t even detect the shrooms! I had to alter the recipe slightly as I didn’t have beets or tomato paste but it turned out incredible none the less! We served the bolongese over a mix of raw zucchini noodles and whole wheat fettuccine. Perfection all around!

  • Thank you so much for this creative and delicious recipe! We have only been plant-based since October so this was a welcome meal for former meat eaters. Every person in my family enjoyed it, including my 13 year old somewhat picky daughter. I forgot to soak the cashews so I used a can of coconut milk. I also made fresh pasta. This recipe is a keeper. Your photography is some of the best I’ve seen online, very impressive.

  • Hi Laura. Happy Easter. I hope you are fairing well during these challenging times. Looking forward to making this dish. Since we are short on cashews I was wondering if there is anything else I can use. I actually have cashew butter. Also have coconut milk. Would either work? Can the cashew butter be whizzed in the vitamix with water to thin down?
    Made and love lots of your creations! Your nut butter brownies are a weekly staple at our household and are a true mood boosters these days.
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Ayelet!
      Thanks for this comment. WHizzing up cashew butter with water in the blender is your best bet here! I utilize this trick all the time when I’m out of raw cashews :)

      • Thanks so much Laura. Made it tonight. Sooooooo good. Incredibly complex and heart warming good. Just what the doctor ordered.
        Keep em coming and thanks for another stellar recipe!

  • Do I use the convection roast setting on my oven to roast the beets? Or do I use the bake setting? What temperature should I set it to? Clueless new chef over here!

  • Hi, I tried this and felt I’d like to try it again but with something different than beets. We really liked this but beets not so much… Do you think it would work with carrots instead? Or some combination of root vegetables? Thank you for your great recipes!

    • Carrots would be great!

  • Hi Laura,
    I just wanted to say how ridiculously amazing this recipe is! I thought I had nailed the bolognese recipe but no – this has to be the best one out there! Well done, and thank you for your amazing recipes out there. xx

  • I was in search of a great sauce to go over pasta or spaghetti squash and this exceeded all of my expectations! This turned out to be one of the best sauces I’ve made with many compliments from those lucky enough to join me for dinner. I threw the beets / mushrooms / onions (all separately) in the my food processor for a quick few pulses to get them broken down into a small dice which gave the sauce the perfect consistency, like a true bolognese. Cannot express how amazing this came out – so flavorful! Thank you for the incredible recipe, I’ve shared it out with all of my friends.

  • About how many cups of beets is this? I think I may have used too much since mine came out very purple.

    • Hi Sara, I’m guessing around 3/4 cup of chopped beets total. It will really depend on the freshness and how recently cooked your beets are! Some people have tagged me when they made this recipe on Instagram and it was full-on fuschia while others have the more muted reddish-brown that I have in the photos here. Just the way nature is! ;)

  • Made this with some friends for dinner last night and we were all amazed by the taste of the sauce! We ended up using pre-cooked beets and it still turned out great :)
    I’m pretty sure we’ll all be making this again, as it was simply delicious and definitly not leaving any “meatiness” to be desired!
    Much love,

  • This! is what I’ll be dreaming about and making tomorrow. Thanks for creating.

  • I made this tonite, and it was a huge hit! My hubby, who is not plant-based, loved it! We’ll be making this one again soon. Thank you!

  • Uh-mazing….I did a few subs as I didn’t have all the ingredients. Red wine vinegar and some soy sauce instead of miso paste and it still turned our brilliant. This will definitely be a recipe I make again!

  • Wonderful, warm pasta dinner on a chilly January evening! I’m new to plant based cooking, and the number of steps was somewhat daunting, but your instructions were outstanding. The sauce came together perfectly. Excellent flavor, texture, and appearance (it was a hit with my skeptical, beet-averse husband). I’m looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

  • Thank you for this recipe; I’ve had it pinned for ages and finally made it tonight.

  • This was the second time I’ve made this recipe – love it. I stopped eating beef and pork a year ago and do miss a good bolognese, but this recipe hits the spot! This time I only used 1 beet, chopped super fine and substituted about 1/4 cup soy creamer for the the cashew cream (was out of cashews). I also increased the amount of lentils for more heartiness and protein. I love that your recipes rely on whole, plant ingredients instead of processed meat substitutes.

    My meat-eating boyfriend sent me a message that he ate some of my leftovers and they’re SO DELICIOUS!!!!!

    A win in my book! Thank you for your amazing recipes!


  • love love love this pasta recipe! Made it for the second time tonight and loving it, so full of flavour!

    The first time i made this dish, i stored some leftover in the freezer and after a month in the freezer it tasted still soo good, maybe even better!

  • This has become one of my new favorite recipes! Made this last night and it was incredible. Super hearty and fully of flavor. My husband enjoyed too even though he usually isn’t a huge beet fan. Thank you!

  • Hi Just wondering what I could use instead of Miso. Maybe a bit of tamari and liquid smoke? Just Miso doesn’t seem to agree with me that well.

    • I think substituting tamari and liquid smoke is a great idea! Have you tried alternative miso options? (chickpea, brown rice, aduki bean etc)

  • This recipe was sooooo delicious! Even my mushroom hating, beet abhorring husband liked it. the only thing… mine turned out bright PINK! Like really pink. I didn’t even use the full amount of beets. How can I remedy this for next time?

  • This is my favorite pasta dish now! I made it twice and I just want to make it again and again! Thank you so much :)

  • Are there any other nuts that you could substitute for the cashews. My daughter is allergic! I’m new to vegan/vegetarian cooking and there is so much cashew in recipes! But this one sounds worth the comment!!

    • Hi Becca!
      Instead of making the cashew “cream” you could use any unsweetened creamer you like (about 1 cup total). If you still want to make the cream yourself, you could also use the following instead of cashews: raw macadamia nuts, raw sunflower seeds, or blanched almonds (increase soaking time to at least 4 hours).

  • This took a lot of work, but it’s tasty! I ended up throwing most of the veggies in at once, to save active time, and then let it all simmer for almost two hours. Loved the earthiness. Please keep up the Italian recipes! The mushroom lentil meatballs are still one of my favorites!

  • I never ever leave comments, but I must say…this was amazing.. Good bolognese is one of the few things I have really missed since going plant based.. You made this Itallians snowy Maine day today!!

  • This was so very good. But…i think i used a few too many beets because the color was a deep magenta. We loved it, but i think many couldn’t tolerate the color. But so delicious–best to make it a day or two before you serve it just to let it develop. thanks for the great recipes!

  • I make nearly all of your recipes, as a rule, but this one was DAMN good. I’m totally making it for my vegan-skeptical in-laws!

  • I really enjoyed this recipe–it gets printed and a permanent home in my recipe folder. Delicious.

  • Hi Laura!

    I finally took time to make this recipe. I have been following your blog for a while now, I also own your book and this is by far one of your best recipes. I am a flexitarian and I can easily say that this recipe has more depth and flavor to it than many meat bolognese sauces.

    Thank you so much for sharing, I will make this a staple at my house.

  • Mine is definitely pink but this is SO GOOD!

  • Laura, you’ve got me drooling! This sounds and looks amaying and I so need to try it. Also, nothing wrong with carb heavy meals, keep ’em coming ;)

  • This is delicious!!! Made as is with the thyme and coconut amino recommendations, but I did sub ground turkey for the lentils. Very delicious!!! Also, best excuse to buy wine.

  • Delicious! Made it last night for the whole family, and it was a hit. Will make again for sure.

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

  • 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!


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

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

    • 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.

      • 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!

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

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

    • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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 :)

  • Do you dice the beets before or after roasting?

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

      • Thanks! Made this tonight it was insanely delicious.

  • 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?”

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

  • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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!!!!

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

  • 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 you

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

      • Thanks for a great recipe! Made it tonight as directed. Lovely flavour and texture!

    • Hi Carolina, lentils are not grains they are legumes.

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

  • 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!

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

  • 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?

    • 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.

    • Hey I recently made this and the sauce was extremely purple and not like the images in the recipe? Is there anything I can do to change it