Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese

Thick, rich and savory sauce – thanks to mushrooms not meat – Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese!
Vegetarian Bolognese

“Joyful food columnist. Disastrous home cook.”

This doesn’t sound like your typical food writer but it’s the Twitter description of Kellie Hynes, a columnist for Sauce Magazine.  Her stories of adventure and misadventure in the kitchen leave me hungry for more. As I read her column, I take a seat as a ‘fly on the wall’ to watch and learn how somewhat magical dishes emerge from her kitchen. This Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese is inspired by that kitchen.

slow cooker bolognese

I want to try out every one of Kellie’s recipes – and it’s saying a lot; because everything Kellie cooks is vegan. Yup, vegan.

On the other hand, I grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana. Bacon, cheese and eggs are always in my fridge.

When I saw her recipe for Pappardelle with Bolognese, I knew I had to immediately start up my slow cooker. Now, her version was not of the slow cooker variety but I didn’t have the time or patience for the stove work. In all this snow…there was sledding to be done, after all.

slow cooker bolognese

Oh, man…after 4 hours in the slow cooker, when I lifted the lid, I seriously did a double-take. I could’ve sworn there was meat in that crock. It was amazing how the mushrooms had morphed into a thick, even meaty-looking sauce. The taste was soooo rich and savory – and the hearty ‘gravy’ just clung to every strand of thick pasta.

Once again, my vegan friend (I can call her a pal – as I recently met her at a St. Louis blogger event) and “disastrous home cook” created a bit more magic in her kitchen. And thanks to her inspiration, my slow cooker did too.

Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese |


Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese

Loads of savory flavor comes from mushrooms – not meat – in this hearty sauce. Vegetariavegan-friendlyendly.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 package (14-16 oz) white button mushrooms, pulsed 15 times in food processor until coarsely chopped, but not pureed


  1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, rosemary, nutmeg, and crushed pepper: continue cooking until the vegetables have softened and started to brown, about 2 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and balsamic vinegar, pulling up any bits from the bottom of the pan while stirring with wooden spoon.
  2. Carefully transfer to the slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes and sugar. Stir the mushrooms into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Serve over pasta.

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We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

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