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Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese

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 |

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Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese |

Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese

5 from 1 review


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.

Have you ever made the classic meat-filled Italian slow-cooked sauce?

Donna Jarvis

Sunday 28th of April 2019

I made this for a party and it is absolutely delicious! There wasnt a scrap left and EVERYONE asked me for the recipe!

Deanna Segrave-Daly

Monday 29th of April 2019

We love hearing this!! Thanks for sharing :) We also have quickie version of this recipe in our 30 Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook:

David Price

Sunday 2nd of December 2018

Your Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese is just excellent! I'm sure your kids love it! I just can't wait to make one for my family! Thanks for sharing!

Serena Ball

Monday 3rd of December 2018

Thanks for visiting, David. Enjoy...maybe with home-grown mushrooms?! It's a favorite here, for sure.

Sara Haas

Friday 3rd of March 2017

Dreamy! I love bolognese and I love your vegetarian twist on it! Yum!

Serena Ball

Monday 6th of March 2017

Thanks Sara. Honored by your comment - from a real chef!

Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen

Friday 3rd of March 2017

Mmm two of my favorite things, bolognese and mushrooms! I've got to give this a try soon while the weather is still chilly!

Serena Ball

Monday 6th of March 2017

Thanks Lauren. Here's hoping you get to try this before it hits 60-degrees like it is here now!

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Sunday 29th of March 2015

[…] Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese […]

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