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Shiitake Bolognese

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Even meat lovers will rave about how sumptuous and satisfying this is!

Trio of Pasta Sauces

This might very well be one of the best things I have ever made. I love Classic Bolognese and make it often, but there are times when I want to enjoy those flavors in a dish that is decidedly lighter but equally satisfying. This recipe is similar to beef bolognese with the notable exception that a pound of beef is swapped for 1½ pounds of shiitakes. I use fresh thyme and oregano with a touch of heavy cream to finish the sauce, but if you’re vegan, plant-based, or dairy-free, you certainly can skip the cream. Serve this sauce with pasta or zoodles, or use it for lasagne or baked ziti. The depth of flavor and compelling texture of this new meatless Monday ILOC classic will blow you away!

Essential equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; can opener; large saucepan or stockpot; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; wooden spoon


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 carrots, peeled and finely diced (macédoine)

1½ pounds shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps finely chopped

1, 28 oz. can (or 3½ cups) crushed Italian tomatoes 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves chopped (stems discarded)

4 sprigs of oregano, leaves chopped (stems discarded)

¼ cup heavy cream

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)

ILOC tip: there is no need to spend money on the prettiest, biggest, and best mushrooms when making this dish. Use the misshapen, small, or "seconds" to save money without sacrificing one iota on flavor and texture.

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Swirl to coat the plan and then add the garlic and onion. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until soft without becoming brown.

2. Stir in the carrots and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the finely chopped mushrooms and sauté until softened, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Add in the crushed tomatoes and chopped herbs, and stir well to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, until the sauce has thickened slightly.

4. Add the heavy cream and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the optional chopped parsley.

5. Serve immediately over pasta or noodles with freshly grated Parmesan, or cool the sauce and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

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