Vegetarian Herbed Mushroom Bolognese

mushroom bolognese
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

Calories 125
Fat 4g
Carbs 18g
Protein 6g
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 (1 cup each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 125
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 25mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 6g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 6g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 490mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Total Time 40 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 30 min
Servings 8 (1 cup each)

Have you ever tried making homemade Bolognese sauce? It normally takes a long time, with a bunch of simmering, and about a pound of beef or other red meat. While delicious and made with mostly simple ingredients, real Bolognese is not the easiest weeknight dinner and can sometimes be full of saturated fat, depending on the type of meat used.

This healthy version of Bolognese is made with fiber-rich lentils and mushrooms instead of meat for a delicious sauce that simmers for just 30 minutes. It's delicious, filling, and the perfect topping for pasta or your favorite vegetable "noodles." Top with a sprinkle of good quality cheese and a side salad for a meatless meal any night of the week.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry lentils


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over low heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cover and simmer on low heat 30 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

If you won't be using the rest of the bunch of parsley, you may want to opt for buying dried parsley.

Use a tablespoon dried parsley in place of fresh and save the rest for future use.

Use one small can mushrooms, drained and rinsed, in place of fresh if needed.

If your lentils are already cooked, omit the water. Prepping a batch of lentils ahead of time, like at the beginning of the week to use in salads and in this recipe, can save time and effort on the cooking day.

For a spicy version, add one teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Check sauce occasionally and add water as needed as lentils absorb the liquid. Add about two tablespoons at a time.

Serve sauce over whole wheat spaghetti, cooked spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles. Sprinkle with a bit of good quality, freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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