Easy Mushroom Ragu
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Rich and savory portobello mushroom ragu is a flavor-filled vegetarian main dish! Serve this thick and hearty sauce over cheesy polenta or your favorite pasta.
Are you’re craving an easy vegetarian dinner? This mushroom ragu recipe is hearty and rich-tasting, and it’s completely meatless.
You’re going to love this sauce! It tastes complex and slow-cooked like a true wild mushroom ragout, but you can simmer this in a little less than an hour.
It makes a fantastic one-bowl meal served over creamy Parmesan polenta.
I’ve included the recipe for my go-to perfect creamy polenta, an essential recipe for foolproof buttery soft polenta.
Although the combo of cheesy polenta and this super-tasty wild mushrooms sauce feels and tastes totally indulgent, I have no problem whatsoever tagging this recipe as “healthy” (heh heh).
After all, polenta is a gluten-free whole grain, and the robust, chunky sauce is vegetarian, full of fiber and mineral-rich portobellos.
Although a traditional Italian-style ragu or Bolognese meat sauce is a slow-cooked sauce based on meat (beef and/or pork), this mushroom sauce is just as rib-sticking and satisfying, only it’s completely meatless.
I’m always amazed when I make this — the flavors are so savory it’s hard to stop eating it. It’s definitely one of those portobello mushroom recipes that’s a total keeper.
Ingredients to make mushroom ragu
One reason this dish tastes so delicious is that it includes ingredients that happen to be full of umami, a word that basically translates from Japanese to mean “yummy”:
- Tomato paste
- Fresh mushrooms: Portobellos or creminis have the best meaty texture.
- Garlic cloves
- Dried or fresh herbs: Rosemary or thyme
- Parmesan Cheese
- Balsamic Vinegar
This same mushroom ragu is amazing on pasta too — we love it with Pappardelle Pasta with Mushroom Ragu
How to prepare portobello mushrooms:
- Choose mushrooms with firm, unbroken caps.
- Look for unbroken gills that are light brown in color. If the gills are moist or turning black, use a spoon to scrape them out and discard. Trim off the stems.
- Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp towel if they seem dirty, but don’t soak them in water or they’ll get soggy.
- Slice into thick slices or chunks about 1-inch for the best chunky sauce.
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Easy Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta
Portobello Mushroom Ragu
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound (500 g) portobello mushrooms caps, sliced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ⅓-½ cup (75-125 ml) vegetable stock or water
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Parmesan Polenta
- Put the olive oil, shallots and a pinch of salt in a large (12-inch) skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened, but not browned.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan, Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they take on some color, then stir and add 1/2 teaspoon salt (this helps them release their water). Continue cooking until the mushrooms become tender and the liquid evaporates.
- Stir in the garlic, rosemary or thyme, chili, tomato paste, vinegar and butter. Add 1/3 cup of the stock or water and stir until the mixture becomes saucy, adding more liquid if needed.
- Serve the ragu over Parmesan Polenta with grated Parmesan.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Make ahead: The sauce will keep up to 5 days, refrigerated.
- Serve the ragu over Parmesan Polenta, toasted crusty bread or your favorite pasta.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
A shuveni mushroom Ragu. Five stars 🌟
I’ve been searching for a recipe like this for a long time. So simple and quick but packed with flavor. Added carrots. Satisfies my craving for meaty kind of meal. Amazing work!
I’m a beginner and had an easy time. Used instant polenta and doubled the garlic. Was so good, will definitely be a repeater.
This was so delicious! I think someone said it tasted like it had been cooking all day. I couldn’t believe how much richness of flavor was in this with so little effort. My husband who doesn’t get too excited about my cooking, love it too! Thank you so much~
I’m so happy you all enjoyed it!
My son loves this recipe. Best thing I’ve made him.
I’ve made this several times now, and it’s quickly become a favorite! Because of where I live I can’t always get portabella, but baby bella, cremini , and even white button have all worked well for me. Thank you for a reliable and quick meal that tastes gourmet!
This was super. I used white mushrooms and a roll of polenta from Trader Joe’s. Even with the shortcuts, it was excellent. I will make this again.
I added a little marsala wine at the end and let it cook down and it was delicious. My husband never liked polenta until tonight!
This was so delicious! I used sliced baby Bellas and they were fantastic! A+++++
This is SO GOOD! Next time I think I will double the sauce. The flavors are intensely delicious! This is a definite keeper.
So happy to hear that!
a quick google search would have saved you the embarrassment of saying umami “basically translates” to yummy. The Japanese word for yummy is “oishi” where umami is a reference to the sixth flavor profile of savory. Do research before sounding like an appropriating fool
Hi Katie – Whether or not you agree with me on the way I described this dish, I hope you try it because it is really yummy!
How gracious you are…
Someone clearly woke up on the wrong side of their broomstick …
I am going to make this for a group of 6 and I’m wondering what the portion size is for the polenta and the ragu ( I will double the ragu recipe). Thanks. It looks delicious!
Hi Gloria – The polenta can serve 4-6, depending on how you’re planning your menu and the appetites of your guests. I think if you also have salad, maybe bread, etc. you don’t need to make a double batch of it. Good call on doubling the sauce though!
How much will I ruin the flavor if I used baby bellas? I have some from a recipe I was going to make until plans changed last minute!
No, not at all!
This is SO good!!! Seriously. Thank you for this recipe!!
Incredibly savory and so flavorful!! Will definitely add this to the rotation! Only comment is on the polenta. The recipe made way more than I anticipated but tasted fantastic! My husband and I scraped as much as we could off the bowls.
We absolutely loved this! Next time I will double the sauce!
Just the title of this dish makes me want to make (and eat) it! Thanks for sharing. XO
My daughter sent this to me last week. Perfect fall dish, and the flavors where perfect! I added more garlic, because! Such a good comfort meal. Thank you!