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April Fool’s! Bolognese without the beef may be hard to picture, but Colleen’s meatless, mushroom-filled version with a bright and zesty gremolata may beat the original. Brooke, Recipe Hunter

Brooke Jackson-Glidden, NoshOnIt Recipe Hunter


Mushroom Bolognese with Gremolata

Bolognese without the beef

Fooled you! What better way to celebrate April Fool’s Day than with a hearty plate of meatless Bolognese. Bolognese is a classic Italian meat sauce typically made with red wine, garlic and, yes, beef brisket or ground chuck. Instead, Colleen replaces the beef with dried porcini and fresh cremini mushrooms, making the dish meatless without sacrificing taste. The robust, fragrant flavor of dried porcini mushrooms add complexity and depth to the dish, while the fresh heartiness of the cremini add to the bulk of the sauce to replace the beef. She also adds another secret ingredient we love: soy sauce. We know it sounds a little strange, but trust us: a splash of umami, or savory saltiness, counterbalances the sweetness of the canned tomatoes and red wine. To finish with a bit of brightness, she garnishes the dish with an easy Gremolata (a finely-chopped salad of parsley, garlic and lemon zest) to play off the robustness of the Bolognese without overpowering the sauce. The result is a hearty pasta dish that’s so good, you won’t mind being fooled.


Colleen McConnell

Food Blogger, Caterer, Aspiring Registered Dietitian

Colleen McConnell from Culinary Colleen

I like to cook honest food inspired by tradition and great ingredients. Despite my Irish name, much of my cooking is influenced by Mediterranean flavors. Lately, I've been particularly inspired by seasonal produce and making healthy food delicious and accessible.

Colleen is the chef, writer and photographer of Culinary Colleen, a blog based out of Somerville, Massachusetts that focuses on accessible, healthy dishes for chefs of all difficulties. Colleen’s excitement to explore different cooking techniques in an innovative, health-conscious way makes her recipes bright, flavorful and good for you, as well. As a  caterer and aspiring Registered Dietician, she reworks seemingly daunting dishes into fun and flavorful showstoppers. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will love Colleen’s approach to healthy cuisine, no meat required.

Head over to Culinary Colleen and say hello to Colleen on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.



How to Use Dried Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are a cook's secret ingredient that add a deep, fragrant flavor to sauces, soups, and stews. Here's a guide on how to use them properly.

Read the full tip >