Mushroom and Herb Pasta Sauce

by Sally on January 22, 2012 · 5 comments

in Pasta, Sauces & Condiments, The Daniel Plan, Vegan Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes

This is an amazing tasting sauce. My absolute favorite pasta sauce. A recipe I thought I’d save for a future cookbook. But it seemed the right thing to share with you now.

I’m crazy about mushrooms. For years I have made a mushroom pasta sauce, or mushroom marinara, that uses lots of parsley and other herbs. A staple in my house for years, I used to make double batches and freeze it in jars because we ate it so much. It was always handy for a quick and satisfying dinner.

What To Do With Parsley

Cleaning out the vegetable drawer I somehow ended the week with three big bunches of parsley. Fresh, fluffy, green, organic flat-leaf parsley. It was too good to be ignored, allowed to wilt away and get tossed. How to use it? Making my favorite pasta sauce.

Always a bridesmaid but never the bride, parsley is often relegated to the role of supporting actor as simple garnish. In this recipe, parsley plays the foundational role for my mushroom and herb pasta sauce. The parsley lends fresh herbal flavor to this meatless but meaty-tasting sauce filled with mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, onion, celery and herbs.

Prep Vegetables

For fast prep work, a food processor comes in handy. If you have one but don’t use it much, here is your chance to put it to use. You can also prep the vegetables by hand with a chef’s knife.

Strip leaves from two to three large bunches of parsley, discarding the stems. Wash parsley leaves in cool water and dry on layers of paper towels, kitchen towels or in a salad spinner.

Chop the parsley leaves fine. You can use a food processor, pulsing with the steel knife, or chop by hand. Next, slice the mushrooms (good old white mushrooms work fine) and chop some celery. The mushrooms I slice thin in my food processor with the slicing blade. The celery and onions I chop finely by hand.

Simmer and Enjoy

Once your prep work is done, the sauce is easy to complete by simmering the ingredients in a pot until thick and the flavors are melded together. Serve it simply over whole wheat pasta noodles for an easy, healthy dinner. Use it to top stuffed pasta shells. It’s great, too, for topping crisp chicken cutlets with a side of broccolini. It’s a versatile sauce. I hope you enjoy it.   

Mushroom and Herb Pasta Sauce

Meaty-tasting but meatless, mushrooms take the place of meat in this hearty pasta sauce. Add lots of fresh parsley for fresh herbal flavor, tomatoes, garlic, onions and herbs. Use it to top whole wheat pasta or crisp chicken cutlets with a side of broccolini. Make extra as it freezes well.

Yield: about  1 1/2 – 2 quarts or a scant 2 liters


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped parsley leaves, about 2 large, full bunches
  • 1/2 of a small onion, chopped fine
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped fine
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) of white mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1-28 ounces (794 grams) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1-28 ounces (794 grams) canned tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons salt, kosher or sea
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry red wine (or use water)


  1. In a large saucepan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When shimmering, add the parsley, onion and celery. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and herbs, salt, peppers and wine. Simmer covered until all of the flavors are incorporated, about 40 – 45 minutes. If it gets too thick, add a little water to thin it to your preference.

Note – This sauce freezes well. 

More helpful links for your enjoyment:

Great post by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes, What’s the Deal With Parsley?

Dutch Baby Potatoes are wonderful rolled in fresh chopped parsley, a nice side dish for roast chicken and meats

Alice Waters Lentil Salad, with parsley and shallot

Use this sauce to top and bake stuffed shells

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy @What Would Cathy Eat? January 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

Wow, love the massive amount of parsley. I make marinara sauce all the time but want to try your version tonight! I will use Pomi tomatoes, as I stopped using canned tomatoes because of the BPA. (Muir Glen ones don’t have BPA but I don’t love them.)


2 Sally January 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Hi Cathy. Yep, Muir Glen brand is what I used. I’m always careful too about BPA. Good tip on the Pomi. I’ll have to try them. Thanks!

Note for readers – If you are not familiar with BPA, it stands for Bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. It’s often used in the linings of cans. There are many concerns about it. To read more, try this link.


3 Gloria January 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I have mushrooms and parsley in the frigde. Your sauce looks delicious. Looking forward to trying this.


4 Sally January 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I love the sound of all that parsley–one of the few things that you can find all year round. I am definitely putting this on my list to make soon, especially when we want something lighter than the Bolognese sauce I squirrel away in the freezer for those emergency nights when I want something quick. Oh wait, that’s most nights–I need this. I’ve used the Pomi diced tomatoes and prefer them to Muir Glen simply because they break down more easily, good for when you don’t want discrete chunks of tomatoes that won’t melt into the sauce.


5 LJP February 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I think that parsley is a very underrated ingredient. I will try this v. soon!


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