This beef and mushroom bolognese is served over farro. It’s a thick, hearty meal somewhere between sauce and chili, so perfect for a cold winter day.

The holidays are over and so begins the worst part of the year, at least when you live in New York. It’s still getting dark at 4 something in the afternoon, it’s cold, constantly gray and I get cabin fever like woah.

Thankfully, knowing this happens every year, Ulysses strategically took vacation in February so we could specifically get the heck out of dodge when all this is going down and I’m about to lose my mind from seasonal depression (or something close to it at least).

The groupon surfing began last night and Costa Rica is a hot contender right now.

Jungles, beaches, zip-lining and white water rafting sound a lot better than blankets, couches and semi-hibernation.

Beef and mushroom bolognese
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There is one good part about this time of year though and that would be cozy, comforting, permeate-the-house with delicious simmering smells kind of meals.

If there’s anything good about winter, it’s that it makes me want to cook all day long and just eat hearty stews, soups, sauces and chili. 

A few recipes to check out that fit that category –> apple cider braised lamb, Italian tomato pasta soup and Moroccan lamb lentil stew

This beef and mushroom bolognese is just that. And its cousin, this beef and mushroom stew made in the Instant Pot is just as much!

If you’ve read for any length of time here, you know I’m not really down with resolutions. Mindful healthier eating, sure. Resolutions, not so much.

Since we’re about 3 days out from the New Year though, I will say this is exactly what I mean by mindful healthier eating.

There’s nothing un-healthy about this dish but it’s not glaringly health food (nor does it have the word skinny slapped in front of it <– omg, one of my BIGGEST pet peeves.

Food/ingredients can’t be skinny. Skinny = “very lean, thin or emaciated” according to the dictionary) either.

It’s made with fresh, seasonal, whole ingredients, an approach I think we should strive for year round instead of unsustainable extremes at the turn of the year or before big events.

Beef and mushroom bolognese over farro

Anyway, to jump back down off the soapbox, this bolognese is where it’s at for these still long and cold winter days when you want healthy comfort.

I’ve made traditional bolognese in the Instant Pot and while these are similar, this beef and mushroom bolognese is a little more like a cross between a stew and a meat sauce.

I love it when I want something a little more amped up than traditional bolognese but with all that thick, hearty, meaty goodness of the classic recipe.

Check out this lentil bolognese for a vegetarian alternative, lamb bolognese for an easy meat swap, or, try venison stroganoff for a similar vibe.

This recipe is packed with flavor from the balsamic blend vinegar (a fun surprise ingredient!) as well as red wine, rosemary and thyme and it’s served over a bed of farro.

The mushrooms add a lovely savory umami flavor to the beef. If you love mushrooms for that, be sure to try this wild mushroom soup recipe too.

You could easily serve it over pasta, rice, any other grain or even in a spaghetti squash boat too, but I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with farro lately as evidenced by this blueberry farro yogurt bowl and the un-blogged handful of other recipes I’ve been using it in.

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Beef and Mushroom Bolognese

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
This beef and mushroom bolognese is served over farro. It’s a thick, hearty meal somewhere between sauce and chili, so perfect for a cold winter day.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces cipollini onions, peeled whole
  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms, any variety will work, I used white and portobello
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Nakano balsamic blend seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups broth, chicken or beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup farro


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add the beef, break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula and cook until browned.
  • Transfer beef with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside. Drain any excess fat from the pot.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.
  • Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot and cook for 3-5 minutes, just enough to get some color on them, but before the mushrooms start releasing their liquid. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pot.
  • Add the carrots, shallots, thyme, rosemary and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the rice vinegar and let reduce by half, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the wine and reduce by half again, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir to combine, cook 1 minute.
  • Add the broth and transfer the beef and mushroom/onion mixture back to the pot. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce to a low simmer and cover.
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • While bolognese cooks, make farro by combining 1 cup of farro and 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and cook until water is completely absorbed by the farro, about 25 minutes.
  • Serve bolognese on top of cooked farro with parmesan cheese.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 704kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 43gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 414mgFiber: 9gSugar: 15g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American


Farro beef and mushroom bolognese

More Nakano recipes:
Cilantro mango wild rice salad
Sea salt and vinegar beet chips
Grilled scallop citrus ceviche
Spicy rosemary tomato peach chutney
Turkey and sage stuffed apples
Brussels sprouts pumpkin and apple hash
Winter chopped kale salad

*This post is sponsored by Nakano, all content and opinions are my own.

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. Do you think a different type of beef would work in this? I’ve been using ground beef a lot for quick dinners in the madness of the Holidays and I’m kinda over it, but this dish looks so good…

    1. Bolognese is typically made with ground meat of some sort. I’m sure you could use another cut of beef but it won’t really be bolognese any more, more like a stew.

  2. I am so sad it took me this long to see this recipe – how positively gorgeous is this, Gina!! I need it immediately! I have a ton a barley to use, I might have to make that swap just to use up the ton I bought at the store. YUM!

  3. Don’t even get me started on skinny recipes. Using low fat eggnog in fudge does not make it skinny fudge. Ahem. Anyway, I’m loving the sound of this comforting bolognese, especially if we get snow as bad as we did last January.

  4. I agree 10000% re: “skinny”, and the inherent body-shaming in the term is an even bigger problem for me than the poor usage. NO THANKS. But this bolognese looks sublime! So dark and rich and satisfying for winter dinners.

  5. It’s funny – I use rice vinegar 80% of the time but my husband prefers balsamic. This is the best of both worlds! We had a similar pasta last night for dinner.. :)

  6. If the recipe has the word “skinny” in it, I usually skip it out of spite! HATE when people do that! No sorry, I want REAL WHOLE food, but skinny food :P

  7. How did I not know there was a balsamic rice vinegar blend!? I totally need to try that! This looks like a healthy AND comforting meal. Such a win! Pinned :)