Ragù Bolognese is a pasta sauce typical of the rich cuisine of Bologna, Italy. A traditional ragù is made not only with meat but heavy cream as well—not the healthiest of foods. Here we’ve captured the richness of the original by using evaporated milk instead of cream, dried mushrooms for a meaty flavor, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein) for the texture of ground meat.


1/2 cup dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms (1/2 ounce)

1 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as olive or canola oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups dried TVP granules

I cup dry red wine

1/4 cup tomato paste

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup evaporated low-fat (1%) milk

10 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a small heatproof bowl, combine the mushrooms and boiling water; let stand for 20 minutes until softened. Reserving the soaking liquid, scoop out the mushrooms and chop. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms and TVP to the skillet, stirring to combine. Add the wine and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mushroom soaking liquid and the tomato paste, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes.

4. Stir the salt and half of the evaporated milk into the TVP mixture and simmer gently until the milk has been absorbed. Stir in the remaining evaporated milk and simmer 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and creamy.

5. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the cooking pot.

6. Stir in the Parmesan. Transfer the sauce to the pasta pot and toss with the pasta and reserved pasta cooking water. Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts

per serving
calories 497
total fat 8.8g
saturated fat 3.3g
cholesterol 14mg
dietary fiber 13g
carbohydrate 73g
protein 33g
sodium 801mg

Good source of: beta carotene, fiber, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, zinc


TVP is a type of textured soy protein (TSP) made from defatted and dehydrated soy flour. It is available in granular form, which can range from fine to coarse, in health-food stores and in the health-food section in some supermarkets. When rehydrated, TVP absorbs flavors well and has a chewy, meatlike texture.

If you are carefully watching your sodium, be sure to read this before preparing this recipe: Sodium Intake and Salt in Recipes

From The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for a Healthy Heart, edited by Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. and Lora Brown Wilder, Sc.D., M.S., R.D.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 20 Oct 2011

Last Modified: 24 Mar 2015