Red Lentil and Mushroom Spaghetti Bolognese
Who doesn't love a good bowl of pasta? Carlos's favorite pasta is a simple spaghetti with no sauce, just olive oil, lots of garlic, sautéed kale and mushrooms and lots of vegan parm, mine is pesto and definitely anything with tomatoes as a base (assuming Mac and cheese doesn't count because that's its very own food group right?). Add to that lots of chunkiness in the case of spaghetti bolognese and I'm extra happy.
Ok fine, I love any and all forms of pasta.
Of course, we can make a delicious bolognese without using any meat, either with vegan meat crumbles, crumbled tofu or tempeh, chopped seitan, TVP, or, in the case of today's recipe, with something anyone can find at their regular store: lentils and mushrooms.
So here's the deal, red lentils (which are actually a cute pink/orangy color, are actually quite strange, they don't keep their round shape like other lentils do, which means they're not the best choice for cooking and eating whole or using on salads or veggie bowls. They're best in soups, dahls or curries, and in today's recipe and here's why.
When you cook lentils or any beans in a tomato based sauce, or in the presence of any other acidic ingredient (or salt), the outside of the lentils or beans becomes slightly impermeable, meaning they can be harder to cook which is generally a no no. Here's the thing though, with red lentils which are typically mushy, we get the most amazing texture, partly chunky, butt also cooked through.... it's red lentil and tomato alchemy baby!
Enough said, this recipe is so great, and we created it as a special video for our friends at our favorite vegan non-profit Vegan Outreach. Make sure to subscribe to their youtube channel because we regularly make an appearance there when they invite us over to cook up a storm!
Without further ado, here's the video, printable and recipe for this yummy vegan spaghetti bolognese.
RED LENTIL AND MUSHROOM SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE
Yield: 4-5 servings ⎮ Prep time: 15 minutes ⎮ Cook time: 30 minutes
4-5 servings of your favorite spaghetti
Olive oil for the pot
1/2 an onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 a celery rib, finely diced
1/2 a carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 cup finely chopped portobello mushrooms (or regular white mushrooms)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
A splash of white wine (optional)
1/2 cup red lentils
2 (400gr/ 14 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
A handful of fresh herbs like parsley and oregano, chopped (you can also use dried)
A few fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water reserved
Salt and pepper to taste
For topping: almond parm (ground almonds mixed with salt)
- In a pot, add the olive oil and sweat the onion, celery and carrot on low heat until the onions are translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Raise the heat and add the chopped mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir.
- Deglaze the pot with some white wine and let this cook down until very little liquid remains so that the alcohol evaporates.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and 1 cup of water.
- Add the lentils, parsley and oregano, stir, bring up to a simmer, and then lower the heat and cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom.
- While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, and cook your spaghetti until al dente or to your liking. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.
- Uncover the sauce, turn off the heat, and feel free to add some of the reserved pasta cooking water if you’d like your sauce a bit less chunky. Do this to your liking. Taste and adjust the seasoning and tear some fresh basil leaves into the sauce.
- Serve your spaghetti bolognese by serving some of the pasta, topped with the sauce, some almond parm, freshly ground pepper and some whole basil leaves and enjoy!