It’s the time of the year when all we crave is comfort food. The evenings are cold, the red wine is flowing, and what better to go with it than a big plate of pasta!
Since becoming a pescetarian 9 years ago, spaghetti sauce is one of the few things I miss. A simple pomodoro sauce isn’t the same because it doesn’t have the same weight. But, this is a vegetarian version that is flavorful, rich and definitely filling. I challenge any meat lover to try this version – it hits a sweet spot on a cold night.
I will also tell you if you are not the biggest mushroom fan – my husband HATES mushrooms. But he unknowingly gobbled this right up. You can’t really taste them, but they are needed to make the texture of this sauce just right!
Lentil & Mushroom Spaghetti Bolognese
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced, about 1 cup
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 4 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms
- 2 tbsp rosemary leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup dry lentils, cooked
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp fresh sage
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- Pecorino or Parmesan cheese to taste, shaved
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook lentils according to instructions on package.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and carrot and pinches of salt and pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, another pinch of salt, and cook until soft, stirring only occasionally, about 8 more minutes.
3. Stir in the most of the rosemary (saving some for garnish). Stir in the garlic, then add the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and stir to incorporate. Add the diced tomatoes, lentils, tomato paste, sage, and fresh cherry tomatoes. Add in the extra 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and stir.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add water, ⅓ cup at a time, to thin. Season to taste.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain.
6. Top spaghetti with sauce. Top with fresh basil, rosemary, and shavings of cheese.
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