Lentil & Mushroom “Spag Bol”

Here’s a dish we have been cooking up for years and one that we all recognise. Most people love a spaghetti bolognese, it’s another comfort food meal and one that is easy to do on mass. It is also a meal I would recommend to feed to non-vegans and to cook when you are transitioning to a vegan diet. It’s deep umami flavours and “meaty” minced mushroom texture always pleases the crowd.

You can take this recipe a step further and add in some diced courgette or peppers, with the onion and carrots so it’s a great one for kids too, as you can hide extra vegetables in the mix! Also, who doesn’t love pasta?! If you make a big batch it is really easy to freeze the bolognese mixture in some tuppaware ready to defrost on a busy day. You can also use a tin of green lentils (drained and rinsed) instead of the Puy lentils. We used to make it this way and it is still really good. However when I discovered the magic of Puy lentils I never went back! They have such a great texture and taste and you can buy ready to go packets that are perfect for a meal like this.

My mum always served fried broccoli on top (and I think still does) which I love and it works really well with a sprinkling of vegan cheese and some fresh basil. Actually I think here began my love affair for the simple fried broccoli… Oven roasted crispy kale also goes really nicely on top. This recipe is also calling out to be accompanied by a glass of red wine – if you need an excuse!

Lentil & Mushroom Spag Bol

A delicious vegan version of a classic spaghetti bolognese, using puy lentils and minced mushrooms.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bolognese, lentils, mushrooms, spaghetti
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 carrot
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 250g puy lentils we use Merchant Gourmet brand
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 glass vegan red wine
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp vegan Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar or agave syrup
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil to serve

Instructions

  1. Start by dicing the onion, carrots and celery, or, make quick work of this by blitzing them in the blender. Then, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and when hot add the onions carrots and celery and cook until they begin to soften.

  2. Finely dice the garlic and add to pan. Blend the mushrooms and set to one side, then finely chop the herbs and add along to the pan and cook for a few more minutes before adding the sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms down until they release water and then this liquid is cooked off again (about 8 mins). Season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and then add a glass of vegan red wine and cook until the liquid reduces by half.

  3. Next add in the puy lentils, tomato puree and a tin of tomatoes. Then fill the tin half way with water and add that too. Give it a good stir, then add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, vegan Worcestor sauce, sugar (or agave) and nestle in a bay leaf. Cook down for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the flavour intensifies.

  4. Pop the pasta in a big saucepan with boiling water and a good sprinkling of salt. Cook as per packet instructions (around 10 minutes for spaghetti). Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and serve up, perhaps with a drizzle of olive oil.

  5. Serve the bolognese into the middle of the spaghetti and rip up some fresh basil to sprinkle over the bolognese. We also love to serve this with some simple fried broccoli or oven roasted crispy kale on top and grated vegan cheese to finish.