This is on of those recipes that was created by mistake. I originally planned on making some Veggie Balls but I had the hardest time at making them bind. I was already relinquishing in frustration when I realized that what I was left with had great potential for a vegan Bolognese sauce. My failed Veggie Balls were suddenly on redemption road.
The lentils offer a texture very similar to ground beef and when you add some simple aromatics and a great tomato sauce, you end up with with a very healthy alternative to a classic Bolognese sauce. The trick is to roast the lentils after they are cooked to get a grittier, drier texture similar to meat. I am a huge Pasta fan and trust me on this one, you won’t be disappointed.
1 cup lentils
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Homemade or store bought Marinara Sauce
- Preheat your oven at 400 degrees.
- In a large pot, combine the lentils and 3 cups water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.
- In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook at a medium heat until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the tomato paste and stir for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until all the vegetables soften. Transfer to a bowl and when it is cooler, add the lentils.
- Add the walnuts, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan (if using) to the bowl and mix thoroughly until everything is incorporated.
- Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on a baking sheet and coat the entire surface using your hands
- Transfer the lentil vegetable mixture to the sheet, pressing gently to get an even layer.
- Roast for 3o minutes and set aside.
- In a large saute pan, combine the lentils and Marinara sauce and stir, mixing thoroughly. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Serve over the Spaghetti of your choice. I served these over Brown Rice Pasta to boost the protein intake and it was delicious.