A couple of weeks ago I went for dinner at Wish, a cozy little restaurant in Toronto with some serious Cali vibes. While there I tried their dinner special, the lentil bolognese and fell in love with it. When it comes down to Italian comfort food, I am weak at the knees. As a pasta fanatic this had to be one of the best vegan pastas I have ever had. It had the heartiness and flavour you’d expect from a bolognese, and so I knew I had to recreate my own version.
Lentils are not only a great source of fibre but they oddly resemble ground beef and it adds the same meatiness you want in a pasta sauce. Normal bolognese can be quite heavy, especially when ground beef is used. If you are watching what you eat in 2017, this is a great meal to kick off your new year. This is a great to make in large batches since the sauce can easily be divided into portions and put into the freezer. With a long cooking process, you definitely want this stuff to last. Served on top of a heaping bowl of spaghetti, this is a dish that any Nona would be proud of, maybe just leave out the part about there not being any meat ?
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- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of vegan butter
- 1/2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
- 1/2 a large white onion, chopped
- 3 chopped celery stalks
- 2 chopped carrots
- 5 chopped mushrooms
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 can of lentils (19 fl oz can)
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- 3/4 cup of non dairy milk
- A pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup of dry white wine (red wine works too, but I like white since it’s lighter)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (I used 3/4th of a 28 fl oz can)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- Water or vegetable stock
- Fresh basil and nutritional yeast to garnish
1) In a large pot on medium heat, add in your olive oil and vegan butter. Add in your onion and chilli flakes and let this cook until the onion has slightly softened. Next, add in your chopped celery and carrot, give this a good stir. After a couple of minutes throw in your mushrooms, garlic, pepper, and salt. Let this cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, add in your can of drained and rinsed lentils.
2) After a couple of minutes, add in your non dairy milk (I used almond) and a pinch of ground nutmeg. After about 5 minutes your milk should be almost evaporated, so then it is time to add your white wine. If you choose to use red wine, add in half a cup since it tends to be richer in flavour. Let the wine cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the wine has almost evaporated.
3) Add in a can of diced tomatoes, I used 3/4th of a 28 fl oz can. Throw in your bay leaf and a sprig of rosemary and give this a good stir. Reduce the heat and let this cook anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir every so often. If you find the mixture becomes too dry, add in a bit of water or vegetable stock.
4) After cooking, give the sauce a taste and see if it needs more seasoning. This sauce is best served with a good sprinkle of nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan and some fresh basil.