Bolognese, But Make It Vegetarian (and Packed with Protein)


This plant-based sauce gets its sustenance from protein-packed lentils, while mushrooms lend a depth of flavor reminiscent of meat. Serve over pasta, such as pappardelle, or, for even more veggies, along with roasted spaghetti squash.(Related: A Recipe for Bulgur Salad With Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Tangerine and Pomegranate)

Bolognese with Lentils and Mushrooms

4 to 6 servings


  • 1 package dried wild mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 package cremini mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 1 jar tomato pure (passata)
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Set aside, reserving the soaking liquid.
  2. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the onion, celery, carrot, cremini mushrooms, and garlic into a coarse meal (see Kitchen Tip).
  3. Set a large pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the processed vegetables, and saut for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the tomato paste, ensuring the vegetables are evenly coated, and cook for one minute. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and their soaking water, along with the lentils, tomato pure, thyme, basil, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir, then bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Kitchen Tip: The food processor saves a lot of time when preparing this sauce. Coarsely processing the vegetables also helps them blend right in with the lentils, giving the sauce a uniform texture. This trick works for any bolognese sauce, whether its with meat or a vegetarian version.

Everyday Mediterranean Cookbook PhotoExcerpted from Everyday Mediterranean by Vanessa Perrone. Copyright Vanessa Perrone. Photographs by Ariel Tarr. Published by Appetite Books by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.Next: A No-Fuss Recipe for a Nutrient-Packed Yogurt Tart Topped with Cherry Preserves

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