Winter recipe: Lentil and mushroom bolognese from 'Everyday Mediterranean'

A plant-based pasta sauce that is both comforting and easy-to-make

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Images and recipe provided.

Seeing as Eat North HQ is based in the Prairies, you best believe we are huge advocates of lentils.

One of the most promiment crops in the entirity of Canadian agriculture, the majority of lentils grown in Canada are produced in Saskatchewan, as well as small portions of Alberta and Manitoba. Rich with protein and other nutrients, any variety of lentil makes for an idyllic substitute for meat in dishes like bolognese, lasagna, and so much more.

Image for Winter recipe: Lentil and mushroom bolognese from 'Everyday Mediterranean'

Dietitian and author Vanessa Perrone joins us in the chorus of lentil praise with this recipe from her new cookbook Everyday Mediterranean: A Complete Guide to the Mediterranean Diet with 90+ Simple, Nourishing Recipes.

"This plant-based sauce gets its sustenance from protein-packed lentils, while mushrooms lend a depth of flavour reminiscent of meat. Serve over pasta, such as pappardelle, or, for even more veggies, along with roasted spaghetti squash," explains Vanessa Perrone in the introduction to her recipe for this vegan bolognese.

Whether you're an omnivore or an herbivore, we think you'll find much comfort in this recipe!

Lentil and mushroom bolognese

1 package of dried wild mushrooms

1 cup (250 mL) boiling water

1 onion, quartered

1 celery stalk, cut into chunks

1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks 1 package (8 oz/227 g) cremini

mushrooms 2 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

1 Tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste

1 cup (250 mL) French (Puy) lentils 1 jar (24 oz/680 mL) tomato purée


1 sprig of thyme

½ cup (125 mL) fresh basil 4 cups (1 L) water

Salt and pepper

Soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Set aside, reserving the soaking liquid.


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).


Set a large pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the processed vegetables, and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the tomato paste, ensuring the vegetables are evenly coated, and cook for 1 minute. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and their soaking water, along with the lentils, tomato purée, thyme, basil, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir, then bring to a boil.


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 it’s with meat or a vegetarian version.

Serves 4-6