Let’s pretend it’s Meatless Monday, even though it’s Wednesday. I’m a big fan of meatless meals in general, and try to eat them at least once a week. While I’m generally pretty satisfied with a plate of veggies and grains, all of these meals have to pass the “husband test.”
A sure sign that a meatless meal did not have enough substance? A few hours after dinner, Jeff sneaks off to the kitchen and returns with a handful of peanuts. And then does it again. And then maybe makes some popcorn. Usually by this point, my stomach is rumbling too, so I grab my own bowl of popcorn. That’s when I’ve realized that my vegetarian dinner clearly didn’t have enough substance to get us through until breakfast the next morning.
This #WeekdaySupper is, without a doubt, the most satisfying meatless meal I have ever made. I think that both lentils and mushrooms have a quite “meaty” quality to them, and knew they would sub in for meat in a ragu pretty seamlessly. Sure enough, the lentils soaked up the flavors of garlic, tomatoes and spices, and the mushrooms added even more substance to this hearty sauce. Serve this lentil & mushroom ragu over your favorite pasta for a filling vegetarian meal that will leave you satisfied all night!
In large saucepot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, carrot, bell pepper and onion. Cook until vegetables are very brown and soft, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add wine; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Use wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of pan.
Stir in bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, water, lentils, oregano, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water, as needed, if ragu gets too thick. Remove bay leaf and stir in basil.
Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to package directions.
Serve ragu over spaghetti. Garnish with parsley and serve with Parmesan cheese.