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 mushroom risotto or butternut squash noodles, all of these meals have to pass the “husband test.” This Mushroom & Lentil Ragu certainly did.
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 Mushroom & Lentil Ragu 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 Mushroom & Lentil Ragu over your favorite pasta for a filling vegetarian meal that will leave you satisfied all night!
Mushroom & Lentil Ragu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked through
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 box (16 ounces) spaghetti
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- 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.