When my kids were little, their favorite home-cooked meal was my meat sauce over pasta. Back then I made it with turkey meat. But as my cooking became plant-based, my sauce became far less popular at home…it lacked the complexity it once had. I recently decided to try again. After a few attempts, my family was thrilled and actually said this is now one of their top favorite meals again! I hope you love it, too!
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed
- 18-20 button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, skin removed, cut into small chunks
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced (reserve one clove for cooking eggplant)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (reserve one tablespoon for cooking eggplant)
- 1/2 red pepper
- One container crushed tomatoes (18 oz)
- One container tomato sauce (24-26 oz)
- One container tomato paste (3.5 oz)
- 2 tablespoons red wine
- 1 tablespoon honey or Yacon Syrup (vegan and low glycemic)
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1/4 cup fresh basil (minced)
- pinch of salt (himalayan pink or celtic sea salt)
Optional: pasta, polenta, or bean pasta
Optional garnish: nutritional yeast
You will need a large saucepan for the sauce and also a small sauté skillet (6-7 inch should be fine).
- Prepare 1 3/4 cups of boiling water, add lentils and cook for approx 20 minutes (until lentil are soft).
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add garlic.
- When the garlic starts to turn golden, add mushrooms and peppers. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon to keep mushrooms and garlic from burning.
- In a separate skillet, sauté eggplant with remaining 1 clove of chopped garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil until slightly browned. Once browned, add eggplant to the mushrooms in main saucepan.
- Add crushed tomato, sauce, paste, and bay leaf to saucepan, and let come to a gentle simmer.
- Drain lentils and add to the sauce.
- Add wine, honey or yacon and fresh basil, stir and simmer for another few minutes.
Optional garnish: Nutritional yeast
Serve over pasta, polenta, or bean pasta (gluten free).