Easy mushroom and lentil Bolognese with pesto zoodles | Blackmores

RECIPE: Easy mushroom & lentil Bolognese

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High in protein, low in starchy carbohydrates, this plant-based (and delicious) alternative to a classic pasta dish is the perfect easy weeknight meal.

Mushrooms make up the bulk of this sauce and help this plant-based Bolognese to be as flavourful and hearty as the traditional version. 

Mushrooms are a source of B vitamins including riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid which assist your metabolism as well as your nervous system. 

They are also a source of selenium, an antioxidant mineral which can often be missed in our day-to-day diet. Selenium supports healthy immune system function and protects cells from free radicals. 

Mushrooms are also one of the only plant-based sources of vitamin D making them a perfect winter food when sun exposure is low. 

Look for the freshest Portobello mushrooms you can find or you can also use Swiss brown mushroom as they are deeper and richer in flavour than white mushrooms and provide the meaty texture you want for the sauce. 

Zoodles are noodles made out of zucchinis. Use a peeler or mandolin to make them if you don’t have a specific spiralising tool. You don’t have to use them for this dish but they make it a lighter and higher protein meal and are a quick, fresh substitute to a regular wheat pasta. 

Get yourself home from work or school, prepare a batch of the sauce in minutes and while it’s cooking away on the stove, prep your noodles in time for your one-pot wonder Bolognese sauce to be poured all over them. 

vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

Serves 4

Ingredients

Mushroom and lentil Bolognese sauce

  • 1 brown onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into four pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 375g Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup dried whole green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 400g can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1½ cups vegetable stock
  • 400g jar your favourite natural tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • A pinch of pepper

Pesto zoodles

  • 6 medium zucchinis
  • Rock salt
  • 1 cup fresh basil, stalks and leaves
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast or vegetarian parmesan + extra to serve
  • A generous pinch of rock salt and pepper

How to make

  • Put the onion, carrot and fennel as well as the peeled garlic cloves into your food processor and blitz quickly until everything is roughly chopped. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a lidded pot (that you can cook the whole sauce in) over medium-high heat, add the onion mixture and cook it in the pot for 5 minutes or until everything is soft. Transfer the mixture out of the pot to a another dish and set aside for a moment
  • Without washing your food processor down, put the mushrooms into it and blitz these until they are roughly chopped. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to your empty pot and then add the mushrooms, cooking them on a medium-high heat for another 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture back into the pot as well as the bay leaves, lentils, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Give everything a stir and then add the vegetable stock, pasta sauce, salt and pepper and stir again. Bring the sauce to the boil, then turn it down to be left to slowly simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes
  • While the sauce is cooking, make your zucchini noodles using a spiraliser, a julienne peeler or a mandolin. Once they’re prepared, place them into a mixing bowl. Blitz the basil leaves, spinach, olive oil, nutritional yeast or parmesan and salt and pepper in your food processor until it resembles a green paste and then mix this paste this through the noodles until they are all well coated. Divide the noodles between four bowls and when the sauce is done, top each bowl of zoodles with a generous serving of Bolognese sauce, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or parmesan and a handful of roughly torn basil and/or parsley. Enjoy!

Roberta's tips

  • Store your Bolognese sauce in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze the sauce in batches for up to 3 months. Prepare the zoodles as needed