Vegan Bolognese

Remember when the cow escaped from the Brooklyn slaughter house in April 2016? Well, that's all it took for Mike (and I) to stop eating red meat. the cow was doing everything it could to not get caught and go back to the slaughter house, and our dog Sherman kinda looks like a cow/pig, so no more red meat or pork in the Occhipinti house. Up until that moment our week night go-to was skirt steak on the George Foreman. Over the past two years we have made our new staple fish, particularly salmon, but even with Pintrest there are only so many ways to cook creatures of the sea.

Being Italian American, Bolognese sauce is one of my favorites. I remember I would find myself just eating the sauce as my dinner without any pasta I loved it so much. Yes, you can make the sauce with ground turkey or chicken, but I figured let's explore the world of plants and see how it measures up. 

Made with lentils instead of meat I was a little concerned that the chalky lentil taste would take over, but much to my surprise the texture and taste was very balanced! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

PS- this recipe takes a few hours because you really want to cook down the sauce. It makes for a great Sunday Dinner or week night when you have a little extra time :). 

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Vegan Bolognese
Ingredients
1 cup green lentils
     *Protip: soak these for a few hours or overnight to make them easier to digest
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 Vadalia onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Italian parsley (optional) 
3 cups vegetable stock
1 32 oz can San Marzano Peeled tomatoes (you'll thank me later) 
1 can tomato paste
1 TSBP Olive oil
150g Edamame noodles, dried (or any other noodle you like!) 

Directions
Saut√© the olive oil and garlic in a sauce pan. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook for a few minutes until the onions become translucent. Since the tomatoes are peeled you can either blend them with a hand mixture prior to placing them in the pan or use a potato masher after you mix them with the veggies for a heartier taste (the latter is what I did). Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, vegetable stock and lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour with the lid on. After about 3/4 of an hour to an hour, remove the lid and cook for another 30-45 minutes. The longer you cook it the thicker the sauce gets, so its a personal preference. I used the edamame noodles because they are high in protein and fiber, and were the only noodle I had in my cabinet at the time, lol. But in all seriousness these are the only noodle alternative I like. The texture is good and the taste is mild and they're not too dense like some of the others. Bring water to a boil, add the noodles, cook for 5 minutes and drain. Plate the noodles with your sauce on top. I sprinkled with a little Italian parsley at the end.