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Can you make my vegan bolognese sauce any better?


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Can you make my vegan bolognese sauce any better?

cathyeats | | Jun 14, 2010 09:17 PM

I just made some "bolognese" sauce with lentils, tempeh and mushrooms. I am super happy with it, but wondering if there is a secret ingredient that would make it even more meat sauce-like. Dried porcini mushrooms, perhaps? Any other ideas? Or should I stop being such a perfectionist?!

Here's what I did:

Vegan Bolognese Sauce

3 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 8-oz. package tempeh, crumbled
8 oz. cremini or white mushrooms, chopped
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
1/2 c. dried red lentils
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, undrained, chopped
1 c. dry red wine
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. fennel seed
1/2 t. salt, or up to 1 t., to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and crushed red pepper, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up a bit, add the mushrooms and tempeh and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower the heat back to medium, stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the remaining ingredients except salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are just tender. This usually takes 20 minutes, but I’ve had some lentils take an hour – possibly because my tomatoes were salted, which can toughen the lentils. So keep tasting it along the way to determine when it’s done. If the sauce gets too dry, add a bit of water. Add salt at the end of the cooking time. Serve on whole wheat spaghetti or use in lasagna.