Zucchini Noodles with Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce

I have a confession: When I create a new recipe that I like, I tend to eat it constantly until I'm sick of it.  Maybe its my way...

I have a confession:

When I create a new recipe that I like, I tend to eat it constantly until I'm sick of it. 

Maybe its my way of convincing myself that it's awesome. Maybe it really is awesome! I think so either way, I hope you will agree.

My obsession of the moment is this amazing dish: 

Zucchini Noodles with Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce. 

It all starts with a rich and "meaty" sauce...

This sauce is so good. Its thick, creamy, hearty, meaty and totally reminiscent of real meat sauce with no meat in sight! Canned brown lentils are the star and help pull the sauce together in no time. Instead of slaving over a the stove for hours until your sauce is perfect (and you're a hot mess), this meal comes together in a few minutes. 

Zucchini noodles make this meal light as a feather, not to mention save even more time in the kitchen. If you like the idea of zucchini noodles but find yourself too hungry after eating them with tomato sauce, this sauce will be the answer to your prayers. The heartiness of the lentils give this dish the substance that the noodles lack.

Lentils are really good for you. They're full of protein, vitamins and minerals. In fact they are the most alkaline of all protein sources. They are also very inexpensive and make an excellent meat alternative in a variety of recipes. I chose brown lentils (I use BioItalia canned brown lentils) to recreate the ground meat look and texture of real Bolognese sauce. Other lentils will work but I recommend brown or black for this recipe. This sauce is a great way to show a meat lover that meat-free cooking can be just as comforting, familiar and satisfying. 

You may be familiar with super tomatoey meat sauces from the grocery store. This sauce however is inspired by authentic Italian Bolognese sauce and is mostly meaty and rich with a hint of tomato. Don't be surprised that the sauce is almost dry compared to meat sauces you may have had before. The lentils really are the main player. 

The fat in this sauce comes from two sources I believe make this sauce so good -- extra virgin olive oil and soy-free vegenaise. The olive oil provides the Italian flavour that is integral to this dish while the vegenaise changes the flavour of the the lentils to something more meat like. I can assure you adding it makes a big difference because I have made it with and without the vegenaise and it is always better with! Vegenaise even alters the colour of this sauce, creating a slight orange hue which makes the sauce look more like meat was added to it. I imagine any type of vegenaise or mayo will work in this sauce but I am allergic to soy so this is the version I use.

I love this recipe, I hope you do too!

Zucchini Noodles with Lentil Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce:
  • 2 cans organic brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbsp tomato passata OR 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup arabiata tomato sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp soy free vegenaise
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1.5 tsp evoo
  • Pepper and Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) to serve

    Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and then onions. Saute till translucent. Add the tomatoes and saute for a minute. Add the lentils and mix well. Then add the spices and passata. Let most of the liquid cook off then add the vegenaise and mix well until the lentils are orange and creamy. Add the arabiata sauce and mix well. I like my sauce creamy so don't be shy to add a little more vegenaise if its too red and tomatoey. Stir through well, reduce  heat to low and stir occasionally while you prepare your zoodles.  Spiralize 1 zucchini per person or make zucchini ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Place in a bowl. Top with sauce and serve. Would be great with Parmesan or vegan Parmesan and freshly cracked pepper.  

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