A vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free dish that is simple to put together but satisfying as a main course meal. Pair with whole grain noodles or gluten-free pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash noodles.
Cook the green lentils if you don’t have any already cooked (Read here for guidance on how to cook green lentils). Otherwise if you are using canned green lentils, drain these and rinse the lentils before using.
Mince the garlic and dice the onions and tomato. Heat the teaspoon of oil in a medium pot on a medium stove heat setting.
Once heated, add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onion pieces are soft and translucent. Then add the diced tomatoes and dried basil. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. (For an oil-free recipe, see Recipe Notes.)
Next, add in the 2 cups of cooked green lentils, pasta sauce and ½ cup [120 mL] of the vegetable broth (water or lentil cooking water can be used instead). Stir until all is combined well. Let the sauce cook for about 2-3 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, cut up the bell peppers and mushrooms. Grate the carrots (optional) using a large holed cheese grater. Then add in the bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, oregano, the remaining amount of vegetable broth, as well as salt and pepper.
Let the sauce cook on the stove on a low-medium setting for at least 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be continuously simmering on a gentle boil. You may cook whole wheat fusilli pasta, whole wheat spaghetti noodles or gluten-free alternative in a separate pot during this time, following the package directions. (Alternatively, you can prepare zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash noodles at this time).
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as desired, then serve with the cooked fusilli pasta (or gluten-free alternative). Garnish with some fresh basil and a sprinkle of vegan cheese shreds on top if you like.
For an oil-free recipe, put 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth into a well heated skillet on medium heat, then add in the diced onions and minced garlic. Sauté this for 2-3 minutes or until the onion pieces turn soft and translucent. You can turn down the heat setting slightly and add in 1-2 more tablespoons of vegetable broth into the skillet if the contents seem to be getting very dry during this time. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe steps.
I usually pre-cook some green lentils the day before, so that the next day it is faster to make the sauce. But you could also just soak the lentils overnight and then cook them on the stove while you are preparing the other sauce ingredients. When the lentils are cooked through, add in the measured amount of drained cooked lentils into the pot of sauce cooking on the stove.
Feel free to add more diced onions if you like, and adjust the amount of pepper and salt to your liking. Using carrots in this recipe is optional – the sauce will still taste great without carrots if you don’t want to add them!