Beet-Lentil Bolognese

This beet-lentil bolognese is hearty, filling and deeply flavourful. Topped with cashew “parmesan”, this meal is entirely vegan and you’d never know it!

Cashew parmesan is super easy and quick to make- just put 1/2 cup cashews, 1 clove garlic, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt into a food processor, and pulse it until it resembles fine crumbs. Done! Such a delicious topping on this dish and others!

I was able to enjoy this meal with my mom- the one who has inspired me endlessly with her desire to feed us nourishing homemade meals as kids, and who truly believes in the power of food as medicine. I’m pretty sure she would love anything I prepared (although I do recall her thinking the savoury granola idea was a little out there)- though she really seemed to gush about this one. She’s looking forward to this post so she can make it herself!

This will definitely be a recipe I prepare again! I hope you like it too!

1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 cup red wine
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Sprinkle of red chili flakes (optional)
6 small beets, peeled and diced (about 2.5 cups total- I used a blend of red, yellow and chioggia beets)
1-28oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1-19oz can lentils, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add a splash of water to the pot if it gets too dry.

2) Add the red wine and stir. Cook until the wine has reduced significantly, about 10 minutes.

3) Add the dried oregano, bay leaves and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine.

4) Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beets and lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beets have softened.  You’ll likely have to add a little water to the pot to prevent the mixture from becoming too thick (about 1/4-1/2 cup, or as needed).

5) Once cooked, remove from heat and stir in parsley, nutritional yeast and season with salt and pepper.

6) Remove the two bay leaves, and, using an immersion blender, blend the sauce to desired consistency (if you don’t have an immersion blender, you could do this with a potato masher).

7) Serve atop noodles of your choosing. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley, cashew parmesan, an extra sprinkle of chili flakes and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil!