To me, mastering a great spag bol was a priority when I became vegan because it’s one of my favorite midweek dinners. It also happens to be comfort in a bowl. Who doesn’t love a pile of spaghetti tossed in hearty, “meaty” sauce? My version is rich and complex with lots of layers of flavor, and every little ingredient, along with the slow cooking, does its bit in making that happen. The wine, although not essential, really adds great depth of flavor, so I highly recommend using it if you can. Serve this sauce in the traditional way, over al dente spaghetti, fettuccine or pappardelle with a heavy sprinkling of my Cheesy Brazil Nut “Parm” and a side of my garlic bread (recipes in the cookbook).
Yield: 4 and 1/2 cups (1.1 liter)
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil or a couple tablespoons (30 milliliters) of water (for oil-free cooking) over medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for six to seven minutes, or until the onion is translucent and just starting to turn golden. If using water to sauté, you will need to add a little more throughout the cooking process to prevent sticking.
Add the garlic and eggplant and continue to cook for three to four minutes; then add the red wine (if you are replacing wine with stock, wait to add the stock until you add the other ingredients). Keep stirring until it has been absorbed/evaporated. Then add all the other ingredients. Stir really well and allow to come to a simmer.
Then lower the heat to low and cook for at least 40 to 50 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, but you can leave it on really low for up to about 90 minutes. Be sure to stir it occasionally and check the texture. If it starts to dry out, add a little more water or stock to loosen it up again.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary before serving.
The sauce will keep for five to six days in the fridge and also freezes well.
Reprinted with permission from Vegan Comfort Cooking by Melanie McDonald, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Melanie McDonald.