Vegan Lentil ‘Meat’ Sauce with Portobello Mushrooms

This is one of my favorite vegan lentil recipes, and it was created by my twin sister, Arianna. She has been vegan for 4 years now and being vegan has propelled her into being an amazing cook. Sometimes I’m a little skeptical about trying a vegan version of a meat dish, however, I was so surprised at how much this tastes and feels like meat sauce. She told me there are a couple ways that make this vegan lentil meat sauce taste so meaty. First, baby bella or portobello mushrooms are a must for this sauce because they already have such a meaty flavor and texture. This is why you see people use portobello mushrooms as burgers.

Vegan Lentil Recipes: Vegan "meat" sauce

Second is adding soy sauce to the mushrooms while they saute. The dark soy sauce brings out even more meatiness in the mushrooms and gives you that beautiful umami flavor. By using these two simple ingredients, baby bella mushrooms and soy sauce, you will be amazed at how similar this vegan lentil meat sauce tastes like a real meat sauce.

What I also love about this recipe is how versatile it is. This can be used to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s the perfect meal prep food that you can use throughout the week. For breakfast, you can add some of this meat sauce to a saute pan and poach a few eggs in the sauce. This is similar to Shakshuka, a traditional Moroccan breakfast recipe. For lunch, you can simmer this meat sauce with some veggie broth to turn it into a lentil soup. It really is that easy. Lastly for dinner, just eating this lentil meat sauce on top of your favorite pasta is a delicious healthy dinner option.

I want to thank my sister Arianna for sharing this recipe with Mediterranean Living. You can check out more vegan recipes on Mediterranean Living here:

Mediterranean Living Vegan Recipes



Vegan Lentil Recipes Meat Sauce

Vegan Lentil 'Meat' Sauce with Portobello Mushrooms

George Zikos
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 217 kcal


  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-10 ounces package baby bella mushrooms, finely minced
  • 2 carrots, finely minced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste
  • 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped


  • Boil lentils in salted water according to directions. Drain once soft.
  • In a deep pot or dutch oven, add olive oil and onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, oregano, soy sauce, mushrooms, and turn the heat to medium high. Cook until mushrooms have some color.
  • Add the carrots, bell pepper, garlic, and 1/3 cup of water to the pot. Cook for 5 more minutes and salt again.
  • Add tomato paste and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, parsley, 1/2 cup of water, walnuts, and the cooked, drained lentils.
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about an hour.


Calories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 10gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 502mgPotassium: 787mgFiber: 11gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 3608IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 4mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
About the Author: George Zikos
George studied International Business in Greece in 2015 for three semesters. His family is from the island of Crete, and he lived with them for a whole summer. During that time, he started working for Mediterranean Living and contributing his firsthand experiences of the traditional Cretan diet. He learned fluent Greek along the way, being fully immersed in a traditional Cretan village. He is since graduated with a business degree from Worcester State University. George loves language and traveling, so he completed a TEFL certificate program at the Boston Language Institute in order to teach English abroad and travel the world. He currently works full-time blogging, recipe formulating, and social media marketing for Mediterranean Living. His passions include language, gardening, hiking, skateboarding, and watching sports. He dreams of living in Crete one day, after he travels the world learning as many languages and cultures as possible.


  1. Michele January 18, 2022 at 11:31 am - Reply

    5 stars
    I made this with what I had in the house. I wish I had more crushed tomatoes as I only had diced, but I added some Tomato Sauce I had left over, and instead of onions, used some leeks I had washed, chopped and bagged. I added water and someTomato Paste and left over Shitaki Mushrooms, I sautéed with Tamari Sauce, as well as flat leaf parsley, and diced baby carrots and celery, which I also sautéed before adding. I also added a bit of red wine and Balsamic Vinegar. So this was a variant of the above but so good! I plan on getting the exact ingredients next time! Thank you for this great recipe!

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. January 24, 2022 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Glad you liked it!

  2. Becky March 16, 2019 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Which lentils do you recommend?


  3. Lady Di December 16, 2018 at 12:01 am - Reply

    I have a chronic illness, so I made some shortcuts to this recipe and it turned out great! I used the Instant Pot to saute everything in stages. I substituted marinated red peppers and chopped them finely. Instead of separately purchasing and preparing onion and carrot, I used the chopped celery/onion/carrot from Trader Joes.

    In the lentil cooking water, I added a generous dollop of bullion (I used chicken base…Better than Bullion…great price at Smart & Final), Vegetable base can also be used.

    I’m not vegan, I just enjoy the health benefits of only consuming meat in small quantities.

    Recipe secret: After the Instant Pot has cooled down, I stir into it 2T of red wine vinegar. This magically brings out the flavor – no vinegar taste can be detected.

    THANK YOU Mediterranean Living for inspiring me to find this new delicious way of life! I look forward to more fabulous recipes!

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. December 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      You are welcome. Thank you for the shortcut ideas!

  4. Audrey December 15, 2018 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    This is absolutely Amazing!!!!! It makes a lot so I plan on sharing!!!!!

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. December 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      Thank you Audrey I’m glad you are enjoying it!

  5. Barbara December 15, 2018 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    What size package of mushrooms please?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. December 16, 2018 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Use the small package of mushrooms. Usually, around 10 ounces.

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