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Spicy Red Lentil and Mushroom Pasta {vegan}

A rich simmer of tomatoes, onions, earthy mushrooms, red wine and aromatic herbs. With just-tender red lentils and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes—a mouthwatering spicy red lentil pasta sauce. Toss into wide toothsome pappardelle noodles for this robust and satisfying meatless meal!

Spicy Red Lentil and Mushroom Pasta | Letty's Kitchen

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The red lentils add an egg’s worth of protein to the sauce. Plus, lentils are fiber, mineral, and vitamin rich, a powerful food for any diet, from vegan to meat-inclusive.

The mushrooms, sautéed to rich golden color, shrink from what seemed like a copious amount to a realistic volume. In the cooking, they take on a pleasing meaty quality.

Spicy Red Lentil and Mushroom Pasta closeup serving bowl

Salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and the fifth taste, umami, dance around our tongues when we eat. Umami (oo-MOM-ee), more mysterious than the other four, adds complexity to food, and has been described as tasty, meaty, and savory.

Spicy red lentil and mushroom pasta employs all kinds of umami.

  • Fermented foods like soy sauce increase umami in any dish they flavor. It’s amazing how much the tamari enhances this tomato sauce!
  • Especially when sautéed to deep golden, mushrooms are umami-famous.
  • A bit of maple syrup, the red wine, and a long simmer–these too convey umami power.
Spicy Red Lentil and Mushroom Pasta simmering in skillet

This pasta is my vegetarian variation of the robust wine-enhanced Italian meat and vegetable sauce called ragù. The name ragù stems from the verb ragoûter, which means, “to excite the appetite.” How about that? Spicy red lentil and mushroom pasta most definitely arouses the taste buds!

This healthy, lighter and meatless pasta begs to be served family style, in a large bowl passed around the table. For a complete meal, pass a second big bowl of crisp green lettuce with colorful veggies.

Just so you know, some of the links below are affiliates. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps me continue to provide free content here on Letty’s Kitchen. Thank you!!

Spicy Red Lentil and Mushroom Pasta details and notes:

  • Gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta. (Affiliate link.)
  • This recipe is vegan. If your diet includes dairy, serve with grated aged cheese, like Parmesan. (Aged cheeses also have umami.)
  • Use a wider noodle, like pappardelle or tagliatelle. (Affiliate links.) Fettuccine is thinner, though sometimes easier to find.
  • Time saving tip: Slice mushrooms with a food processor slicing attachment. The slices won’t be uniform but it doesn’t matter. Then, since your food processor bowl is already dirty, switch to the metal blade and blend the tomatoes.
  • Idea: Turn the pasta and sauce into a lasagna-like casserole: Spread the sauced pasta in an oiled 9 x 13-inch dish. Poke dollops of ricotta or soft goat cheese around and about. Bake at 350°F until very hot, about 20 minutes.
  • You might also enjoy these Lentil Quinoa Veggie Burgers. And these Spicy Greens and Lentil Tacos.

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*** Nutrition information is meant to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.

Nutrition Facts
Spicy Red Lentil and Mushroom Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 418 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 48mg16%
Sodium 930mg40%
Potassium 987mg28%
Carbohydrates 67g22%
Fiber 12g50%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 1982IU40%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 104mg10%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Oh I need to try this! I’m not a big fan of meat sauces, so this looks like a great hearty vegetarian option! Love all the texture from the lentils and mushrooms! Reply · 9 April, 2018

  • I love this vegetarian version of ragu and it looks so hearty and full of flavor! Lentils and mushrooms are such a nice for meat here — I would never miss it! Reply · 9 April, 2018

    • Thank you Marcie. I’d always wanted to try a veggie ragu and I’m really pleased with how this came out! Reply · 9 April, 2018

3.75 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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