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I recommend soaking the lentils in lukewarm water if you are using green or brown lentils. This step is optional, however, the lentils cook faster and are furthermore better digested when soaked. You can skip this step if using red lentils.
Heat oil in a pan or pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, mushrooms, and carrots. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic, sweetener, and all spices. Sauté for a further one minute, stirring frequently.
Add red wine (or vegetable broth), crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, the bay leaf, and the drained lentils. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender (depending on the variety it can take shorter or longer).
Meanwhile, cook your favorite pasta (e.g. spaghetti) as per package instructions.
Add soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Mix the plant-based milk and cornstarch in a small bowl and add the mixture to the pan.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more salt/pepper/spices to taste. Also, add more vegetable broth if needed.
Serve the lentil bolognese in bowls over pasta and sprinkle vegan Parmesan on top (optional). Enjoy! Store bolognese sauce leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.