Quick Pasta with Lentils & Mushrooms

PREP TIME: 10mins


Quick, easy and cheap suppers are what I am about on a Monday. A delicious full of flavour family meal which makes excellent leftovers the next day.

I love the layering of flavours in this dish and you can easily apply these flavour layers to any dish you cook.

Seasonal Swaps: I used French Puy lentils, but you can use any brown lentils but remember they will cook a lot longer. You can use any mushrooms here, chestnut and button would work well.



  • 200g Puy lentils
  • 300g penne pasta (I used RUMMO gluten-free penne)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 sprig rosemary, 2 sprigs thyme & 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 200g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g passata
  • handful fresh basil, roughly torn
  • salt & pepper
  • vegan or vegetarian hard cheese to grate over


  • 1 cup exotic mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter (vegan or normal)
  • 1/4 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • (stalky) fresh herbs: 1 stalk rosemary, 2 sprigs thyme, sprig marjoram and origanum would work well
  • salt & pepper


  1. Cook the lentils in plenty of water until al dente, around 13-15 minutes. The cooking time of different types of lentils will vary, so keep an eye on them. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Keep one cup pasta water aside and drain the pasta.
  3. While the pasta and lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large sautee pan on a medium heat, add the fennel seeds, pinch of chilli flakes, rosemary and thyme leaves and gently cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, covered until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant – 3 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and stir to combine with the aromatics in the pan. You can add more olive oil if the pan seems dry, season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are soft.
  5. Add the passata, cup of cooking water and the herbs and stir until warmed through, taste and season with salt & pepper.
  6. Add the lentils and stir through, followed by the pasta making sure everything is well covered with the sauce.
  7. Meanwhile to make the topping: heat the olive oil and butter in a small frying pan, when the mixture bubbles, add the mushrooms, herbs and pecan nuts, season with salt & pepper and fry for 5 minutes and crispy, set aside.
  8. To serve, grate some parmesan or pecorino cheese over the pasta and top with the mushroom topping and a final drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!
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