Italian Sausage and Lentils with Spinach and Mushrooms

I need to begin by telling you something. I just have to get it off my chest. This recipe came about by accident. It was a happy accident.

It was one of those nights where all of my well thought-out dinner plans were tossed out the window due to unforeseen circumstances. A rain storm, some traffic, a dying fridge. Everything contributed. Somehow though, things fell in to place.

I often keep some precooked protein as a starting block on hand. Be it tofu, seitan or some cooked beans. I had a few cups of cooked French Green Lentils. Further back on the fridge shelf, I noticed a package of Italian Sausage flavored Tofurky. Double score! I was doing better than I thought.

It being a chilly and rainy day, my older daughter had a special request for some lentil soup. While I patiently explained that I didn’t have time for soup making, I assured her that the lentils would work well for dinner and that dinner could be on the table in less than a half hour.

I began by sauteeing some onions and garlic in olive oil. I then added the faux sausage to brown. After, I added some sliced Baby Bella mushrooms along with the lentils and some herbs. It started to smell pretty good in my kitchen.


I then added some canned, diced tomatoes to the mix along with the spinach, and I was just about ready to serve.

My kids ate this over some mini-penne pasta, while I had it as-is. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.

Lentils and Sausage over Pasta


Italian Sausage and Lentils with Spinach and Mushrooms
Recipe type: Main Course
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 package of Italian Sausage Tofurky or 1 pound of your favorite Italian Sausage, sliced
  • 8 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked French green lentils
  • 8 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. oregano, chopped
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I liked the kind flavored with garlic and basil)
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Heat up the saute pan for a few minutes. Add in the olive oil.
  2. Add in the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the sliced sausage and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the mushrooms and cooked lentils. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring until mushrooms have softened.
  5. Add in the canned diced tomatoes and the spices. Cook for two minutes.
  6. Stir in the spinach until wilted.
  7. Taste the mixture.
  8. Add in additional salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Enjoy!




VeganMofo: Italian Sausage and Peppers Sandwich

I was at Trader Joe’s the other day, doing my weekly spending binge. I was wandering the refrigerated case and peering at their selection of fake meats. I usually stick to the same stuff each time, but on this trip I decided to check out their Tofurky Italian Sausage. I usually just buy the Trader Joe’s brand, but this one was slightly cheaper and looked decent enough, so I tossed it in my cart.

I usually just slice and saute these sausages with veggies and pasta. I wanted to do something different this time. I thought about the sausage carts near my office. An old coworker of mine used to pick up sandwiches from these carts often. They were cheap eats. While I never really crave street meat, the smell coming from my friend’s sandwich was always pretty good. I am so glad that I chose to recreate this sandwich at home. These were so good. And I highly recommend the Tofurky sausages. These had great flavor, better than some of the other fake sausages we have had. My meat-eating, pepper-disliking husband had three helpings of this! I call that a successful meal!

Italian Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

1.5 tbsp. olive oil
1 package of Tofurky Italian Sausage or 1 lb. of Italian Sausage
1 large onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp. red wine
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tsp. oregano (dried)
ground pepper
4 hoagie rolls
Daiya or Mozarella Cheese (optional)


Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan.

Slice your sausage and add to pan.  Cook for a few minutes until browned slightly on edges.  Remove to plate.


Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook a few minutes. Add in the garlic and mushrooms. Cook a few more minutes.

Add in the red wine, tomato paste and spices. Stir in and cook for around 5-7 minutes. The peppers and onions should be soft and the flavors incorporated.

Italian Sausage and Peppers Hero Sandwich

Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.

Scoop out the bottom of the hoagie roll.

Layer on the sausage. Top with the peppers and onion mixture.

Add cheese if desired. I had mine with some Daiya Mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top.


Italian Sausage and Peppers Hero Sandwich

Italian Sausage and Mushrooms Over Creamy Polenta

Tonight was the kind of night where I looked up at the clock and noticed that it was almost 6pm and I had no idea what to make for dinner. Oops. To my credit, nobody was famished. Everyone more of less grazed throughout the early afternoon. Lunch didn’t happen at a normal time. Dinner wasn’t really expected, but it was assumed that it would happen eventually.

Looking around, I saw that I had a few things that needed to be used up. Looking at an almost empty bag of coarse ground cornmeal. It seemed like a perfect night for polenta. I usually buy those tubes of prepared polenta at Trader Joes and then bake them up. I wanted something a bit different tonight.

I remember going out for dinner with my parents as a tween in the Loring Park area. The restaurant doesn’t exist anymore, but I still remember the food. The only thing that seemed appealing to my twelve-year-old self, when my parents explained the menu, was a polenta dish. I had never had polenta before, and there must not have been pasta on the menu. Cheese appealed to me. I remember it being served to me, very creamy and cheesy. It was some simple, awesome form of comfort food. I haven’t had it served like that since. I had to make some semblance of it. Eyeing the Italian faux sausages, I decided to chop them up and saute them with mushrooms and garlic, along with some tomatoes, to serve over the creamy polenta. Dinner was perfect. We walked away from the table happy and full.
Italian Faux Sausage Mixture

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 package of Trader Joes Italian Faux Sausage – sliced
1 – 10 oz. package of mushrooms, sliced – I like baby bellas
1 can of diced tomatoes – I use the flavored kind
Basil, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano


4 cups water
1 cup coarse ground corn meal
2 tablespoons butter
lemon pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesean
2 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon grated monterey jack cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon ricotta

***Note: You may have noticed the odd assortment of cheeses. I was using some things up. It worked in this dish. You can play around with the cheeses.
To make the polenta:
In a small sauce pan, bring your 4 cups of water to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water. Slowly pour in the corn meal. Whisk the mixture. Add in the butter. Keep whisking. Turn the heat down to bring the corn meal mush to a simmer. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so – whisk every so often. Before you are ready to serve, add the cheeses and spice mixture to the polenta and stir.
For the sausage mixture:
In a large saute pan, start sauteeing the onion and garlic in some olive oil. Toss in the sausage slices. Saute for 4 minutes or so. Add in the mushrooms. Saute for another 4-5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes. Saute for a bit. Let some of the liquid evaporate off. Stir in the herbs.

Spoon the polenta on to a plate. Serve the sausage mixture over the polenta. Enjoy! I know we did!

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