Coarsely chop onion and mushrooms, mince the garlic. Set aside. Coarsely chop the celery, peel and chop the carrots, and wash (leave the skin on) and chop the red potatoes. Set aside.
In a large frying pan over high flame, heat olive oil. Reduce flame to medium and sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms with a bit of salt until onion becomes translucent, stirring occasionally. Do not burn the garlic!
Add in parsley, ground cumin, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly and let cook for another 10 to 15 minutes covered stirring occasionally. Move pan off the burner and keep covered.
In a large sauce pot, combine tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt and water. Place over high flame and bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
Add the carrots, celery, red potatoes, lentils, basil and sugar to the sauce, along with the contents of the frying pan. Mix thoroughly.
Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer covered for 2.5 hours stirring once every 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and add cornstarch slowly while stirring to prevent clumping. Serve hot.
There are 201 calories in 1 serving of Vegetable Bean Stew.