Place your shiitake in a bowl and cover with enough water to submerge them all. Leave to soak for 15 minutes until softened. Strain the shiitake but keep the soaking liquid. Finely chop the shiitake and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mushroom soaking liquid, 2 beef stock cubes and 3 cups of boiling water. Add the TVP and stir. Cover with more boiling water if needed to cover the TVP. Let sit to absorb the liquid while you cook the lentils.
To a medium pot add the lentils and 2 beef stock cubes. Add enough hot water to cover the lentils by a few cm's, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer uncovered until soft and most of the liquid has absorbed, about 15 minutes, add more liquid while they cook if necessary.
Get your soffritto ready (finely diced onion, carrot, celery, garlic). In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add the olive oil and vegan butter. Melt over a low-medium heat, then add the soffrito and the chopped shiitake along with a good pinch of salt and fresh pepper. Add the dried herbs. Cook, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes or so until soft, breaking down, and turning light golden brown in places.
Now add your cooked lentils and TVP and any leftover cooking/soaking liquid (or vegan mince if using instead - see notes), and cook off for 5-10 minutes while stirring to caramelise and brown. Pour in your red (or white) wine and stir it all up. Allow to bubble and reduce for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and miso and cook for a few minutes while stirring. Add your passata, stock, milk, nutritional yeast, balsamic, soy, sugar and bay leaves. Hit it with a lot of fresh pepper and another pinch of salt.
Give it a good stir, making sure to scrape any stuck bits off the bottom of the pot, and let it come to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and put the lid on.
Allow to simmer, stirring every so often, for 2-3 hours, until thickened (but still nice and saucy for the lasagne), and richly flavoured. If it's too thick at the end, just thin it with a little more stock.
*Alternatively if you're just making this bolognese to go with pasta, you'll want it thicker and less saucy than you would make it for lasagne so take the lid off and reduce it further.*
Taste for seasoning, and add more salt/pepper/sugar/balsamic as needed. If the bolognese has split a little, add a splash of cold soy milk or vegan cream (like oatly) to make it rich and emulsified.
Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Place in the fridge until ready to use and remove the bay leaves before assembling lasagne.