Rinse lentils under running water. I prefer to soak the lentils for about 15 minutes in lukewarm water but this step is optional (discard the water afterwards).
Meanwhile, chop the onion, garlic, mushrooms (*see notes). Heat oil in a skillet/frying pan, stir in the diced onion, the minced garlic and fry for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Add mushrooms, dried parsley, thyme, oregano, white wine (optional), balsamic vinegar, soy sauce (or tamari/coconut aminos to taste) and fry for a further 3-5 minutes.
Now add the lentils and 3 cups of vegetable broth and cook on low-medium heat (add more broth if needed) until the lentils are tender (about 20 minutes).
In the meantime, peel and chop potatoes, transfer them to a pot with water + salt and bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until tender, drain. Transfer back to the pot, add coconut milk, nutmeg, black pepper and sea salt to taste and mash with a potato masher (don't use a food processor or blender).
Once the lentils are tender, mix a generous splash of coconut milk and cornstarch in a small bowl and add this mixture to the lentil stew. Cook for a further 1 minute or until the desired thickness is reached. Season again with soy sauce (if needed), black pepper, and chili flakes.
Serve warm, garnish with chopped pickles and fresh herbs (optional).