Super Warming and Tasty One Pot Lentil Bolognese

Looking for an alternative bolognese recipe, whilst packing in some of your five-a-day veggies?

Try The Eat Well Kitchen's nutritious and versatile lentil bolognese which is crammed with fibre and taste, making it a great mid-week meal that's a real crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients:

Base Vegetables:

  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 - 2 carrots depending on size (peeled and finely diced)
  • 1 onion (peeled and finely diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely diced)

Base Ingredients:

  • 100g dry green lentils (or Puy or Lentil Verte)
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (or plum tomatoes broken down)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I use Rapeseed)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or sprig fresh thyme (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar

(I often add other spices to pep it up a little - dried cumin, paprika, cayenne or chilli work well)

Optional Additions:

Your choice to add in other vegetables, but the following work well: 

  • Cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Diced Peppers

A food processor can make light work of the chopping if you have one.

Click here to watch Toni's Lentil Bolognese Overview

 

Lentil bolognaise with pitta bread and peppers in a bowl ready to enjoy

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the 'Mirepoix' of onions carrot and celery and cook until soft.  If you are using additional vegetables, (but not cherry tomatoes), sweat them off with the mixture.

2. Now add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes (if you add it too early it will burn).

3. Stir in the herbs and any other flavourings you are using with the lentils and stir for about a minute.

4. Add the tomatoes, puree, sugar and stock and simmer for between 30-45 minutes until the lentils are soft. Check on this regularly to make sure the lentils do not run dry. If they are - just add some extra water.

Click here to watch follow Toni's method.

Alternative Oven Cooking:

I like to prepare this mixture in an earthenware casserole dish and then place it in a low oven about 150C / gas mark 2 for a couple of hours.  It saves having to watch this over the stove, but I would still recommend checking after an hour to prevent it from running too dry.

Want to Make a Richer Sauce?

After the vegetables have sweated down and you have added the lentils and herbs, add a glass (about 150ml) of red wine and reduce this by bubbling off the alcohol on higher heat. Reduce the heat and continue with the recipe.

Others swear by additions of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Marmite etc - I can't vouch for any, but they would serve to add extra 'Umami' / savoury flavours - the choice is yours.

 

Want to keep learning?  Find out more about the author, Toni Fenton.


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