Lentil and Vegetable Bolognese

There are so many potential variations to this dish, making it both a versatile and nutritious option for a family meal and one I felt was worth sharing. This is a vegetarian recipe, but can also be free from dairy, wheat and nightshades.

Try it for National Vegetarian Week 19th to 25th May.

Basic Recipe:

1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
1 courgette
About 250g of butternut squash
75g of green lentils
150ml of vegetable stock
1tsp dried thyme
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Pasta

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You can substitute the butternut squash for carrots, the courgette for aubergines and add mushrooms for a ‘meaty’ bite, plus you can use any herbs you like or a mixture of your favourites.

I used a substitute sauce that does not contain tomatoes, due to a tomato allergy. Here is a recipe for the sauce I made:

1 clove of garlic
2 sticks of celery
5 carrots
1 small pre-cooked beetroot (cooked in water, not vinegar)
500ml vegetable stock

Cook the raw vegetables for a few minutes to soften, before adding the stock and beetroot. Simmer for around 15 minutes, then blitz to form a smooth purée. Adjust the thickness by adding extra water, if required.

Instructions for recipe

1. Cover the lentils with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set to one side.

2. Meanwhile chop the vegetables into cubes and fry in a little olive oil until beginning to soften (around 5 minutes).

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3.Add the tinned tomatoes (or alternative sauce) to the pan, along with the stock. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

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4. Bring another pan of water to the boil to cook the pasta. Allow around one handful of dried pasta per person. I used spelt spaghetti in this case.

5. Add the thyme and the lentils to the vegetables and heat through for a further 5 minutes. An option at this stage is to blitz some of the vegetables to make a smooth sauce for younger children.

6. Serve with the cooked pasta. Grated cheese is an option for those not avoiding dairy.

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Enjoy!

I’m entering this recipe in to the Betta Living Vegetarian Recipe competition.

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