When I was a college student, one of the most despised items served in the campus cafeteria was lentil stew. I can’t even remember the flavor now, but I remember that nobody really liked it so there was always plenty of it left over. So, every time I would run late from a class to lunch, I would end up with a bowl of lentil stew!
Things have, of course, changed quite dramatically since my college days, and I now make lentils almost every week and really enjoy them as a healthy, cheap and tasty ingredient. They are a great source of protein and they are versatile. Once cooked, they can be made into soups, burgers, or delicious Shepherd’s Pie, which I recommend you make and serve to everyone questioning your plant-based (vegan) diet and lamenting that they would never be able to give up meat!
Because of their texture and size, they are often used as a substitute for minced meat. That’s why they work really well in this simple Lentil Bolognese sauce. I hope you enjoy it and share with friends and family, neighbors and the world!!!
Basic Lentil Bolognese
What you’ll need:
200 g brown lentils, cooked
4 carrots, grated
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 oz; 411 g) diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste (optional)
Regular or gluten-free pasta to serve, cooked according to the instructions on the packaging
What you’ll do:
- Wash the lentils and check them for any non-lentil bits – sometimes little stones and bits can end up in the lentil bag so it is always a good idea to check. Place lentils into a pressure cooker, cover with water, and cook for 10-25 minutes once the pot is fully pressurized. Please note that the time may vary depending on your pressure cooker and you actually can cook your lentils in a pot and skip the pressure cooker all together. You are aiming for lentils that are soft but not mushy.
- Place a large pot over medium high heat, add oil, grated carrots, diced onions, and sliced garlic and cook for 5-8 minutes, mixing frequently. Next add the cooked lentils, basil and oregano, and finally diced tomatoes. Lower the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes or so.
- Turn the heat off, then mix in fresh parsley, freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Serve over pasta or over mashed potatoes!
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