A hearty bolognese is one of my favourite meals – it’s so delicious and comforting, and such a great weeknight meal dish for the entire family to enjoy. Although bolognese is traditionally made with mince meat, you can substitute with lentils for a super flavourful vegetarian/vegan alternative.
Brown lentils work perfectly as a substitute for mince in bolognese, as they’re a great source of plant-based protein. They have an ideal texture to bulk out the dish, and take on flavours really well.
No matter whether your exclusively plant-based or not, you’ll love this meal!
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 2 tins of pureed tomatoes
- 1 400g tin of brown lentils
- 1 small pottle of tomato paste (around 140g)
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 courgette/zucchini, grated
- 2 handfuls of white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil/parsley to cook and garnish, finely chopped
- Heat a pan with the oil over a low heat. Stir-fry garlic and onion for five minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and sauté for five minutes. Add the carrot and courgette and cook for a further few minutes.
- Add the tins of tomato and tomato paste and mix well. Open the can of lentils and drain liquid. Give them a good rinse under the tap and then add to the sauce. Mix again. Sprinkle over the dried oregano and a small handful of chopped parsley/basil.
- Turn up the heat up until the sauce begins to boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it cooks. If it gets too stiff add ¼ cup water and mix well.
- Serve on top of spaghetti or courgette noodles.
Danijela Unkovich is a nutritionist from New Zealand. She divides her time between both public health and clinical work, and also runs the health blog Healthy Always, where she shares healthy recipe and meal ideas, and wellness blogs.
She is passionate about educating ways to live a healthier life, particularly with a focus on sustainable habits and making it work for you. She is a total foodie, and loves spending time in the kitchen or enjoying a delicious meal with loved ones.