The flavours of bolognese are so strongly linked to my growing up years! My mom makes a deeeelish meat based bolognese and all I feel is warm and cozy when I think of it.
She used to stretch the bolognese with red lentils when my brothers and I were young, making it a bit cheaper to feed 3 growing kids! As I was thinking of recipes to make, I knew I wanted to create an all-lentil bolognese, making it plantbased, but still comforting, cozy, hearty, and delicious! I don’t follow a vegan lifestyle, but I do like a meal that’s easy on the wallet, and this meal is definitely cheap, but no where near lacking in flavour!
This bolognese still has all those slightly sweet, herby, deep rich flavours that remind me of my childhood, but it’s filled with fiber and hearty plantbased protein, making it a regular dinner rotation in my house!
VEGAN LENTIL BOLOGNESE
Serves 4-6 // Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Can be No Sugar Added
1 Tbs avocado or favourite cooking oil
2-3 carrots, peeled (optional) and finely chopped
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp)
1 can (28ounces/796ml) diced tomatoes
1 can (5.5oz/156ml) tomato paste
1 Tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups dry split red lentils
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup water
Spaghetti squash, zucchini, sweet potato, or pasta.
Toppings: nutritional yeast, fresh basil, roasted squash seeds!
Slow cooker: Add all ingredients to a 4-6 quart slow cooker, and make sure to add 1 cup of water. Try to make sure the lentils are submerged in the liquid. Cook on low for 8-10 hours in 4qt slow cooker, and 6-8 hours in 6qt slow cooker. Stir before serving.
Stovetop: Heat oil in a large pot over low heat and add chopped carrots and onion. Stir occasionally and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Make sure to add 1 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 18-22 minutes or until lentils are tender. May need to add more water as you go, as it evaporates.
To serve: Serve over spaghetti squash, zucchini noddles, baked/roast sweet potato, or pasta!
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