Big Flavour Bolognese - Plants Only


 A Plants Only Bolognese

I love a traditional meaty bolognese!
So my fear was this: quality fat rich meat gives a lot of flavour, but lentils don’t have any flavour…
Thought it might be bland, but it ended up being FIRE!

This was created as part of a 5 course vegetarian meal I cooked for my sister and brother in law - double date night. Just for fun. We had another pasta so zoodles was a nice option.
(can you tell I just got home from Italy)
I ended up pan sautéing the zoodles in some leftover sage butter from the other pasta, not raw like in this photo. That sage butter was a delicious touch! I also served brown rice/ quinoa noodles with this to have the option.

The secrets to getting maximum flavour without meat include:
caramelizing the onion
simmering in some RED VINO at the end
being generous with the fresh garlic and herbs
cooking the lentils in the sauce itself not just water

What you’ll need to make a Mega flavourful plant based bolognese:
1 med cooking onion, chopped
2-4 TBSP Nice Olive Oil or Grass Fed Butter for frying

1 lg carrot grated or finely diced 
2 med stalks of celery or use the heart with the leaves, finely chopped
1 c sliced mushrooms (optional but nice) 
5 large garlic cloves finely chopped or grated, more if necessary

1 TBSP ish dried chilli flakes (adjust to your preference, you can always add more but you cant take spice away) 
2 TSP dried oregano or Italian herb blend 
Use more if using fresh herbs - I had fresh oregano and rosemary from the garden so I chopped those finely and it was about 1.5 TBSP all together 
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

2 c split red lentils or 1.5 c green or black but those will need to be soaked overnight and then drained to reduce cooking time 
500 ml Canned whole peeled Organic plum tomatoes
750 ml Jar Organic tomato sauce, plain or something very simple
1 c veggie broth or more if your lentils need extra liquid
1 c red wine (any will do I just save any old wine bottle I can’t finish - this happens often) 

A large handful of fresh basil, chopped or torn

Your choice of Pasta for Serving;
I like Zoodles, Spaghetti Squash, Quinoa or Brown Rice Pastas, TJs Cauliflower Gnocchi as some healthier options depending on your macros, sensitivities or preferences.

Begin by chopping all your veggies and grating your garlic cloves, you can chop those or press them if you like. I love grating them on the mini cheese grater - so quick!

Heat your oil or butter in a large sauce pan, add your onion and saute until well cooked with a little browning at the edges. This will take several minutes, stir often.

Add in your grated carrot, garlic, herbs, chilli flakes, sauté until garlic is fragrant.

Stir in a generous amount of good quality sea salt and cracked pepper.

Next add your lentils, can of tomatoes with the juices, broth, and jar of organic tomato sauce, bring to a simmer

Keep the simmer for about 15 mins before adding in 1 c red wine, continue to simmer until lentils are fully soft, stirring occasionally 

Once lentils are fully softened turn the heat off, add in your fresh basil and an optional addition of more chilis and fresh garlic if you love spicy and garlicky like I do

Taste test for any additional spices - maybe you need more salt or pepper etc

Serve over any pasta you like.

Share with your loved ones


Additional Notes:

Makes roughly 6 servings

If your sauce is overly acidic you can add 1-2 tsp coconut sugar or another sugar to balance the acid.

I highly recommend using Organic Tomatoes and Zucchinis as they are one of the “ Dirty Dozen”

Flavours are even better once the sauce has been sitting so making this sauce a day or morning in advance is a good idea.

Sauce leftovers freeze very well