One of our all-time favourite dishes is Bolognese. But, traditionally, it would be higher in saturated fat and served with lots of white pasta. Well, rejoice, because we’ve made a healthy version! First up, we’re going for a higher ratio of sauce to pasta – and the sauce contains walnuts and lentils for a satisfying texture. We are also using wholewheat pasta. which is higher in fibre and much better for you.
FULL OF FIBRE
1 garlic clove
1 x 400g tin green lentils
10g fresh thyme or 5g dried thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
50ml red wine
½ tsp chilli flakes
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp yeast extract (e.g. Marmite)
320g wholewheat spaghetti
salt and black pepper
20g vegan hard cheese, optional
10g fresh parsley leaves
200g green salad
First, prep the ingredients;
Peel and grate the garlic.
Peel and finely chop the onions.
Drain and rinse the lentils.
Pick and roughly chop the thyme leaves – if you’re using fresh rather than dried, set aside 1 teaspoon of the fresh leaves for garnishing.
Blitz the walnuts in the food processor until coarsely ground.
Now, make the lentil ragu;
Heat the olive oil in the large frying pan over a medium heat.
Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes until softened and translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Add the ground walnuts, lentils, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine, chilli flakes, oregano, thyme, balsamic vinegar, yeast extract and water.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the sauce catching.
It will look grey at first, but will darken as it cooks. Once the sauce has darkened in colour and thickened considerably, taste and season to perfection with salt and pepper.
While the ragu is simmering, cook your pasta;
Put the saucepan on the hob.
Pour the boiling water from the kettle into the saucepan.
Turn the heat right up and sprinkle in a generous pinch of salt.
Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, following the instructions on the packet.
Remove a quarter cup of the starchy pasta cooking water and reserve.
Drain the pasta in a colander.
Add the cooked spaghetti and a splash of the pasta water to the ragu in the pan and stir through.
Grate the hard cheese (if using) and chop the parsley leaves.
Plate up the spaghetti and ragu, garnish with parsley (and thyme, if using fresh leaves) and serve immediately with green salad.
Lentil, Lentil, Let’s Go F***ing Lentil…
“I love one pan cooking. Get all your ingredients prepped then chuck it all in, let it bubble away while you enjoy a wine then serve and eat. Here’s my take on vegan Bolognese which is full of protein & fibre.”
4 cloves garlic
2 celery sticks
500ml mushroom or veg stock
200g green lentils
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tom paste
1 tbsp balsamic glaze
2 sprigs of rosemary
Put a splash of veg oil in a big pan.
Grab your onion and garlic and chop and place to one side.
Grab your celery, carrots, peppers and mushrooms and cut into evenly shaped dice.
On your chopping board you should all your prep done and ready to rock.
Turn the heat on and place the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms & pepper and fry it all off for about 5 mins then put the lid onto the saucepan and let it sweat away for 10 mins.
Take the lid off then add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, lentils, stock and balsamic glaze and mix.
Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
Leave to simmer away for 45 mins and let those lentils suck up those delicious juices then serve with your favourite pasta.
Don’t forget to pick out the sprigs of rosemary.