This pasta dish is a hearty meal that uses lentils as the main protein (instead of the traditional bolognese meat). Wether you're looking for a delicious and satisfying vegetarian pasta sauce or if you want to replace your traditional bolognese spaghetti sauce with a plant-based version on your "meatless Monday", this is the perfect recipe! In fact, I would classify it as the "perfect transitional recipe", meaning that it is the kind of recipe you want to introduce to your skeptic omnivore family member that thinks a meal without meat is simply not a meal ! I'm pretty sure no one will miss it in this recipe!
I love cooking with lentils because they are high in fiber, an excellent source of protein, iron, folate and are normally very appreciated by small kids (and grown ups too!).
Through the years, I added different herbs, red wine and a few other seasonings to make this sauce the most flavourful pasta sauce ever! It has become a classic in our home! This might not be the five-ingredients recipe, but it's very versatile (you can substitute the vegetables, add dried or fresh mushrooms, vary the herbs, serve it on different kind of pasta etc.) and I often double the recipe and freeze the leftovers in different containers.
You have to try this pasta sauce if you're looking for a hearty, comforting and very filling meal! Every time I cook this recipe, the aroma alone smells so delicious!
Lentil ragu/bolognese/spaghetti sauce
Yield : 8-10 servings
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 ounces (around 150g) tomato paste
- 2 x 28 ounces organic diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 x 15 ounces (425g) cans cooked lentils (or about 1 cup dried lentils (black, green or brown) - See note)
- 2 cups carrots, diced
- 2 cups zucchinis, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup red wine (or vegetable broth or water)
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or honey)
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup basil
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly grounded black pepper
Use whatever pasta you like (use gluten-free pasta if you want)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions at medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until soften. Add the carrots, celery, zucchinis, garlic and the red wine. Cook gently for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are softened.
- Stir diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes, coconut sugar, bay leaves and dried herbs. Add the dried lentils. Bring to a simmer, then cook at medium-low heat for about 30-40 minutes or until the lentils are tender (if you are cooking with dried lentils). If you are using canned lentils instead, you may want to wait until the vegetables are almost cooked before adding the lentils to the sauce (otherwise they tend to become too "mushy"). Also, if your sauce gets too thick, you can add a small amount of water, red wine or vegetable broth.
- Add fresh herbs and nutritional yeast if you like just a few seconds before turning the heat off. Mix well to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Drain well. Serve with the lentil sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (for a vegan alternative) on top, chilli pepper flakes and extra fresh basil if you want.
- Cool the sauce and chill for up to 3 days. This recipe makes a huge amount of sauce, so you can also freeze (for up to 3 months).
Note : if you're using dry lentils, add 1 extra cup (or more depending on the type of lentils) of vegetable broth or water