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Author Notes: As much as we love meat sauce for pasta, we often will do this meatless version - packed with protein and fiber, it's extremely inexpensive and carries a real punch. If you're not into a little spicy, omit the crushed red pepper in this one. We serve it over spaghetti with a side of spinach garlic bread (mom always told me to eat my spinach!). Blend it smooth and use it as a marinara sauce or add chicken or vegetable broth and make a great soup or gazpacho by adding some fresh veggies. - inpatskitchen
Makes about 2 quarts
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 cup red lentils
- 28 ounce can of good quality tomatoes, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 to 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 5 or 6 leaves sliced fresh basil
- Cooked pasta
- Parmesan or Feta for garnish (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over each serving ( optional )
- Place the celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is pretty finely ground ( like a sofrito ).
- In a 4 to 5 quart pot heat the olive oil, add the processed mixture with the crushed red pepper, basil, oregano and fennel seed and saute for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and lentils and stir.
- Add the salt and pepper and 3 cups of the water, bring up to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If after the 30 minutes the sauce seems too thick, add another cup of water and continue to simmer another 10 to 15 minutes.
- If you like, blend the mixture a little with an immersion blender, just enough to thicken the sauce.
- Stir in the parsley and fresh basil just before serving over cooked pasta.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cheap Feast
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner