Serves a Crowd

Black lentil bolognese

March 21, 2021
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Photo by Kali
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

Lentils have plenty of protein and fibre, the recipe requires a long cooking time but little effort and your patience will be rewarded with a rich, delicious and satisfying bolognese. If you can’t find black lentils you can substitute for brown, puy or even red would work although it will be quite different, I have used both.

I use a lot of bay leaves compared to other recipes you may see but I think they have such a special flavour and don’t overpower. There’s also a few notes on ingredients a long the way with the recipe.

Just choose the pasta and sides you’d like to eat with this and enjoy!

The bolognese will also freeze well if you want to portion it up to pull out for a quick meal another day. —Kali

What You'll Need
  • 250 grams 250g dry black lentils - soaked overnight
  • 50 milliliters rapeseed oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 carrot, washed and diced
  • 125 milliliters red wine
  • 600 grams rustic passata or chopped tinned tomato
  • 25 milliliters balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, pickled or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried
  • 50 milliliters extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon
  1. To serve Pasta of your choice Nutritional yeast - flaky umami cheesy goodness Fresh chopped herbs - I’m loving fresh chopped chives at the moment Side salad or seasonal greens
  2. * I’m using rapeseed to cook and extra virgin olive oil to finish. Rapeseed has a higher smoking point than olive oil, as well as having a neutral flavour it’s a great option for cooking, the nutrients of extra virgin olive oil diminish over certain heat but it’s a perfect for finishing a dish. * I like to use either pink Himalayan or Maldon sea salt. Both have a great flavour and retain essential minerals that highly processed salts don’t. Sea salt flakes are perfect for finishing and pink salt is good to cook with. Bare in mind when using fine pink salt that because it is finer 1 teaspoon is more than1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt. Make sure to taste before adding more at the end.
  3. To make the bolognese : Drain and rinse the lentils, heat a large deep pan, add the rapeseed oil then onions and salt. Cook on medium low heat until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and carrots and cook for another minute before adding the red wine, cook this off for a couple of minutes. Add your lentils, cover with fresh water and tomatoes, cover and cook on medium low heat for about 40-60 minutes. The longer you cook this for the better it is. So if you can wait, leave it for an hour or more even, checking that the mixture doesn’t become too dry and adding a little more water to loosen if needed.
  4. Ten minutes before you’re ready to serve, put on your pasta, cooking according to packet instructions. Add the balsamic and herbs to you sauce and cook for another 10 or so minutes. Finish with the olive oil and taste for seasoning, adding black pepper and more salt if needed.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain & rinse, reserving some of your pasta water.
  6. If you don’t want to eat all of the sauce on the same day, separate out a portion into a smaller pan that will also fit your cooked pasta. Heat the sauce, add the pasta, mix well to combine and heat through, adding pasta water to loosen if needed. The starch from the pasta water will help to create a beautiful synergy between pasta & sauce.
  7. Serve finished with some nutritional yeast, extra chilli, a side salad or some cooked seasonal greens.
  8. Any extra bolognese will keep well in the fridge for a few days and freezes really well too.

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