Bolognese sauce is a serious thing. As you may or may not know there’s only one true and authentic recipe for bolognese sauce — that the Italian Academy of Cuisine recorded and deposited with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce in Italy.
So it’s not like you can improvise and make your own bolognese sauce.
Or worse make a VEGETARIAN/VEGAN bolognese sauce. The horror!
Which is exactly what I did.
Meatless meat sauce.
Italians would not be pleased.
A few in Bologna are probably hyperventilating just at the thought.
And I’m pretty sure some are even considering the possibility of boycotting my blog once and for all.
But yes, I went there.
Truth to be told, lentils actually make for a great meat substitute — they mimic the texture of beef crumbles pretty well and bring satisfying heartiness to the rich tomato sauce.
The flavor and the texture are AMAZING.
It’s seriously something you want to try. It’s a “I’m not kidding, this is totally awesome!” kind of thing.
And you know what’s even better?
That this recipe comes together in 30 minutes flat.
Just think: A flavorful, hearty, and fiber-rich dinner on the table in half an hour.
If this meatless bolognese is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
Lentil Bolognese Print this recipe!
A couple of notes. This is even better if you can make the sauce the night before and leave it in a pan for all the flavours to be absorbed. Freeze leftovers for later.
½ cup / 3.5 oz / 100 gr green lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (28 oz / 800 gr) can diced tomatoes, (I used Muir Glen)
1 glass of red wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Bring to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure lentils are covered.
Lentils will vary in their cooking times depending on their variety and age so make sure to check the package. In addition, lentils will cook with the sauce so it’s better to err on the side of undercooking than overcooking.
Once cooked, drain, and transfer to the bowl of a food processor (or blender). Pulse a couple of times to make a coarse puree. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot and sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Add diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add red wine and cook for 5 further minutes.
Add pureed lentils, give a good stir, and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Take a taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
If the sauce looks too dry, add more water however keep in mind that bolognese is not meant to be 'saucy'.
Remove from the heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and oregano.
Serve over your favorite pasta (it’s great over zoodles) or eat by the spoonful.
One serving yields 176 calories, 7 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of protein.