Lentil Bolognese

I haven’t really divulged or discussed my heritage on this blog… What better time to tell you than now! One of my parents is Italian and the other is Greek – so as you can imagine, I was surrounded by some pretty amazing food while growing up. In addition, I was brought up in a culturally diverse suburb of Melbourne where being caucasian made you the minority – so I learned to accept and embrace different races and cultures from a very young age. I can’t thank my parents enough for bringing me up in such an environment and I have no doubt that this has heavily influenced my curiosity with international cuisine.

Although I was born and raised in Australia, because of my upbringing, I sometimes struggle with understanding Australian slang and colloquialisms and am also both baffled and humoured by Australian home style cooking. You know what I’m talking about – desserts using Kellog’s cereal or Arnott’s biscuits as the main ingredient; meals that are flavoured with tinned soup or sachets of dried soup… And of course Vegemite, which will always confuse and bewilder me. I may have had a chance with Vegemite once upon a time, however my sister convinced me that it tasted like Nutella so I shoved a heaping tablespoon of it in my mouth. To this day, the smell of Vegemite makes me want revenge.

I also have some very amusing food quirks and opinions that I don’t even realise are odd until someone laughs at me for voicing them. For example – we always used flat leaf parsley in our house and mum referred to the curly variety as “Aussie parsley”, while insisting that it had no flavour; kalamata were the only type of olive I’d eaten until I was in my twenties.. and of course: tomatoes are rubbish unless they’re home grown.

I’m sure as this blog develops, you’ll read more bits and pieces about what led me here – but for now, a recipe!

Lentil Bolognese
Yields 8.5 cups and is suitable for freezing.

1-2 TBSP EV Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed or finely diced
1 Brown Onion, diced
2 C Diced Eggplant OR Button Mushrooms
2/3 C Red Capsicum, diced
2/3 C Carrot, diced
2/3 C Celery, diced
1 C Dried Green or Brown Lentils (2.5 C cooked)
1/3 C Red Lentils
2 C Vegetable Stock
140g/4.5 TBSP Tomato Paste (no added salt)
1.5 C Tomato Puree
1.5 C Diced Tomatoes (400g tin)
1/4 C Red Wine
1/4 t Raw Sugar (optional)
4 Bay Leaves
1 t Dried Oregano
1/4 C Fresh Basil, chffonade or torn
1/2 C Fresh Parsley, chopped
S+P

    • Bring 1L (4 cups) of water to the boil. Add the dried green or brown lentils and cook with lid on for 35-40 minutes on low heat. Soak your red lentils in about a cup of cold water.

Bolognese Chopped Ingredients

    • Meanwhile, dice up all your veggies and prepare your other ingredients. By the time you’ve done this, your lentils should be cooked – drain and set aside. Also drain the red lentils that have been soaking in cold water.

Bolognese Other Ingredients

    • Add oil to a deep sauté pan on medium-high heat. Cook onion for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and all other fresh veggies, stirring every couple of minutes until the veggies are tender but not soggy. The veggies should start releasing their own juices; constant stirring will release too much heat and slow this process.

Bolognese Saute

  • Add all the lentils, diced tomato, tomato paste & puree, oregano, bay leaves and stock. Simmer on low heat with lid ON for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, add the sugar (if using) and leave to cook on low heat for a further 10 minutes. This will reduce and concentrate your sauce.
  • Stir in the fresh basil & parsley with some salt & pepper (if using), then serve on pasta of your choice.

4 thoughts on “Lentil Bolognese

  1. I am very keen on trying your recipe of this, as I have heard SO much about it!
    Just a question, sorry if it seems stupid! I noticed the red/brown lentils get precooked, do the red lentils only get soaked and that is enough to cook them fine? I’m unsure?

    • You’re following me correctly! The green/brown require 35-40 minutes of pre-cooking (or you can use tinned if that’s how you roll). Red lentils only need about 20 minutes of cooking but you MUST soak them first! they also don’t hold their shape like the other lentils do – they turn into a sort of mush 🙂

      • Thank you so much, I always use the dried variety in Soups, but hadn’t ever tried them in a bolegnase before, and I am so keen to try this recipe, so I thought i would ask prior to making it incase they were under cooked or turned to mush on me!

  2. Pingback: Pastisio/Pasticcio | Appetite Affliction

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