Bolognese is a meat sauce that has its origins from the Italian cuisine. But hey, that doesn’t mean that vegetarians and vegans can't enjoy the flavor and have a non-meaty version of it. Like many other known dishes that have been transformed to fit special diets and lifestyles, the Bolognese has many meat-free versions, some are made with tofu and other meat substitutes. I chose to use lentils since they are a much more common ingredient and are also less controversial when it comes to their nutritional benefits.
Italians are very traditional and don’t like people changing their recipes so if you can relate to that and don’t feel like calling this pasta sauce Bolognese than welcome aboard! Sometimes it’s just easier to describe a dish with a name everyone knows and have some awareness of what to expect from it.
This delicious vegetarian lentil sauce can work great with rice as well but I used pasta to keep it Italian. The sauce is very rich with flavor and is also super filling. The cooking time is not so long and this dish can fit lunch or dinner if you have vegetarian or vegan guests.
The 9 days before 9th of Av are also here and you might be wondering what to eat. Since my blog is vegetarian, practically all of my recipes can fit but this one is a great fit because lentils are a great protein source.
For this recipe, I like using red lentil but I think green lentils can work here too. For the garnish, I added some finely chopped parsley, but you can use any herb you like or just omit it and serve without any garnish. Another garnish I added is walnuts that I finely grated over the plate like you would with parmesan cheese. I wanted to keep the dish parve (non-dairy) and the walnuts add more flavor and texture in my opinion. Again you can omit this garnish too if you want - it’s your choice!
Here is the recipe for this delicious lentil Bolognese:
- 1 pound (500 grams) pasta
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 can (14oz / 400 grams) tomato puree
- ½ cup (100 grams) tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper by your taste
- 1 tablespoon red sweet paprika
- 1 cubed onion
- 2 grated carrots
- Pinch of sugar
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Few leaves of parsley finely chopped
- Handful of walnuts grated thinly
- Cook the pasta by the instructions on the box and set aside.
- In a pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for a few minutes.
- Add the carrots and spices and mix well.
- Add the tomato puree and paste.
- Add the lentils and boiling water and bring to a boil.
- Cook on low for 15 minutes until the lentils are softer.
- Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta.
- Garnish with herbs and walnuts, if you want.