TIMING: This one takes awhile, just because the lentils have to soften in an acidic sauce. I would say to give it 1 1/2 hours, but it could be done before that
TOOLS: Nothing out of the ordinary
COOK TYPE: Stove top, boiling, sauteing, and simmering
HEALTH: If you are keeping your pasta consumption in check (why is it so hard?), then this is a very healthy meal. Of course, since it is a pasta, I would recommend a side or two to offset it (like the Italians do). Try a green salad or some antipasto, or some kale or broccoli rabe or…
EXPERIENCE: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it every three blog entries: I love spaghetti bolognese with just spaghetti, some Newman’s Tomato Basil, and grass-fed ground beef. But, you will never find me complaining over leaving the ground beef out and having to make this meatless version instead. (It’s not strictly vegetarian if you use the beef bouillon.) This pasta comes off so absolutely umami and deep and satisfying, you will not miss meat. You will just be enjoying your dinner.
My kids don’t even complain when I make it. They just eat it without thinking.
However, you have to have plenty of time before dinner, even if this is pretty easy and quick to prep. Since lentils do not cook well in an acid, this sauce takes a super long time to simmer, but you don’t have to be in the kitchen.
NOTES: To make it faster, you could pre-cook the lentils is a steamer, a pressure cooker, or on the stove top, first, then add them. I think I will try that next time, but I fear the depth of flavor will be a little bit watered down.
This makes a LOT of spaghetti. I kept the recipe the same, though, because I hate telling people to use halves of something. But if you don’t want tons of leftovers (which are really yummy), then halve the whole thing for 4 people.
You don’t have to include all the veggies here, just the onion and the garlic. You could also add others, like colored bell peppers or portobello mushrooms.
- In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 fine-diced onion and saute until golden brown. Add 4 large pressed garlic cloves and cook another minute or so.
- Add 1 chopped green bell pepper, 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms, 3 diced carrots, and 2 stalks diced celery. Saute until they are soft.
- Add 150 grams (picked through) green or French lentils and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add 1 jar of your favorite Marinara sauce, 30 oz diced tomatoes (undrained), and 2 teaspoons beef bouillon. Stir well and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for around 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook 1 pound spaghetti in salted water according to package directions.
- When lentils are soft (you are going to have to taste them, occasionally), take your pasta straight from the pasta water into your sauce and stir. Cook for a minute or so, then taste for seasonings.
Serve with parsley and Parmesan and the suggested green salad or green vegetable.
*Recipe has been changed from the original.