Every family has their own version of spaghetti bolognese. Growing up, this dish was a once a week staple in our household. When I moved out of home and was learning to cook for myself, spaghetti bolognese was one of the first dishes I mastered. I have always loved how inexpensive and easy it is to make.
Vegetarians need not miss out on this family favorite. In fact, my Super Tasty Veggie Bolognese ticks all the boxes. Believe it or not, my dedicated meat eaters actually prefer this version to the traditional.
This veggie bolognese is based on one I found in the Deliciously Ella cookbook. I changed it up a little to suit my family’s tastes and honestly it’s just so yummy! It’s hard to believe something that tastes this good can be so quick and easy to make.
I like to use red lentils because they break down and disappear into the sauce. You can serve up the goodness of fiber and protein without any fuss. A handy trick if you are feeding people who haven’t gotten on the lentil train (I live with a couple, but I think they’re slowly coming around).
Grated carrot and crushed garlic simply melt into the sauce creating a lovely depth of flavour. The sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes adds balance, preventing the bolognese from being too tomato-y. What you’re left with is a comforting, nourishing dish that tastes like it’s been simmering for hours. Thankfully, it’ll only take you around 30 minutes!
Red lentils have a lovely way of expanding when they cook. Great news if you’re on a budget as a little goes a long way.
Mostly I end up with far more than we need for dinner. When this happens I simply divide up any left over sauce into zip-lock bags and put them in the freezer for those nights when I don’t want to cook.
The kid likes his with a mountain of grated tasty cheese on the side. I like mine as shown, with a sprinkle of pepitas. They add a lovely nutty crunch that works well. With a fresh green salad on the side you’ve got yourself a delicious home cooked meal that’ll have them coming back for seconds!
Super Tasty Veggie Bolognese
I large carrot (grated)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 + 1/2 tomato tins cold tap water
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
- Gently fry the grated carrot in a medium pot with some olive oil for around 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the carrots, mix them through and let them cook for around 1 minute.
- Now add your crushed garlic and mix for about 30 seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Once you get that lovely garlic-y smell, add the red lentils and coat them thoroughly in the veggies and oil.
- Pour in your tin of diced tomatoes. Now fill the tin with water and pour that in the pot as well. Stir the sauce gently with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed together.
- At this stage, you can add your salt, pepper, and the teaspoon of dried basil. Give the sauce another good stir and bring the mixture to the boil.
- Now reduce it to a simmer. You will need to stir the sauce periodically as the lentils can stick to the bottom of the pot if left unattended.
- After about 10 minutes add the extra 1/2 tin of water if you feel it’s needed.
- Cook on a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes.
- When your bolognese sauce is about 10 minutes away from being ready, put on a large pot of water to boil.
- When the water has come to the boil, add a couple of teaspoons of salt then add your spaghetti.
- Cook your spaghetti according to the packet instructions. When it’s ready, drain your spaghetti in a colander then put it back in the pot.
- Cover the cooked spaghetti with several ladles of bolognese sauce and mix well.
- Divide the pasta and sauce into 4 bowls and add another spoonful of the veggie bolognese on top of each.
- Serve with grated cheese of your choice and a fresh green salad.