1 mug of dried green lentils (can be substituted for mince beef if you want a non-veggie version). Or you can buy canned lentils that don’t need boiling – either are fine, and canned ones will be quicker.
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
3 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
2 red onions, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
1 glass of Red Wine (approx 250 mls) – or more if you prefer
Beef stock/vegetable stock
Lea and Perrins (Worcestershire sauce) – or balsamic vinegar
1. Boil the lentils in plenty of water for around 40 mins or until they are nice and soft. you may need to stir them occasionally to stop them sticking, or top up with water if it gets too dry. Drain and set aside (you can have these boiling while you are chopping the veg and cooking the rest). You can also get a couple of cans of pre-soaked lentils, which don’t need to be boiled – you can just rinse them and add them straight into your bolognaise later on.
2. Heat a large glug of oil in a large, deep pan, and fry the onions and garlic on a medium heat until softened.
3. Add the chopped carrots, red pepper, and courgette to the pan, and fry for about 10 mins until slightly softened.
4. Pour in the red wine and turn the heat onto high – you want to boil it hard for a few minutes to boil off the alcohol and let the liquid reduce by about half – this keeps the flavour but without the alcohol.
5. Throw in the tinned tomatoes, and turn the heat down again, stirring on a medium heat, adding a cup or two of beef or vegetable stock – the liquid will thicken and reduce so don’t worry if it’s a bit watery at this stage – if you are worried, you can always add a small amount of water now, and top up with more water as you cook it.
6. Add the cooked lentils, and season with salt, pepper and balsamic/lea and perrins to your liking.
7. Simmer it on a low heat for around 40 mins / 1 hour, stirring regularly. Check to make sure it doesn’t get too dry – adding water, stock, or if you want a more tomato-ey flavour, you can add some pasta sauce from a jar, or chopped fresh tomatoes. If it’s too watery, remove the lid and let the liquid boil off a bit, otherwise keep the lid on while simmering.
8) Serve with spaghetti, or crusty bread, or make my A-mazing Veggie Lasagna with it!