Something for the weekend. I usually cook this the day before I need it to allow the rich flavours to develop but there’s no reason you need to do this if you need it on the same day.
This sauce is an absolutely winner in my house and is perfect for entertaining or for weekend meals with spaghetti, shelled pasta or baked potatoes. You could use it as a pancake filling in the oven with bechamel on the top and I always stick the leftovers sauce in a burrito with rice for mine and hubby’s lunches.
Initially when I transitioned the family over I tried to make this with soya mince, it was stoggy and vile. So then I started experimenting with beans but ultimately red lentils won out as they produce a similar texture and colour to the spag bol sauce we all grew up with. Plus by using lentils the sauce is very nearly 100% whole foods plant based (WFPB). Again there’s no need for oil in this recipe.
l’ve amped up the red lentils with extra tomato puree and a slug of red wine to give it a richness, you could also try experimenting with a couple of pieces of dark chocolate. But I’ve got to say, and here’s the Mum bit, anything that lets me blend a lot of ugly veg into the sauce swiftly moves up the family meal ladder!
- Serves 4
- Optional: 1/2 Mug of Red Wine
- Best Made the Day Before
- 200g Red Lentils
- 1 Large Onion
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Small/Half a large Aubergine
- 150g Mushrooms
- I Stick of Celery
- 4 Cloves of Garlic
- Tin of Chopped Toms
- Stock Cube
- A Mix of Fresh or Dried Herbs such as Parsley, Oregano and Basil (If dried around 2 tsp if fresh double the amount)
- 5 Tbsp Tomato Puree (add more at the end if you think it needs to be richer)
- Fresh Black Peper to season
- Whizz up the onion, garlic, carrots, red pepper, aubergine, mushrooms and celery until pureed.
- In a large pan fry the puree for 5 minutes or so in some of the juice of the tinned tomatoes.
- Add the lentils and 750ml of water and cook until soft. Add the herbs and stock cube.
- Add the tomatoe puree and the rest of the tinned toms.
- Taste – It’s at this point I generally add more tomato puree and the red wine and finally cracked black pepper. I then cook it on the lowest heat for about an hour.