If you are following a plant-based diet, trying to cut back on saturated fats or just want to try something new, this Lentil Bolognese will make you forget you ever craved meat! This meal is vegan, gluten free and packed with nutrients. But don’t let all that fool you, this meal is comforting, hearty, and tasty and will not only nourish your body but your soul as well.
Let’s talk a little about lentils. Since they grow in pods, lentils are part of the legume family (just like peanuts and beans). Nutritionally, they are low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and packed with vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Lentils consist of 25% protein and so are a great alternative to animal-based protein sources. However, just like discussed in my previous post, they are not considered a “complete protein” as they do not have all the essential amino acids. Check out my last post for more information about how to make sure you are getting all the essential amino acids in your plant-based diet. Studies have shown that consuming lentils can help lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose, which in turn helps to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, because of the phytochemicals and fiber found in lentils, they can also help prevent cancer.
In many cultures, lentils are a staple in the diet. A large reason for this is that they are cost efficient, versatile in cooking, and a great alternative for cultures that limit their animal intake or don’t consume animal products at all.
Boil up your favorite pasta or make some zoodles (zucchini noodles) and top it with the lentil Bolognese. Serve with some shredded sharp cheese for those who are non-vegan and Enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dry oregano
- 1 tsp. dry basil
- 1 tsp. dry parsley
- ½ tsp. salt (can be eliminated if you require low sodium foods)
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 2 Tbsp. tomato puree
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 can petite diced tomato (choose low sodium varieties if you require low sodium foods)
- 1 ½ cups dried brown lentils
- 4 cups vegetable broth (choose low sodium varieties if you require low sodium foods)
- In a large pot over medium high heat, sauté the chopped onions and carrots in the olive oil until onions are translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and tomato paste and mix to combine.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook until the wine has reduced by 50%.
- Add the diced tomatoes, lentils and vegetable broth and stir to combine.
- Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- If the sauce thickens prior to the lentils cooking, simply add some water or broth and continue cooking.
38 g carbohydrates
5 g fat
14 g protein