I’m a self confessed carnivore, but I do try and cut down on my meaty meals during the week. Bolognese is a true Italian meaty classic, this is my vegetarian (and healthier!) take on it.
This vegetarian bolognese is big on flavour. Roasting the vegetables brings out the sweetness and the lentils soak up the flavour of a strong stock. This recipe makes a generous serving for 4, although you can always make a big batch and freeze for an easy weeknight dinner. It seems like a lot of ingredients, but chances are, you will already have most in your cupboard.
- 1 cauliflower (leaves removed main stem removed
- 1 kg ripe tomatoes
- 2 sweet onions
- 1 leek
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 1tsp caster sugar
- mixed herbs
- 150g puy lentils
- 500ml strong veg stock
- 1tsp chopped red chilli
- 3 chopped cloves of garlic
- 100g sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 litre veg stock
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 2tbsp Italian herbs
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 220º.
Line two roasting tins with silver foil to roast the vegetables. Drizzle some oil along with a sprinkle of paprika onto the cauliflower and place on a tray. Roughly chop the onions and leek, toss in a little oil and a sprinkling of mixed herbs and place along side the cauliflower. Slice the tomatoes in half and place on the other tray, skin side up and sprinkle with 1tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of sugar. Rub a little oil over the whole peppers and pop the lot in the oven to roast for around 30mins. Once cooked take them out and put to one side. When cool, de-seed the peppers and roughly chop. Roughly chop the cauliflower.
Whilst waiting for the veg to roast, rinse the lentils and put into a pan with 500ml veg stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to simmer and put a lid on for 20mins. Once cooked, drain and leave to one side.
In a large saucepan, heat a glut of oil and add the chilli, garlic and sun dried tomatoes. Cook for 5 mins whilst stirring.
Add in the roasted veg, except the cauliflower, and add a litre of stock, red wine vinegar, Italian herbs, mustard powder, cinnamon stick, tomato puree, bay leaves and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally over a medium / low heat.
Once the sauce has reduced by a third (this will take about 30mins), stir in the cauliflower and lentils until heated through.
Serve with spaghetti and a sprinkling of parmesan.