Friday 8 November 2013

Vegetarian Bolognese

As a child Spaghetti Bolognese used to be one of my favourite meals - either at home or to order on the rare occasion all eight of us went out for dinner. I remember the way the sauce would end up on my face as I happily slurped up the spaghetti. I still find comfort in enjoying a nice bowl of spaghetti bolognese. Sure, I still get sauce on my face (some things never change!) but the only thing that is different is that I now prefer my 'Spag Bol' meat free. Purists will scoff at the concept of a meat free bolognese, but what the heck - I will call it a bolognese nonetheless!

I cook this often as it is child friendly and my little man loves it; plus, it freezes very well so is a good healthy emergency meal. The lentils are the protein here, but to bump up the protein even more serve with fresh pasta. I especially love this bolognese with fresh, silky, homemade spelt pasta if I have the time to make it.

If you are keen to see a post on how to make fresh spelt pasta, please let me know by leaving a comment below! For now though, here is the recipe :)

Vegetarian Bolognese
An original Diary of a Ladybird recipe

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp cumin powder
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
Salt and pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or a natural sweetener such as xylitol* or powdered stevia*
* available at most health food stores

1. Heat oil in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook for a minute before adding the tomato paste, tomatoes, vegetable stock powder and half a cup of water. Season with a little black pepper and salt. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the lentils and cook for another 5 minutes, and then remove from the heat and stir through baby spinach.
4. Add sweetener to taste (basically to take the edge of the tomato tang) and add more salt if desired. Serve with your choice of pasta and some freshly grated parmesan.

Ciao for now, readers!

Anna x


  1. Looks delicious !! Thank you for sharing !!!

  2. Would love to learn how to make spelt pasta - please share!

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