Spaghetti Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese is a store-cupboard staple. Lentils are full of nutrients, most notably fibre, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. These humble and inexpensive seeds are well worth including in your diet regularly, and they make a great mince meat substitute.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped dried mushrooms
  • 200g dried lentils (a mix of green/red/brown is nice for different textures)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 700ml+ water
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • pasta and nutritional yeast to serve

Method

  1. Sauté the onion, garlic and bay in the olive oil over a medium high heat until it’s soft and golden.
  2. Add the carrots, mushrooms, lentils, vinegar and tomatoes. Stir then cover with the water and season well.
  3. Simmer until the sauce is rich and thick and the lentils are cooked through. Test them after 15 minutes and add more water if necessary.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper as you like. Then serve.
  5. Stir some of the sauce through the drained spaghetti and loosen it with a little reserved pasta water. Then serve in bowls with extra sauce on top. Finish with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes for a salty, cheesy topping.

Sunshine Soup

Sometimes in November a bowl of sunshine is just what is needed! Put our stunning root veg to use with this simple soup (or use up your Halloween pumpkins instead). We stock organic red lentils (in a compostable bag🙌) which gives this soup the most beautiful texture and provides protein, iron, potassium, folate, vitamin B1 and prebiotic fibre. Turmeric and black pepper are a delicious anti-inflammatory addition, and we have tins of organic coconut milk for a rich, creamy finish to the soup.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 750g diced veg (I used carrot and swede this time but any root veg or pumpkins work well here)
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300g rinsed red lentils
  • 1500ml water (approx)
  • 1 tin coconut milk

Method

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion with the oil until it softens and starts to turn golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and diced vegetables, season well with salt, pepper and turmeric.
  3. Tip in the rinsed red lentils and cover generously with water. Stir then put the lid on the pot. Bring to a boil then immediately turn the heat down and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft (around 15-20 minutes). You should take the lid off and stir every 5 minutes to ensure there is no sticking or burning on the bottom of the pot. You may wish to add more water if the soup is looking a bit thick.
  4. Scrape in the coconut milk then blend until smooth with a hand held stick blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Then enjoy!

Beetroot, Walnut & Lentil Ragu

Ragu is a rich, slow cooked pasta sauce, traditionally made with meat and served with a wide pasta like pappadelle or tagliatelle. Of course you can also eat it however you like – with polenta or in layers in a lasagne with a béchamel? I love it with rigatoni, those large, ridged tubes of pasta pick up the sauce beautifully. My version uses earthy beetroots, satisfying green lentils and crumbled, rich, fatty walnuts. Delicious! Did you know we sell organic lentils and walnuts in our grocery section? If you have a slow cooker, this is a good one to get going in the morning and enjoy for supper. Simply boil some pasta and you’ve got a hearty, healthy meal ready to go. The ragu also freezes well so I always make a big batch and freeze some for a rainy day. And we are not short of those right now are we?

If you make this recipe please share it with us on our friendly facebook group, and please feel free to share this blog post with your friends and family of course! The illustration above is from my 2021 recipe calendar. While stocks last I’m including a free one with every book order this month. You can add my cookbook to your shopping here. Thank you.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

Method

I usually start a ragu with a soffritto. Soffritto is the word for gently cooking diced vegetables (usually onion, celery and carrot) in a little oil until soft to provide a base flavour to build a sauce, soup or stew from. In this case start with 1 diced onion, 1 large diced beetroot (or 2 small – just give it a scrub and don’t bother peeling, also finely chop & add the purple stalks from any leaves should you be lucky enough to have some – save the green leaves to wilt as a side), 3 diced cloves of garlic and a generous handful or two of crumbled walnuts. If you have celery to hand then definitely add a few diced stalks for extra depth of flavour! 

Sauté the diced vegetables and nuts in the tbsp of olive oil in a large pot until soft. Then add a mug of green lentils, 2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of thyme, a glass of red wine & a tin of chopped tomatoes. If you prefer more Italian herbs with this sauce then sub the thyme with some fennel seeds and a pinch of dried oregano. Add a tin of water or veg stock to swirl out the last of the tomatoey juices from the tin. Season with salt and black pepper.

Simmer until the lentils are cooked through then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. This will take a minimum of 30-40 minutes, but if you have time to simmer for longer, the flavours will be richer. This is one of those sauces that is even better the next day. Keep an eye on the liquid levels as the lentils will absorb a lot. Add more water/stock as needed and give the pot a stir every now and then to prevent sticking.

Serve tossed through pasta or in a warm bowl with soft polenta and wilted greens. 

Get hold of some of our beautiful, organic beetroots when they are in season, sign up for a veg box subscription!