Lentils are wonderful in my opinion and often given a bad reputation as a ‘hippie’ food only eaten by those following a vegetarian or strictly plant-based diet. I eat meat, but I always make sure that my cupboards are well stocked with protein-packed legumes and pulses, for those days when I just don’t fancy any meat at all. Eating too much meat can leave me feeling a bit ‘meh’ so I like to balance the heavy meat dishes out with a couple of vegetarian dishes each week and lentils are a fabulous substitute.
At the moment, I’m trying to budget a lot more and one thing that I’m massively trying to reign in is our food budget. I will be sharing lots more budget friendly healthy meals on the blog over the next few months as well as some budget-friendly grocery hauls too. A lot of the time, when I say I’m going to cut the shopping bill, I make a big effort for the first few weeks and then it spirals out of control again – I love my food, what can I say! However, this time, I’m on a mission and taking it more seriously.
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 500 g dried red lentils
- 700 g passata
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 500 g spaghetti or your favourite pasta
- 150 g frozen petit pois
- 1 aubergine eggplant, cubed
In a large saucepan, heat some oil and fry off the onion, aubergine (eggplant) and garlic until tender and aromatic (around 15 minutes)
Stir in the lentils, passata, tomato puree, vegetable stock cube, balsamic vinegar and herbs. Cook for a further 20 minutes on a low simmer. Finally add the petit pois at the end of cooking to warm through.
While simmering, cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions.
Serve the lentil bolognese over the spaghetti and top with grated parmesan (optional).
Ingredients like lentils are a wonderful budget-friendly food and can be used in so many meals, as the star ingredient or as an added extra to bulk out meals. Talking of bulking out meals I added some lovely petit pois to this bolognese as well as some meaty aubergine for even more fibre and wholesomeness.
This lentil bolognese in its rich tomatoey homemade sauce is really delicious and so simple to make. I would normally make this with organic minced beef, but I really didn’t miss the meat at all because the lentils are so hearty. Next time I make this I’m going to make a massive batch that I can store in my new freezer. This way I will have a healthy budget friendly meal all ready to go when I’m in a rush and don’t have time to cook.