Years ago when I was living in New York City, I attended a party one night and a lentil pasta sauce was served. I fell in love with the dish and have tried to find similar recipes over the years, but have never attempted to make it on my own, until now. I don’t know what took me so long. I love lentils and am always trying to find new recipes with them. Lentils are part of the legume family, and are high in fiber and protein as well as other nutrients like iron and folate. They are extremely versatile and cook quickly, no soaking required! So I decided to create my own recipe based on my fuzzy memory of this dish that has always been stuck in the back of my mind. My creation turned out better than I expected and my family ate it up. My three year old even ate the leftovers the following day, which is high praise as he generally doesn’t like leftovers! Enjoy!
Garden Lentil Bolognese
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
1 red bell pepper, quartered
1 zucchini, cut into large chunks
1 yellow squash, cut into large chunks
1 cup red lentils
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Water as needed
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated parmesan (optional)
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with olive oil. Meanwhile, place the onions and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Sauté the onions and garlic in the pan until soft, about 5 minutes.
- While the onion and garlic are cooking, put the bell pepper, zucchini and squash in the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add to the pan with the onions and garlic. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
- Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Using the tomato can, add about a half can of water. Stir together. Add the Italian seasoning and the next 3 through the crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add more water as needed to keep the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve over whole grain spaghetti with freshly grated parmesan if desired.
Have you ever had a dish that stood out in your mind and lingered in your memory for years?