Red Lentil Bolognese Recipe

This amazingly tasty recipe uses lentils in place of ground beef to deliver you a chunky, filling, protein packed and healthy Italian style dinner. I promise you that you will be craving this sauce over and over again! To reduce carbohydrates, I used two zucchinis, spiraled into noodles, instead of pasta. I always use raw zucchini noodles. The heat from the sauce will warm them. If you try to cook them they get incredibly soggy and watery.

Lentils are packed with protein and fiber, vitamins and minerals too. Unlike ground beef they have nearly zero fat (not even 1 gram in a cup) and cholesterol. Whereas ground beef has over 23 grams of fat in one cup. See recipe below!

Red Lentil Bolognese Recipe:

Ingredients

Lentils

  • 1 cup dry red lentils (if you want to use canned lentils it would be about 2.5 cups canned)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf  (if you don’t have just omit- I know a lot of people don’t keep bay leaves on hand)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Bolognese

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced ( I always use Vidalia, just a preference)
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½  teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons organic brown sugar (or coconut sugar or raw unrefined sugar crystals)
  • ½ cup red wine (I use inexpensive red wine, whatever I have in the house for cooking since I don’t actually drink it J )
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegan (ore regular if you’re not vegan) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1, 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

Lentils

(If using dried lentils, if not—skip) Combine lentils, vegetable broth, bay leaf, oregano, basil, salt and pepper in a small pot. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook covered until lentils are very soft, 20-25 minutes. I found that the lentils absorbed the broth quickly so I added a little more water as needed.  Remove from heat and allow lentils to cool. Do not drain. I left the lentils as a ‘soupy’ consistency.  Set aside as you prepare the sauce.

Bolognese

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper, salt and black pepper to pot and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook 1 minute more. Add wine to pot and stir to scrape up browned bits. Continue to simmer until most of the wine cooks off, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to pot and cook 1 minute more. Add crushed tomatoes, prepared lentils, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook partially covered for 20 to 25 minutes.

Season Bolognese with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot over zucchini noodles or with roasted vegetables.

Calorie Saver!

1 Cup Ground Beef 1 Cup Lentils
340 calories 250 calories
23 g fat 0.8 g fat
490 mg sodium 10 mg sodium
108 mg cholesterol 0 mg cholesterol
29 g protein 18 g protein