Growing up my Mum would cook versions of Spaghetti Bolognese all the time and it was one of my most favourite dinners. Coincidentally it was also one of the very first meals I managed to cook successfully after moving out of home.
In Australia Spaghetti Bolognese, traditionally made with beef mince, is a dish you see everywhere. I have been making a vegan Bolognese using lentils for years and this recipe is for one of the simpler versions using tinned tomato soup (a Cam family tradition) for an effortless vegetarian pasta dish that is super filling and tasty.
To cut down the cooking time you could use tinned lentils instead of dried and the dish will be ready in half the time, however, you do get a lovely nutty texture using dried lentils that really adds to the dish. In saying that, if cooking for meat eaters I would increase the cooking time a little as a softer lentil is more reminiscent of mince traditionally used in Spaghetti Bolognese.
Tasty, filling, wonderful delicious and easy to make; serve this vegetarian Bolognese as a great family meal that everyone will enjoy : )
Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese
Preparation time: 45mins // Serves 4
- 300g (10.5 oz) wholemeal spaghetti
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1-2 chillies, diced
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), diced
- 1 cup button mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock (I used a no animal content ‘beef’ stock)
- 1 x 450ml (15 fl oz) can condensed tomato soup
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbs fresh herbs, thyme, oregano or parsley, roughly chopped
Cook the pasta to the packet instructions, strain, toss through olive oil and set aside.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy based frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 1-2 minutes over a medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and chilli, cook for a further minute then add the capsicum and mushrooms.
Cook over a medium heat until the mushrooms are soft, add the dried lentils and toss to combine.
Add the stock, tomato soup, tomato paste, bay leaves and brown sugar; bring to a gentle simmer and cook partly covered for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as need until the lentils are tender and sauce reduced.
Remove the bay leaves, add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss through the cooked spaghetti until warm and well combined. Serve as a great family main meal topped with vegan or vegetarian cheese if you like.