Lentil Flexi Spaghetti Sauce

This mild, high protein vegan spaghetti  sauce doubles as a fantastic chilli. It falls into one of the recipes I try to keep in my freezer but fail because it is the first thing I go for when it is there.

This is one of those recipes that gives well to emptying the fridge. It is never quite the same because I always adjust the exact vegetables based on whats in my fridge.

Red lentils are just so flexible, inoffensive and healthy. If my stomach allowed me I would eat lentils so much more often, all legumes but red lentils especially.

The recipe for a normal serving of sauce serves 6, I happen to like sauce on my pasta not pasta on my sauce so it is more like 4 servings around here, I eat about as much sauce on my pasta as I would in a bowl as a chilli.

Lentil spaghetti sauce
Serves 6

Time: 45min-1hr

2-3tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 grated carrot (or finely chopped)
2 stalks of celery (3 if using small organic celery hearts), finely chopped
1/2 – 1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 zucchini, finely chopped
1 cup red lentils
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can tomato paste
1 can drained, no-salt added diced canned tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh parsley, or basil (1 tsp of dried)
1/2 tsp salt
cayenne pepper to taste (omit for kids)

The easiest way to prepare these veggies is tossing it all (including the garlic and carrots) in a food processor and pulsing to a fine chop. it doesnt result in pretty chunks of veggies but it renders them all perfectly tiny for a kid friendly sauce in seconds. I suggest you do this in two batches (carrots, celery, onions, garlic first, then while they sautee do the red pepper and zucchini)

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium and  cook onion, garlic, celery, carrot, as they start to soften add the zucchini and redpepper cook until all veggies are tender. (about 5 min)

Add lentils and broth and cover to cook for 25-35 min (until lentils are cooked) add the tomato paste, tomatoes, oregano, parsley and cook for another 15 minutes (lentils will go sorta mushy)

Variation: replace the oregano and basil with cinnamon (1 tsp) and all-spice (1/4 tsp) it completely changes the dish in an instant. I love it both ways but I prefer the traditional spices for serving on a pasta.

Tip: Generally this sauce needs no sweetening, but occassionally I get the balance wrong in the veggies I suppose and I find it needs a dash of something,  a little brown sugar works well as does honey if you use it.

Baby friendly: Omit the salt, and you can use an immersion blender to render the sauce even thinner, or entirely into a puree.  My kids have never had pureed pasta sauce cause I cannot be bothered.  (this trick works too for picky husbands, you can even use this as a base for a meat or soy protein sauce to really increase the protein content)

As mentioned, this freezes super well.

Please excuse the formatting. posts will be coming to you via the mobile app for a while.

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