During the week I like to make a few vegan or vegetarian meals for my hungry little campers. The research that I have read suggests it is good for us to take a break from eating meat. Personally, I think this is a great idea. It also means I have to think of new ideas for dinner and this is a challenge I enjoy. I remember my friend telling me that she makes a delicious spag bol with lentils so I thought I would give it a try in the slow cooker and we were not disappointed.
Lentils are a small but mighty member of the legume family. They are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are a great benefit to managing blood sugar disorders. Since they’re high in fibre, they prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. However, this is just a small taste of what lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide excellent amounts of minerals, vitamins and nutrients. They can contribute to a healthy heart, they are beneficial to the digestive system and the soluble fibre helps to stabilise the blood sugar levels.
Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese is delicious and healthy. It’s packed full of tasty ingredients and it was a very simple dinner. Slow cooked dinners are always the best and we all enjoy them. Especially me, as I know all I have to do is put in the slow cooker and leave it until we want to eat. I realise that not everyone has the space for a slow cooker but I would invest if you do. They are great and they have saved me lots of time in the kitchen and I could not live without one now. If you do not have a slow cooker I’ve done the ‘on the hob’ version as well.
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping board
- Slow cooker or large saucepan
- Saucepan for cooking pasta
- Stirring spoon
- Vegetable peeler
- Measuring jug
- Lentils x 300g (red or green or both)
- Tinned tomatoes x 2 400g
- Onions x 1 large
- Yellow pepper x 1
- Red pepper x 1
- Vegetable stock x 250ml
- (please see http://www.foodfamilyandfunak.com for more details)
- Carrots x 2
- Dried oregano x 1 tsp
- Bay leaves x 2
- Garlic x 2 cloves
- Basil x 1 handful
- Spinach x 200g
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for large saucepan
Method for slow cooker
- Start by peeling and chopping the onion and the garlic.
- Put into the pot of the slow cooker.
- Then peel and grate the carrot and put that into the pot as well.
- Slice the yellow and red pepper, discarding the seeds and green stalks.
- Add them in along with the tomatoes, stock, lentils, dried oregano, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
- Put the lid on and cook on a low heat for eight hours or a high heat for four hours.
- Stirring occasionally.
- Once the cooking time is over add the basil and spinach in at the end and let it wilt down.
- Meanwhile you could start cooking your pasta.
- Turn off the slow cooker once the spinach has wilted.
- Serve with the pasta and enjoy.
Method for on the hob
- Start by peeling and grating your carrots and set aside
- Peel and chop the onions and garlic and again set aside.
- Next slice the peppers discarding the seeds and green stalks.
- Heat the saucepan on a medium to high heat and add the onions and garlic.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the peppers to the pan.
- Fry for a further two minutes or until the peppers start to soften.
- Next add the tomatoes, stock, dried oregano, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to the boil and then add the lentils.
- If you are using just red lentils these should take around twenty minutes to cook but if you are using green lentils these will take about thirty minutes to cook.
- However, if you are using both add the green ones first then after 10 minutes add the red ones.
- Then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for the time that suits you.
- Once cooking is over and the lentils are soft, add in the spinach and basil.
- Wait for these to wilt in the pan.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
- When the spinach has wilted put the pasta in the sauce and stir.
- Serve and enjoy.
The dish was a great mid week meal that we all enjoyed. Next time I cook this dinner I may double up on everything so that I can freeze the leftovers. Then all I have to do the night before is remove the sauce from the freezer and heat through the next day with pasta. It is a very simple and easy meal that the whole family can enjoy. However you decide to eat it, as always, enjoy.