Growing up, we always ate spaghetti and meatballs on Monday nights. It’s not like we had a weekly dinner rotation or anything, that was just Monday night dinner. And we loved it. That was before “Meatless Monday” was a thing, anyway. Being kosher, we had a lot of meatless dinners throughout the week, so I don’t even feel the least bit guilty that most of my life was spent eating meat on Monday nights.
That being said, I decided I wanted to vegetarian-ize our favorite Monday night dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to make spaghetti and meatballs for my family on Monday nights in all different forms, whether it’s meat sauce instead of meatballs, meatballs made with ground turkey, or spaghetti squash instead of traditional spaghetti. This time, I decided to do something completely different and make the sauce vegetarian. I used lentils, which are very healthy and cheap, in place of the meat, and made a thick tomato sauce that’s full of veggies and super healthy.
I made it in the morning, so that once dinner time came around, all I had to do was boil my pasta and dinner was ready! Talk about an easy meal. This is also something that can be made in advance, like the day before, and refrigerated, or even frozen for a quick meal on a too-busy weeknight.
As is, this is a vegan dish, but since we’re kosher and can never have meat and cheese together, you can always add some grated parmesan cheese to the top, just because you can.
Lentil Bolognese, adapted from here:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 big can chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 pound pasta of choice
1. In a large pot (I used my Le Creuset), heat the olive oil.
2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat, until they begin to soften and brown. Season with salt and pepper and the oregano.
3. Add the tomato paste and wine and turn the heat up to high.
4. Stir until the wine evaporates.
5. Add the tomatoes, parsley, basil, and spinach.
6. Bring to a boil.
7. Add the lentils and the water and let boil for one minute.
8. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Now your sauce is done!
10. Cook pasta according to package directions.
11. Spoon sauce over pasta and add some fresh basil and parsley to the top. Grate some cheese if you want. Enjoy!