Monday, October 24, 2011

Lentils Bolognese

Lentils are a quick and easy to prepare legume.  They don't have to be pre-soaked and are able to take on a variety of flavours.  Lentils are also an affordable protein source that is high in fibre and very low in fat.  You can find a few different colours of lentils (green, brown, red, yellow, ) and they may be whole or split.  The most common are whole green lentils which retain their shape well when cooked and split red lentils which are good in soup because they will dissolve into a puree. 

Give this recipe a try if you're looking for a vegetarian take on a classic Italian dish.  I thought the apple added a nice sweetness and the aroma was what I know bolognese to smell like.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 70 minutes

1 c brown or red lentils
2 c water
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 c sliced mushrooms
1 c chopped canned tomatoes
1 can (5 1/2 oz/156 mL) tomato paste
1 apple, diced
1/2 c cider vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
juice of one lemon

1. In a medium saucepan, bring lentils, water and bay leaf to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.  Drain and rinse and discard bay leaf.  Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Saute garlic, onion and mushrooms until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add cooked lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, apple, vinegar, oregano and lemon juice; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.  Serve on whole wheat spaghetti with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Per serving: 153 Calories, 3.9g fat, 24.7g carbohydrate, 4.9g fibre, 7.8g protein; very high in iron and folate, high in fibre and magnesium.

Simply Great Food, Dietitians of Canada, 2007
Lentils, World's Healthiest Foods

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching