A common misconception with plant-based cooking is that you can’t achieve hearty results and depth in flavor profiles. While this may be something I encountered early on in my dive into going plant-based, all it took was a few tips and tricks to achieve better results. It’s all in the way you prepare and season your plant-based ingredients. I tend to use lots of fresh seasonings, and add in elements like roasting and caramelization to bring out flavors. For this wintertime appropriate lentil bolognese, add a little red wine to enrich the sauce, don’t be afraid to get a nice golden caramelization on your veggies. By the time you add your lentils, they will soak up these elements as they cook for a rustic flavor and overal vibe. Another great tip is to finish with a plant-based ricotta to add a creamy element and cut the acidity of the tomotoes. This is a dish your family will love, once you taste, you’ll understand why no meat was necessary to make this a fulfilling dinner!
Photo Credit: Tuulia.co
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
generous pinches sea salt
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
2 medium carrots, minced
1 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
1/2 cup red table wine
1 – 15 ounce can organic plum tomatoes diced
1 cup black or brown lentils
4 cups organic vegetable stock + additional if needed
Kite Hill Almond Ricotta Cheese or Vegan Parmesan Cheese
Handful fresh basil, torn
1 box Andean Dream Quinoa Spaghetti pasta
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion with a generous pinch of sea salt and cook until it starts to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and italian seasonings to the skillet and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is well caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the red wine, garlic, tomatoes and additional pinch of sea salt to the pan and cook until the sauce is heated throughout and red wine alcohols have cooked off, this takes about 3-5 minutes.
Add the lentils and vegetable stock and bring to a low rolling boil. Reduce the heat and cook the lentils uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until softened. You can stir the lentils every once in a while and if needed, add additional vegetable broth if the sauce/lentil mix is looking dry and the lentils aren’t cooking.
While the lentils are cooking, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add Andean Dream Quinoa Spaghetti, cooking according to package directions and drain.
Plate your pasta topped with the lentil bolognese, sprinkle wtih fresh torn basil leaves and top with generous dollops of Kite Hill Almond Ricotta cheese or you could always top with your choice of vegan parmesan. Season with additional sea salt and cracked pepper as desired.