Puy lentil bolognese with pasta

This Puy Lentil Bolognese from the Eat Well for Less cookbook is an easy vegetarian version of a family favourite.

From the book

Eat Well For Less by
Eat Well For Less
80 delicious recipes for cooking on a budget
All the recipes from the TV series
Easy recipes for classic family favourites


A classic ragu, this is great if you want to cut down on your red meat intake – it has all the flavours and textures of a meat ragu.

Serves 4, with enough for another meal


1 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 tsp picked thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
500g Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
400g tin tomatoes
1.5l vegetable stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
300g pasta
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
grated vegetarian cheese, to serve
green salad, to serve


1 Heat a large frying pan or flameproof casserole dish until
medium hot. Add the olive oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook
over a medium heat for 5 minutes. You want the veg to soften but
not colour – if you like you can put a lid onto the pan to help keep
the moisture in and steam the vegetables at the same time.

2 Add the thyme and garlic and cook for another minute, then
stir in the tomato purée and turn up the heat. Stir well so that the
tomato purée goes all through the vegetables then add the Puy
lentils and mix again.

3 Tip in the tinned tomatoes and the vegetable stock, stir well
and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and
cook for 20–25 minutes until the lentils are tender and the sauce
has reduced slightly.

4 Add the balsamic vinegar and season to taste.

5 When the sauce has only 15 minutes left to cook, bring a
large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and
cook according to the packet instructions until al dente, then
drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

6 To serve, remove half the sauce and set aside in a bowl.

7 Tip the drained pasta into the pan with the remaining sauce
and mix well, adding the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen
the sauce and to coat all the pasta.

8 Serve straightaway with a grating of cheese and perhaps a
green salad.

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