I wanted to re-introduce you to The Great Vegan Bean Book, which is one of my favorite books. I loved writing it because I got to play around with dozens of different types of beans. Each recipe starts with a common bean, like the humble lentil in this Lentil Quinoa Bolognese.
If you try out my favorite one, Beluga lentils, it will cook up a little faster. I also like the way the smaller lentil looks in the sauce. It’s the kind used in these beautiful photos by Renee Comet.
Not only does this hearty pasta sauce make your meal, it even sneaks some greens into any picky eaters you might have in the house!
- 1 cup (192 g) lentils (green, brown, or beluga)
- 3 medium carrots (peeled if not organic), each cut into 4 large pieces
- 1-2 cups (235 to 475 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can (20 ounces, or 560 g) crushed tomatoes, or 3 cups (750 g) homemade puree plus 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1½ t. dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon (2 g) dried basil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or crushed dried chilies (optional)
- 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces (about 3 cups [201 g]) (optional)
- ½ cup (87 g) quinoa, rinsed well
- ½ cup (120 ml) red wine or 2 tablespoons (28 ml) balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cooked pasta, for serving (use GF pasta for a GF meal)
- Add the lentils, carrots, and water to a large soup pot. Turn the heat to high, cook until the mixture is simmering, and then decrease to low and cover. Cook until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
- While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper and garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
- Once the carrots and lentils are cooked remove the carrots from the pot of lentils and add them to a food processor or blender along with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kale, and sauteed veggies, and puree until smooth.
- At the same time, add the quinoa and red wine to the pot of lentils. Turn the heat to medium, cook until it starts to simmer again, and then cover and decrease the heat to low. Cook until the quinoa start to show their white tails.
- Add the puree to the lentil-quinoa mixture and cook, covered, over low heat until the sauce melds and heats thoroughly, about 20 minutes.
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