Written by Hayley Koita

food | recipes

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10 Apr, 2021

Vegetarian Bolognese

This dish embraces the whatever-is-in-the-pantry moer-by style cooking I am drawn to on most weeknights. It’s simple, nutritious and budget-friendly since you can use canned goods and pulses that are widely available. What’s more: my meat-loving family gave the taste, flavour and smell the thumbs-up too!

Feel free to make some substitutes with whatever veggies are in season or in your vegetable tray, or using canned baked beans instead of lentils, if you’d prefer.


3 cups Brown lentils, cooked and drained (or substitute with canned and drained red kidney beans)
2 medium Carrots
Half a stem of Celery or celeriac (celery root)
1 Small red Onion
2 cloves of Garlic
1 tsp fresh Oregano
1 tbsp fresh Basil
2 bay leaves
1tsp Smoked paprika
1 Beef stock cube/pot or 1tbsp stock powder (I use Knorr stock pots or Ina Parmaan’s Beef Stock powder)
1 can of chopped tomato
1 tbsp Tomato paste (with 1 tsp sugar to cut the acidity)
5 tbsp Tomato purée
4 chopped Mushrooms
Salt & pepper to taste
Spaghetti or zucchini noodles (for a lower carb version)
Parmigiano Reggiano or cheese powder


Chop the carrots, celery and onion finely. Sauté in the olive oil until tender. Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes – making sure the garlic doesn’t turn brown because that will make it bitter.

Add lentils, chopped mushrooms, stock, tomato paste, tomato purée, smoked paprika, herbs and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Cook your pasta according to the pasta instructions, and serve under a generous helping of the sauce, garnishing with more fresh herbs and parmigiano reggiano cheese.


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