Red Lentil "Ragu"
Rarely do I make a dish that is just for the boys. In general I like to make a meal that we can all share, even if it is perhaps a little more mellow in flavours for the little ones and with a texture that they can chew and enjoy. Not always with success, but that is our approach. For this recipe, however, I wanted to make a dish for them that their parents would also enjoy. A child’s meal for the grown ups.
To suggest that our boys love pasta would be an understatement. It is a wonder that they are not a deep shade of orange from the amount of tomato sauce they consume. Did you know - there is a technical term for this, lycopenemia. We are on track to achieve that. Goals.
Legumes and grains make for a complete plant based protein. We are largely not preoccupied with providing complete protein for each of their meals, so long as they get enough in the course of the day. Our bodies store and use amino acids as they need them so long as they are made available throughout the day, but it is good knowing that they are getting a good dose of it in case they decide to only lick dirt and eat grapes for the remainder of that day.
To jazz this up for grownups, or if you’d like to introduce stronger flavours to your little ones, sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts can add depth and layers to this simple fare. Simply soak 1/2 a cup of each for a few hours in warm water and then coarsely chop and add to the simmering pot during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. And, of course, add some chilli!
If you are after a quick and satisfying nod towards a parmesan like cheese, then add 1/2 cup of cashews, 2tbsp of nutritional yeast and a tbsp of coarse see salt (we use Malden) to a food processor and and whizz to a coarse crumble.
- 1/2 celery stick
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup split red lentils
- 2 cups passata
- 3 cups water
- 1 tbsp vegetable boiullon
- Finely dice (or grate on the largest grating blades of a box grater) the celery, carrot, onion and garlic and sautee with the olive oil and salt in a large pot for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Cover the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes. Yes, that simple.
- Cook wholegrain pasta according to package instructions, strain and add enough sauce to the pasta pot and stir well to coat.
- Season with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and chilli flakes and enjoy!