Spaghetti Bolognese is a bit underrated, isn't it? It's not something that I ever used to choose in a restaurant when I was a meat eater, but there's no denying the classic tomato and pasta combo! I can't promise that this recipe is particularly similar to the original, but it's a very tasty vegan version which I am currently scoffing whilst sat in my dressing gown, nursing a cold. With cheese on top, obviously. It's still cold outside, which is a good excuse (as though you need one) for eating all the pasta. I make this in an oven proof casserole dish so that I can transfer straight from the hob to the oven for slow cooking. If you don't have one you could do the whole thing in a saucepan, just put a lid on and simmer on a low heat. This makes a generous amount - I have enough for a few dinners and lunches, so it would definitely be enough to feed four for a main meal.
2 tbsp oil of choice (I use rapeseed oil)
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 small aubergine, cut into cubes (about 1cm square or smaller)
2 heaped tsp crushed garlic/garlic puree
1 tin plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (I stick some clean kitchen scissors in the tin to do this)
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
250g red lentils, rinsed
6 tbsp green lentils, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
500ml vegetable stock
Black pepper to taste
If using the oven, pre-heat to 190C.
Heat the oil in a large pan or casserole dish and fry the carrot and onion on a medium heat for 5 minutes, until starting to soften.
Turn the heat down slightly. Add the aubergine and garlic, fry for 2 minutes.
Stir through the rinsed lentils and add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and ketchup.
Add the dried herbs (including bay leaves) and black pepper, then stir in the vegetable stock.
Slow cook in the oven or on the hob for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft.
Serve with spaghetti and a sprinkle of cheese (I grate some Violife original block on top).