Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Red pepper and lentil bolognese

I have previously shared an aubergine and pepper bolognese that offers a satisfying mid-week (or anytime) vegetable-packed meal. This red pepper and lentil bolognese is a worthy alternative. I paired this version with pasta spirals instead of spaghetti and really enjoyed the result. I know pasta shapes don't matter that much, but somehow they change the feel of a meal and I think this one suits spirals!


There are a few additions to this dish that make it different to a standard vegetable bolognese. Indeed, it is edging towards mole territory with the inclusion of cocoa powder and paprika. It also features tahini. I'm not sure how essential these ingredients are as they feature in small quantities, but I thoroughly enjoyed the final result. It met with approval from Mr Bite too, which is significant when considering he doesn't usually like wholemeal pasta and I used that for this.

This would be an easy dish to whip up after work, but it can also be made in advance and left on the stove top across the afternoon. Leftovers re-heat well too so it should suit whatever your meal-related circumstances are!

Red pepper and lentil bolognese
A satisfying pasta dish for 4

Author: Bite-sized thoughts

Drizzle of oil (I used oil from a jar of sun dried tomatoes)
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried ground oregano
1/2 tbsp dried ground paprika
1-1/2 cups (1 tin) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1 tsp tahini
1/2 tsp salt
Few cracks black pepper
2 large red bell peppers, sliced
2 medium carrot, diced
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1-1/2 cups (1 tin) cooked lentils (any variety; mine were standard brown lentils)
Wholemeal pasta spirals to serve 4, or equivalent of spaghetti or other pasta variety of choice

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan and add the onion, garlic, oregano and paprika. Saute for several minutes, until the mix is fragrant and starting to turn golden.

Add approximately one-quarter of the crushed tomatoes to the pan, along with the cocoa, maple syrup, tahini, salt, black pepper, bell peppers and carrots. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring regularly, for approximately 5 minutes. Add the remaining tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally,

Add the broccoli and cooked lentils to the pan and stir through. Turn the heat off and allow the bolognese mix to stand while you cook the pasta.

Combine the cooked pasta with the sauce and heat through before serving.

What meal/s are you enjoying this week?


  1. bolognaise sauce with cocoa and tahini tickles my fancy - I don't make spag bol sort of meals often because they bore me a bit but I think that I would love to give this a go - yours looks very pretty

  2. I love the interesting ingredients in the spag bol - it's such a staple meal, I'm glad it's getting a fancy makeover!

  3. This dish looks so much more colourful than a traditional bol - which I admit we eat rather often. I love the interesting twist you've given it!

  4. "I know pasta shapes don't matter that much, but somehow they change the feel of a meal"
    It's funny as I realized we had taken a break from spiral noodles recently so I just bought some ;)
    I'm intrigued by the cocoa and tahini in this. It sounds really good. I like the idea of adding lentils for a good protein boost.

    1. We have spiral noodles a lot too, so in theory I should take a break from them!

  5. This sounds like a tasty meal and even better that you can make it quickly after work,


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