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simple lentil bolognese

It’s the start of a new year!  The perfect time to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle after the holiday season.  One of my goals is to start cooking more and it is easy to do that when you have a full stocked fridge and pantry.  Another easy way to get back in to cooking is to plan simple quick meals for the week.  That way, when you get home from a busy day at work, you will already have a simple menu planned.  Try to plan meals that will take you no longer than 30-45 minutes from start to finish because that is the key to wanting to cook after a busy day (it would most likely take you that long to get takeout anyways!).

On the menu tonight – Lentil Bolognese.

Ingredients (serves 6-8):

  • 1 lb whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 white mushrooms
  • 2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper to taste


1. Start by putting 1 cup of lentils in a pot (or rice cooker) with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, until tender.

2. Next, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add your pasta and cook until al-dente, about 7-9 minutes.  Drain, rinse with hot water to prevent sticking and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, get to work chopping your veggies! Mince your garlic, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini and mushrooms.

4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add your onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Add your chopped carrots and celery and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender.

6. Then, add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until just tender.

7. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes and tomato paste and cook on medium-low heat until warm.

8.  Add cooked lentils and basil.

9. Mix everything together and simmer until ready to serve.

10. Serve warm over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.

This makes a terrific weeknight dinner because it only takes about 40 minutes to prepare start to finish and tastes delicious!  Vegetables make super simple dinners and when you pair them with beans or a grain (or both!), you add protein to keep you satisfied.

This recipe will serve 6-8 people.  You can cut the recipe in half, or make the full recipe and save it for leftovers.  It keeps very well in the fridge or freezer!