My boyfriend is vegetarian, but I’m not. This doesn’t actually cause any problems, it just means that when I cook dinner it’s almost always vegetarian. But when we go out, I almost always order meat. When they bring out our meals, wait staff almost always assume the meat is for him, not me. Is it really that unusal for a boy to order something vegetarian and a girl to order a steak?
Anyway. I made this dish once because I was hungry and spaghetti with a tomato sauce wasn’t going to cut it, so I threw in some lentils. And the result is something that approximates spag bol. If you give it to someone who hasn’t eaten meat for more than 10 years, they’ll believe you when you tell them that it’s almost exactly like spag bol. But tricking vegetarians isn’t the only reason to make it – it also happens to be tasty and filling. And cheap, which is important for a poor student like me.
Vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise
Serves 4. It should probably serve more, but we’re greedy.
This recipe really isn’t exactly what you’d call ‘precise’. I think I change it a bit each time I make it. You can throw in other vegetables too, like carrots, celery and mushrooms. It’s pretty hard to get it wrong.
about 1/3 packet of tubular spaghetti (it really is better with the tubes)
a tablespoon or so of olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
a couple of teaspoons of oregano
a couple of teaspoons of dried chilli flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
about 1/4 cup of red wine
about a cup of vegetable stock
a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of brown lentils, rinsed and drained
100 g fetta, crumbled
handful of parsley, chopped finely
Cook pasta according to packet instructions.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook onions and garlic until soft. Add oregano, chilli, bay leaves and salt and pepper and stir for a few seconds until mixed through. Add wine, stock, tomato past and tinned tomatoes. Bring to the simmer for a few minutes. Add the lentils and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and spag bol-ish. This takes a few minutes. Add cooked, drained spaghetti and mix the lentils through. Stir through the fetta and parsley.
Sometimes we have this with extra cheese, which is really not necessary, but good nonetheless. I find that in pasta, as with in life, you can never have too much cheese.