Pasta Sauce With Lentils

This is a great-tasting sauce for those who want to cut down on red meat without sacrificing that thick, meat-sauce flavour and texture.

Elapsed time 1 1/4 hours

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped
  • 6 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 19-oz. can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup dried green lentils*
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • water
  • your favourite pasta
  • Saute the carrot, onions, garlic and celery in the oil over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes.

    Empty the stewed tomatoes into a small mixing bowl and mash lightly with a potato masher to break them down into smaller piece. For a somewhat spicier taste, use Italian-style stewed tomatoes.

    Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, basil, oregano and lentils to the onion mixture and stir well. Simmer over low to medium heat for 1 hour, adding water as necessary to keep the mixture from becoming too dry or thick. It should have the consistency of a meat sauce.

    Serve over your favourite pasta.

    TIP: Make the sauce a bit thinner by adding a little more water during cooking and use it in your favourite lasagne recipe instead of meat sauce.

    * Lentils are the only legume (beans to the non-cogniscenti) that don't have to be soaked or pre-cooked to tenderize. They're high in both fibre and protein.