Spaghetti med linsbolognese

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Calling it “bolognese” is… well, not the most accurate description if you would ask the bolognese puritans out there. It definitely doesn’t contain any meat. It doesn’t really taste like bolognese, either (but I honestly can’t even remember what it does taste like? It’s been 19 years now!). But. This is a tomato-based, spaghetti loving, sauce-y, delicious concoction, after all, so what else to call it? It seems like old news by now, but this is yet another dish we LOVE to make a giant batch of, and then eat for leftovers as well as put in the freezer for more dire times. For example, we made a big batch for the ski trip we’re currently on. Ah, what could trump a whole day cross country skiing in the mountains, followed by some sauna time and then a big bowl of spaghetti lentil bolognese? Not much, in our opinion.

We’ve made lentil bolognese many ways over the years, but we keep coming back to red lentils being our favorite kind for this application. The tricky part with red lentils is that they turn from perfect consistency to mushy in literally a second if you don’t watch them closely – which is why we like to put them in the thick tomato sauce from the beginning, where they take longer to cook and thus are easier to control (as opposed to boiling them separately in water and adding them in later on, which is a common method). Not holding back on the tomato paste is another thing we’ve picked up – it gives the sauce that rich, creamy flavor and texture that will have you come back for seconds (and thirds).

Another piece of old news – in addition to us being into big batch-cooking – is that red lentils (as all its legume cousins) hold a massive amount of macro as well as micro nutrients. Where to begin? Fiber, protein, slow carbohydrates. Phosphorus, iron, folic acid, B1, potassium. The list goes on and on. And before we let you go make this – a note on essential amino acids. It seems some people think each meal has to contain all the (9) essential amino acids for us to not end up with a nutritional deficiency. That’s not the case at all. The concept of essential amino acids is simple – these are the ones we have to get from our diet, because the body can’t produce them itself. But as long as we get adequate amounts of them all over the course of a 24-hr period or even a few days or a week, you need not to worry. Most of the time though, your (plant based) meal will provide you with the whole group of essentials anyway, because we usually don’t eat just ONE thing. You have your lentils with pasta (such as here), for example, which means you’re getting methionine (the essential amino acid missing in lentils) from the pasta (methionine is abundant in grains). So worrying about getting enough essential amino acids – provided  you’re eating a varied plant based diet – is not necessary. Ok? Now, go cook this and tell us what you think!

For recipe in English, click here: Lentil Bolognese

4-6 st portioner

1 st medelstor lök (~150 g), hackad
6 st vitlöksklyftor, finhackade
2 st medelstora morötter (~200 g), hackade ganska smått
3 msk olivolja
3 1/2 dl röda linser, sköljda
5 dl vatten
1 msk grönsaksbuljong (motsvarar 1 st tärning)
1200 g krossade tomater
4 msk tomatpuré
1 msk socker
3 msk torkad oregano
500 g spaghetti
En nypa chiliflakes
Salt och svartpeppar

  1. Fräs lök och morötter i 2 msk olivolja och 1/2 tsk salt i en stor kastrull på medelvärme, ca 3 min. Tillsätt vitlöken, och stek tillsammans i någon minut. Tillsätt därefter ytterligare 1 msk olivolja och linserna, och rör samman alla ingredienser ordentligt. Låt detta steka vidare ett par minuter, medan du rör ofta.
  2. Tillsätt krossade tomater, buljongpulver (eller -tärning) och ungefär hälften av vattnet (tips: använd vattnet från när du sköljer ur tomatförpackningarna). Rör om. Sänk värmen till låg, tillsätt tomatpurén och låt sjuda i ca 30 min, eller tills dess att du gillar konsistensen på linserna. Tillsätt resten av vattnet allt eftersom det behövs, och rör ofta.
  3. Under tiden, koka pastan enligt förpackningens instruktioner.
  4. När linserna är klara, stäng av värmen. Rör ner socker, oregano, en nypa chiliflakes och generöst med svartpeppar. Smaka av med salt. Vanligtvis tillsätter vi 1-2 krm mer, men det beror på buljongen i fråga.
  5. Servera pastan tillsammans med såsen i stora skålar. Toppa med mer chiliflakes och/eller svartpeppar om det är din grej, och njut!

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