Hi there. It’s me, Ashlie the carnivore. You see, I love the idea of a meat free diet. I’m a huge fan of vegetables, especially raw and the added challenge of getting in enough protein and a good variety of foods is very appealing to me. It’s a great way to dig deeper and learn more about which foods provide which nutrient profile.
On the flip side, I love poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. I’ve tried many amazing meat free meals and my response is typically the same. This is delish but next time I’m making it with chicken. There’s something about the texture of meat that tricks my brain into feeling like it’s a complete meal.
Take a good pasta sauce like bolognese for example. The ground meat really is the star of the show, right? Well, not anymore. This lentil bolognese is equally satisfying and when it’s combined with the chunky veggies, the sweet and slightly acidic taste of tomato’s and the aromatic taste from the herbs, you can hardly tell the difference between lentils and ground beef. If you still aren’t sold on lentil bolognese, hop on over to my recipe for cheater bolognese made with grass fed beef. You can find the recipe here.
Lentils are an excellent base for this dish. The texture is nice and firm so they hold up well to add some depth to the sauce. Lentils are also super nutritious. They are high in B vitamins, potassium, zinc, magnesium and a great source of iron, which is key when following a meat free diet.
To add in more protein, pair this bolognese with some protein pasta. Or, balance out the carbs in the sauce with a veggie noodle. I love zoodles and butternut squash. Alternatively, you could pour this sauce over some steamed broccoli. However, if you’re new to lentils, be mindful that lentils and broccoli are both excellent sources of fiber AKA can cause bloating in some people.
A serving of this bolognese is 8oz and breaks down to 184 calories with a macro profile of 30c/8p/4f. Since this meal is higher in carbs and lower in protein, I suggest incorporating high protein snacks and meals throughout the rest of the day to balance it out.
- 1lb. Boiled brown lentils
- 14.5oz mirepoix mix (alternatively make your own by combining 2/3 cup each of chopped celery, carrot and onion)
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 15oz. tomato sauce
- 15oz. fire roasted tomato with diced garlic
- 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon avocado garlic oil (olive oil or avocado oil are also great options)
- 1 Tablespoon garlic puree
- 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1.5 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Optional toppings: capers, fresh parsley
- Heat oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add mirepoix mix and onion and sauté until tender, 4 – 5 minutes. Sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Add garlic and sauté an additional two minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add lentils to the pan and break up carefully without breaking down each lentil. Sprinkle with the remaining half of the salt and pepper. Cool for 3 – 5 min. Add sautéed mirepoix mix to pan. Add oregano, thyme, basil, tomato paste, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
- Mix together and turn heat to simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve over favorite paste or veggie noodles and top with capers and fresh parsley.