As I mentioned last week, I want to eat more vegetarian and vegan food in 2018. It's tasty, it's good for you and it's better for the environment - so really it's a bit of a no-brainer. Any intention where I get to eat halloumi on the reg is a pretty good intention if you ask me. We started off pretty well, although I appreciate that it's only the first week - we've had halloumi tacos and some butternut squash fritter-type things from The Savvy Cook (*such* a good book, especially if you want to eat more veggies!).
I also whipped up a batch of this lentil & mushroom ragu. As with a lot of things that I make, it was one of those 'chuck it in a saucepan and see what happens' type of deals, and it turned out pretty good. It's not got quite the same meatiness as a beef-based ragu, although I think if you cut up the mushrooms a little chunkier it would replicate some of the texture if you're missing that, but it has a lot of the other things that I love about a lovely bolognese - depth of flavour from the wine and bay, sweet little chunks of tomato and deliciously soft onion, and an excuse to cover your entire dinner with Parmesan (use a vegetarian version if that's important to you!). My favourite vegetarian dishes are ones where they stand alone on their own merit, rather than try to substitute the meat, but if you're doing Veganuary or are just trying to cut back on meat like I am, this is a good option for something that's comforting and carby.
Lentil & Mushroom Ragu
- 100g red lentils, cooked by packet instructions
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely grated
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 glass of red wine
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper, to taste
- spaghetti and parmesan to serve!
- Add a splash of oil to a reasonably sized saucepan over a medium heat. Once warmed slightly, add the onion and soften for a 3-4 minutes. If the onion starts to brown, turn the heat down.
- Throw in the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes more until the mixture has reduced and softened. It should be smelling pretty good by this point!
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes, wine and vegetable stock. Add the lentils and stir through the tomato paste, sugar, oregano and bay leaves.
- Simmer gently for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
- Discard the bay leaves and serve over spaghetti (or your choice of pasta) with a generous sprinkling of parmesan!
This keeps well in the fridge and can also be frozen if you want to batch cook!