THICK ’n HEARTY TOMATO SAUCE
I love lentils and I love tomatoes so I just knew this recipe would be a winner. It was delicious and I served it over courgette spaghetti which is my new favourite way to have courgettes. It adds an extra vegetable and colour to your meal and I think it looks really pretty! You just need a julienne peeler (which cost about £5) and you can make long spaghetti strings of courgette. I like to fry it in a little olive oil and salt and pepper as I find this the tastiest way. You do get a lot of liquid which needs straining off or it will leave water on your plate. I also made the Super Cheesy Sprinkle recipe which you can see on the top of the sauce (The recipe can be found in the menu on left!).
I’m sure this tomato sauce would be great on most things, as a pasta topping, layered in a lasagne or with some thick wholemeal bread. I didn’t use fennel as I’m not a fan but I’ve kept the recipe as Dreena wrote it. She knows how to make tasty food!
Makes 7–8 cups
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2–3 cups water,
- 4 medium-large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional; see note)
- 2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
- 1 can (28 oz) or box (26 oz) crushed tomatoes (see note)
- 1 cup finely grated or minced carrot (see note)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste or 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed (see note)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 11/2–2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
Add 2 tablespoons of water, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper to a large pot. Turn heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 4–5 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn (reduce heat if needed). Add the wine, bring heat up to a boil, and let bubble for a minute or two. Add lentils, tomatoes, carrot, tomato paste, basil, oregano, fennel seed, remaining 2 1/2 cups water, vinegar, and maple syrup. Increase heat to high to bring mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If, after 25 minutes, the lentils aren’t softened, add more water and simmer again until cooked through. Taste, season as desired, and thin with water if needed. If you like, use an immersion blender to puree and smooth out the sauce. Serve over pasta, quinoa, rice, or layer in lasagne.
Wine Note: The alcohol burns off through simmering and leaves a lovely flavour, but you can omit if preferred.
Tomatoes Note: Use an immersion blender to “crush” whole or diced canned tomatoes. Pour off some liquid into your soup pot, then insert an immersion blender into the can and pulse to desired texture.
Carrot Note: Measure roughly a heaping cup of sliced chopped carrots to yield 1 cup of minced. You can grate the carrot, or pop it in a mini food processor and pulse until minced.
Fennel Note: I quite like the flavour fennel seed adds to this sauce. If you think people might be fussy, use 1/4 teaspoon.
Kitchen Tip: This makes a large batch, great for a large dinner party or to freeze portions.
Thanks to Dreena Burton for permission to use the recipes from Plant Powered Families.