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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Store Cupboard Dinner - Quick and Easy Lentil Bolognese

This is another cheap, easy, filling and versatile store cupboard recipes that can really come in handy when money is tight or if you feel like a vegetarian option instead of traditional beef bolognese.

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, ends trimmed, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

115g dried split red lentils

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock

2 Tbsp tomato paste

500g dried pasta, not tube shaped

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the finely chopped onion, finely chopped celery, grated carrot and crushed garlic.  Cook, stirring for around 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften.

Add the lentils, tin of tomatoes, stock and tomato paste to the pan.  Stir well then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to the boil.  Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to medium and let it  simmer, partially covered, for around 20 minutes or until the mixture thickens.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions or until al dente to your liking. Drain the pasta and return to the pan.  Pour the sauce into the pan containing the pasta. Stir well to combine, then serve.

You can serve this on thick wholemeal toast, over baked potatoes or with rice if you don't have any pasta in the cupboard.  Sometimes I spoon it into an ovenproof dish, spread it with mashed potato, sprinkle cheese over the top and then put it under the grill to melt the cheese for a really quick and easy vegetarian shepards pie.

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