Earlier this week, talk on the Bill Spadea show turned to food (as it often does,) and I mentioned a delicious and healthy recipe for a vegetarian Bolognese sauce that has become a favorite in my house. I often cook by taste and feel and rarely write my recipes down, but so many of you have asked for this recipe, here it is!

You wont miss the meat in this rich and delicious sauce that we put on everything from pasta, to spaghetti squash to grilled zucchini.

Ingredient list:

  • 1 Large Egg Plant, diced
  • 3 Medium carrots, diced
  • 3 Large celery stalks, diced
  • 1 Large white onion, diced
  • 1 Cup dried green lentils
  • 2 1/2 Cups water or beef broth
  • 2 Cups red wine
  • 2 Cups pureed' tomatoes
  • 4 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Italian seasoning, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Medium Zucchini

Sauce:

Place the lentils in a pot with the water or beef broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
While the lentils are simmering, use a food processor to mince the eggplant, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. (You may have to do this in batches)
In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil to medium. Add the minced veggies, and sauté until they are soft. (5-10 minutes)
Add in the wine, and bring back to a simmer.
Your lentils should have absorbed at least 3/4 of the liquid. They should be softening, but still slightly firm.
Pour the lentils and remaining liquid into your sauce and then add the tomato puree'.
Add the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. (Note: taste this sauce often, and adjust your spices to your liking)
Simmer with the lid on for at least 30 minutes, but longer for a thicker sauce.

Grilled Zucchini:

Slice the zucchini lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, leaving a hollow to place the sauce.
Brush with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
With your grill on medium heat, place the zucchini halves skin side up directly on the grate. cook for 3-5 minutes.
Turn the zucchini over, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. The zucchini should be softened, but not mushy.

Finishing touches:

Lay the zucchini on a plate, and ladle in a generous portion of your Bolognese. Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan and serve with fresh garlic bread.

Enjoy!

Notes: I much prefer fresh herbs, if you have them. For this recipe I use fresh basil, oregano and parsley from my garden. You can also add a whole jalapeño pepper or crushed red pepper flakes for a little spice. You will probably have a good portion of sauce left over. It freezes well. Don't throw it out!
If you prefer a vegan option, I believe you can achieve this by omitting the beef broth and cheese.

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