This is the ultimate comfort food bursting with hidden nourishment and plant-based goodness. With red lentil flour to add protein and a velvety consistency (without the mushy lentil texture), and vegetables cut so small, even the pickiest eater will gobble it up without a fuss. Just a little chopping in the food processor and then slow bubbling on the stove, this is a dish that maximises flavour with minimal effort.
Either finely dice the onions or quickly whizz them in the food processor so they are finely cut but not mush! Then heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion over a low heat for a good 15 minutes, stirring now and then to ensure it doesn’t burn but goes a lovely deep brown colour.
Meanwhile, finely chop the celery, carrots, courgette, and mushroom into tiny cubes (or briefly whizz in the food processor). You can do these vegetables all together as they are going to be added to the pan together.
Once the onion is a lovely deep brown colour, add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring, until fragrant.
Then add the celery, carrots, courgette and mushroom and cook over a low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring now and then to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan. You may need to add a touch more oil at this point or perhaps a splash of water to prevent sticking. You will find that the mixture reduces in quantity as it cooks down and goes a deeper brown.
After 10 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients (except the spaghetti). It will look like there is too much liquid, but don’t worry, the red lentil flour soaks up a lot of liquid so it will go lovely and thick during cooking! Bring to the boil then stir, put the lid on the pan, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and simmer very gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After cooking down, the vegetables should all be soft and the sauce should be thick and a deep red colour. Check the taste and add a generous pinch of salt and pepper (to taste).
Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions (usually 6-8 minutes in a large pan of boiling salted water), drain the pasta and mix in the pan with the bolognese sauce.
Feel free to add whatever vegetables you have in your kitchen, e.g. peppers, beetroot, cauliflower, aubergine.