Wednesday 11 January 2023


It's "Veganuary" and after al the food indulgence of Christmas I have been excited to find some truly great Vegan friendly dishes during this gloomy, dark and work heavy month.

Good thing then that I stumbled across this fully vegan pasta dish (if you omit the Parmesan which I couldn't quite on this occasion), because this lentil and aubergine bolognese is not some sort of second rate version of the classically meaty bolognese but a real SHOW STOPPER, better in my opinion than any meaty version!

Trust me on this one - the combo of slowly caramelised aubergine and red onion, lentils, red wine and herbs is all kinds of incredible and for me it's a new pasta dish favourite, even once January is over and done with!



  • 400g spaghetti
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 aubergines, cut into 2cm dice
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Medjool date, chopped
  • 200g Puy lentils, well rinsed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine (if making for vegans, use vegan red wine)
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated cheese (Parmesan or a vegan or vegetarian alternative)


  • Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium–high heat and add the red onion with a good pinch of salt. 
  • Fry for 2–3 minutes until just softened, then add the aubergines and another pinch of salt. 
  • Fry for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until golden and caramelised. 
  • Tip the aubergine and onion out of the pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan over a medium heat and gently fry the finely chopped onion, celery and carrot for about 5 minutes until softened. 
  • Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes, then add the tomato purée and spices and cook, stirring, for another minute.
  • Add the chopped date, lentils, tomatoes, wine, stock and oregano. 
  • Cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer for another 20 minutes to allow the excess liquid to evaporate. 
  • After this time, the lentils should be completely tender, but if not, add a splash of water and continue to simmer gently until they are.
  • Using a hand blender, pulse about half of the mixture: you can do this in the pan. 
  • This will thicken up the mixture while also leaving some chunkier bits. 
  • You may need to add a splash of water to loosen the bolognese. 
  • Stir in the reserved onion and aubergine, then taste and adjust the seasoning. 
  • Serve with pasta of your choice and grated cheese.

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