You Know You Make Me…

Lentil Bolognese
There has been a lot of action in the Casa de Dancing Veggies lately, lots of cooking and lots of recipe testing.  In theory by the end of tonight I should have two more posts in addition to this one to celebrate two blog parties.  One is the monthly International Incident Party hosted by Jeroxie and the other is a new one courtesy of RSVP Redux.  Both pushed me to the edge and required me to use ingredients that I had either never used before or to use ingredients in a whole new way.  I was also able to add a new cooking technique which is always a positive thing.  Before I get ahead of myself though I figured I should share a recipe that is beyond basic beyond simple and also a great vegetarian dish to share with meat eating friends.  When I went vegetarian over a decade ago I was really on my own when it came to cooking.  I was inspired to go Veggie as a protest to my parents going on the Adkins diet (yuck) because I realized that all the delicious meals I enjoyed were no longer going to be a regular occurrence in the house.   So I grabbed some of my mom’s cookbooks and started messing around in the kitchen…much to my dad’s “enjoyment”.  Once I got to college I start finding recipes online and came across a recipe for lentil bolognese.  At this time in my life I had only heard of lentils, normally in regards to various soups but had never really had them.  This changed shortly thereafter when my dad took my sister and I to get Indian food and I had Dal for the first time.  I decided I needed to revisit that strange bolognese recipe and see what it was all about.  That first experiment was a crash and burn, with a very weak sauce that lacked the flavors I was expecting.  This is when the experimenting really began, going from onions to leeks changing from garlic powder to roasted garlic to garlic cloves.  Adding spices and subtracting spices…trying to get a taste that was more sauce and less soup.  In the end this is what I had:
Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, grated
1 red pepper, diced
1 leek, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup red lentils
14oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 1/4 cups veggie stock
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp basil
1/2 tbsp oregano
Directions
1. In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, and leeks and cook for 5 minutes until soft.  Stir often
2.  Add the lentil, tomatoes, stock, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, and then cover turning heat to low and simmer for 20minutes.
3. Serve over favorite pasta or over brown rice.

Told you it was a simple recipe.  Once the cutting is done everything just gets tossed in together.  This could also be done in a slow cooker starting from Step 2.  Slow cookers are amazing inventions and I don’t know how I would have survived my first apartment without one!