Sneaky Beef and Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe- Dairy Free- Vegan and Legume Free Options

 photo IMG_0591_zpsc18b5ecc.jpgI try to stick to publishing one blog post a day at most, because I have so many days when I don't get around to publishing a post, so it seems silly to have 2 posts one day, but... I'm breaking that rule now because I have so many recipes that people have asked me to share and I never get around to posting them, so maybe if I do two posts in a day here and there I'll manage to get all the backlog published some time in the near future...
This recipe is really exciting for me because it was such a hit with my family. I had some ground beef in my freezer, but didn't want to use it all up just for one meal, and had a bunch of lentils that I wanted to use. Only the thing is, my kids aren't too thrilled with lentils if they know they're eating them. I wanted to see if I could make something with both ground beef and lentils to stretch the ground beef, and be able to fool my kids into thinking it was straight meat.
It certainly was a success- my kids ate it, telling me "I really love meat, Mommy!" not realizing they were only eating half meat, half lentils...
If you don't eat legumes, feel free to make this entirely with ground beef, or a mix of ground beef and ground chicken or turkey. If you don't eat meat, feel free to make this entirely out of lentils, possibly a mix of red and brown lentils, or just brown or just red. It won't taste exactly the same but it'll still be good- just increase the spices as needed.

Sneaky Beef and Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe- Vegan and Legume Free Options

1-2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut)
1 large onion
3 carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups cooked brown lentils, blended
2 1/4 cup ground beef
2 cups tomato paste
2 cups water
1-3 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1-3 teaspoons garlic powder
1-3 teaspoons nutmeg
2-3 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 lb of spaghetti (gluten free spaghetti if you want it gluten free)

1. Boil lentils until soft. Strain, and blend either 100% of most of the way.

2. Cook the pasta. Strain and set aside.

3. Fry onions in oil.

4. Grate carrots and chop celery small. Add to onions and cook until soft.

5. Add the ground beef and cook until fully cooked in crumbles. In the middle of while it's cooking, add the lentils.

6. Add the tomato sauce and water and spices.

7. Add wine vinegar and olive oil, and taste. Adjust the spices as necessary.

8. Mix the sauce with the pasta.

Serve hot.

Do you ever make spaghetti bolognese? What do you put in yours? Have you ever tried making something that is supposed to be with ground beef with lentils in its place, either entirely or replacing part of the meat? Was it passable or did people suspect it was lentils?
Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I make my spaghetti with half hamburger or buffalo burger and half TVP (soy).

    When I first buy hamburger, I cook it up with onions and garlic and then freeze it in half-pound portions for recipes like this. Now I'm thinking I should also include carrots (but not celery--yuck). I get very low-fat hamburger (3-5% fat) and then cook the onions and garlic in the small amount of beef fat that comes out rather than frying it separately in oil. I mostly use it (mixed with TVP) for spaghetti, chili, and taco soup.

    My spaghetti used to have tomato sauce, tomato puree, tomato paste, and maybe diced tomatoes. Or whatever I had on hand (such as failed tomato soup), which always works so long as I include some tomato paste. But now that I've noticed the labels tell me that tomato sauce is made from tomato puree and water and tomato puree is made from tomato paste and water, I usually just use a big can of tomato paste, a regular can of diced tomatoes, and water. So we almost match there!

    For the other flavors, I use onion, garlic, and oregano like you. But I don't use vineger or nutmeg: instead I use basil, rosemary, and thyme. And sometimes a bay leaf (to be removed when finished--and do not lick it after you remove it because yuck!). Mainly, it's oregano and basil.

    I do like salt, but I refrain from adding it to the sauce (or pasta) because there's plenty of salt in the parmesan cheese I add on top. This cheese is not cheap, but I like spaghetti so much better with cheese on top that I use it anyway. To save money, I grate it myself on the small holes of the grater. Actually, I don't think this saves as much money as it used to, but it still keeps me from eating weird anti-caking agents. And if the rind is still on it, I save that for beans.

  2. I've made sheperd's pie, the meat part being half-meat and half-lentils.

  3. I add anchovies to my Bolognese sauce and it makes it taste SO yummy! I added a tin of anchovy fillets, when I had some nearing their use by date, as an experiment. Now I tend to use anchovy paste as it's much cheaper. I also add a tablespoon Bovril (beef extract) which also boosts the flavours.

  4. Ich habe es ausprobiert und es hat so gut geschmeckt. Vielen Dank für das Teilen des Rezeptes.

  5. Very easy and tasty sauce to make. I also added some finely chopped mushroom, zucchini and red capsicum to add to tthe vegie content which is great for the kids.

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