Tag Archives: lentils

Carrot and lentil pasta sauce


I missed British summer this year. I was in New York, where it poured with rain almost constantly for the entirety of my visit. There’s a lovely picture I took of Robbie pointing at what we think may have been the Statue of Liberty, although it’s hard to tell through the mist. The man at the foot of the Rockefeller centre pointed up at the thick cloud shrouding the top and told us to give up on getting a view. Ironically, on the days we decided to give up and do things inside, there were suddenly brief periods of sun that we saw through the windows. Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t mind rain. It made the city feel more like home. But now it’s grey and damp in Newcastle and will remain so for the foreseeable future. I think this makes it legitimate for me to make a comforting lentil pasta sauce. The carrots make this sauce bright and cheerful – in fact, it may be the closest thing to real sunlight I have seen today. It is tasty and satisfying. Like most of my lentil-based foods, you cannot identify a single one of the lentils that is in it.


4 carrots, peeled and chopped
250g tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g lentils
400ml vegetable stock
300g pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp chilli powder
parmesan, to serve (optional)

Serves 4
Calories: 440
Takes 30 minutes

Stage one: Prep the vegetables. You don’t need to be too careful about doing this because you’ll be blending them later, this is really just to get them to cook faster. On a medium heat in a medium saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 3 minutes until the onion is soft. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils.


Stage two: Add in all the remaining ingredients except the pasta, bring to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Leave for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and the lentils have gone slightly mushy. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a separate saucepan.

Stage three: When the lentil sauce is cooked, remove it from the heat. Don’t worry that it looks so uninspiring, just blend to the consistency you prefer. Suddenly it is bright and beautiful! Lentils and carrots do that. Season to taste and serve immediately with a sprinkling of parmesan. This is one of those dishes that you wouldn’t think will be nice cold for lunch the next day, but for some reason it is. Just saying.



Thai red curry


In certain contexts I really love lentils. Basically, they need to not be identifiable as lentils. Red lentils in a curry do this really well – you just cook them until they go soupy and creamy and wonderful. This also solves the problem of how to make a thick but healthy curry sauce. Plus you can adapt this curry to fit whatever you have in your fridge that needs eating. I call that a win.


250g chestnut mushrooms, halved
200g spinach, washed
200g lentils, washed
1 large white onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
3 tbsp thai red curry paste (or more to taste)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 litre vegetable stock
1/2 can reduced fat coconut milk (OR use the full can and 750ml stock if you want a creamier curry)
serve with rice

Serves 6 medium servings or 4 big servings
Calories: 190 (when serving 6, not including rice)
Takes 30-40 minutes to make

Stage one: Slice the onion and prep the mushrooms and pepper. Then fry the onion in the vegetable oil over a low heat until it is soft and lightly coloured. Add in the pepper, mushrooms, and 2 tbsp of the curry paste, raise the heat to medium-high and fry for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the stock if you’re using fresh stock, or boil the kettle if using powdered/cube stock. Wash the lentils in a seive until the water runs clear.


Stage two: Add the stock, 1 tbsp more curry paste, and boil. I know you’re meant to reduce it to a simmer immediately after reaching the boil, but I like my lentils really mushy, so I only reduce the heat to medium. Your choice! Leave for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare your rice.


Stage three: Stir in the coconut milk. Give it a taste, and add more coconut milk and more curry paste depending on how sweet or how spicy you like your curry. My husband doesn’t like particularly spicy food, so I left it as it was and it still tasted great. Finally, stir in the spinach until it wilts – this will only take a minute. Serve immediately.