Who remembers the first time they ate spaghetti bolognaise? I do! My family and I were living in the tiny town of Katherine in the Northern Territory, the population then was a bit over three thousand and it was 1977. My mum had come home with a bag (paper bag in those days) full of groceries and she pulled out a hand written recipe given to her by her boss. My brother and I asked as we always did ‘what’s for dinner mum?’ and she replied spaghetti bolognaise. This was new to us the only spaghetti we had eaten before came out of a tin and was covered in a sweet red sauce which neither of us liked.
That night was the turning point for this little seven year old. The flavours in this dish were nothing like I had ever tasted. The richness and the herbs were sensational and whenever mum asked us what we would like for dinner we always said spaghetti bolognaise even if we’d just had it the night before. When my mum did decide to cook ‘Spaghetti’ we would wait for the spaghetti to cook and hound our mum for a taste, she would spoon us some out onto a saucer and we would gobble it up.
I haven’t had spaghetti bolognaise for more than thirty years now as I won’t eat my fellow sentient beings and best friends the cow. Instead I have always opted for a thick tomato sauce with green veg to go with my pasta but a few weeks ago I had quite a few left over lentils so thought it was finally time to give it a go and I was transported back to our kitchen in Katherine in 1977.
This recipe I share with you is equally as good as what my mum used to make and much more friendly as no animals have been hurt in the process. But I do thank my mum for her adventuring and experimenting with different recipes through our childhood, Mum I loved your cooking then and still do today!!!!
10 medium tomatoes diced
1 brown onion dinced fine
4 cloves garlic minced
1 bunch basil or oregano chopped finely
1 green capsicum diced
1 zucchini diced
6 mushrooms sliced
2 cups cooked puy lentils
1 tsp salt or to taste
pepper or chilli
1/2 tsp herb salt
cold pressed olive oil
100g your choice of dry spaghetti per person
1 cup pepitas
½ cup nutritional yeast
In a saucepan place the tomatoes and salt and let them come to a boil. Once boiling and it looks like the tomatoes are breaking down remove the lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Place the oil onion and garlic with the herb salt in a frying pan and fry for a few minutes, next add the herbs and fry again for a few minutes then add the green capsicum for a few more minutes then the zucchini and mushrooms and fry for a final 5 minutes. Add the veggies to the tomatoes and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, season with salt and pepper or chilli.
Meanwhile make the sprinkle by grinding the pepitas and nutritional yeast in a food processor.
Place the water to boil for the spaghetti and cook as packet instructs.
Once vegetables are cooked through add the cooked lentils and mix. Drizzle in some more olive oil, another 1 tbsp maybe up to you. Serve with the cooked spaghetti and pepita sprinkle.
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If you have any childhood favourite dishes that you would love to be veganised do let me know as I’d love to give it a go for you.
Have a great week
With love Veet