lentil red wine bolognese & learning to cook for one

lentil red wine bolognese & learning to cook for one

I have been real weird about meat lately.  I don’t think I would ever truly become a vegetarian because I don’t like to rule things out completely, and maybe once a year, I really want a cheeseburger (no matter what anyone says, veggie burgers are not burgers, even though I like them too).  I made a cauliflower rice version of this casserole, and I ended up picking all the chicken out.  Who knows if it’s just a phase, but I’ve got plans for a cauliflower curry this week, some portobello burgers, and some vegetarian stuffed peppers in the near future. 

Since this recipe is vegan on its own, I think it’s important to add some good savory flavors and meaty texture to it.  The red wine, the Worcestershire sauce, and the mushrooms really take the place of any meat.  Plus lentils have a meaty texture, and the finished result isn’t too different from this Bolognese that was my standby when I was cooking for 6. 

32430370_672342269771079_7961308068862492672_nCooking for one is a challenge.  Logically, you’d think that cooking for one is easier than cooking for six, but it’s not.  Technically there are 2 of us, but there’s no way I’m battling Beau over my weird dietary evolutions.  He loves PB&J, tater tots, and mac and cheese, and I’m not about to change that.  Tonight’s dinner was my first realization of how different cooking for one is.  When I was cooking for six, I could mindlessly dump a whole box of pasta or a pound of lentils in a pot and know it was feeding a crowd.  I dumped a whole bag of lentils into this, and even though it turned out great, it is SO MUCH.  I’ll end up freezing a lot of it.  Or maybe make a vegetarian version of this lasagna?  Actually that sounds good.  And it will be a halved recipe, too.  

Right now it’s just me and Beau, but I’m so excited to go get Harry soon.  After I left Virginia, I touched down in Florida for a month to get my head straight (I’ll probably do a whole post on this eventually, but for now…).  I’d already pulled Harry out of school in Virginia when we went to Florida, and I just couldn’t justify doing it again with only 4 weeks of school left.  So I’m headed down there in about 2 weeks to get him and bring him back with us.  I can’t wait for him to see his new room, make new friends, and basically just start his new life here in Georgia. 

I’m writing this as the halved version only because I know when I come back to this for reference, I’ll be using the halved version.  If you have a big house, double it. 

Not only have I been in the mood for vegetarian lately, I’ve also been trying to get back into my zoodles and cauliflower rice thing.  The casserole turned out really good with cauliflower rice (except the chicken, which was fine, I just didn’t want it).  You can always serve this over real pasta.  Or if you make a lasagna with it, you could always use a mandolin to make lasagna noodles out of eggplant or zucchini, too.  Lots of options.

But for now, lets just talk about this Bolognese…


Total Time:  2 ½ hours (hands-on time:  10 minutes)

Serves:  4

Difficulty Level: Easy



8 ounces dried lentils

8 ounces mushrooms

2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce

1 cup red wine

1 cup water

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper



  1. Add all ingredients to a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to cook for another 2 hours.
  3. Serve over spaghetti or zoodles.

Option 2:  Alternately, instead of step 2, you can put the covered Dutch oven into a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes.

Option 3:  You can put all the ingredients into a slow cooker on high heat for 5 hours, with the last hour leaving the lid off.  (You need to leave the lid off for enough time to cook off the alcohol).