The idea of lentils and pasta together may seem a little odd, but Italians have been doing it for centuries. 

This meat-free dish is a modern take on the classic spaghetti bolognese, created by celebrity chef Sara Oteri, it will surprise the carnivores and delight your veggie friends.

(Serves: 6)

  • 650g fettuccini
  • 2 x 400g tins of finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 50g tomato paste
  • 2 x 400g tins of lentils (drained)
  • 15g of dried porcini mushroom
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • Pecorino (optional)
  • 1 x beef stock cube (use vegetable stock if required)
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a small bowl pour boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms until just covered – set aside for 5 minutes. Remove from the water, reserving the liquid, and chop finely.
  2. In a large pot on medium heat, gently fry garlic, bay leaf, chili and half of the roughly torn basil in the oil. When fragrant, add the finely chopped porcini along with the soaking liquid.
  3. To this, add the three tins of tomatoes, tomato paste and 3/4 of a tin filled with warm water, along with the beef (or vegetable) stock cube. Simmer covered on a gentle heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Lift the lid and add the drained lentils. Stir through and cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes to reduce. Be sure to keep stirring so the bottom doesn’t burn.
  5. At this point it’s a good idea to season with pepper and additional salt if needed.
  6. Boil the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente, drain and stir through the sauce.
  7. Finish with fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and pecorino if you like it cheesy. Enjoy!