We, like many other families, eat a lot of pasta. Honestly, if the Italians had never invented it I have no idea what our go-to midweek meal would be. All three of my kids like pasta but it’s a real favourite of my two-year-old in particular. He always chooses it when we eat out – regardless of what else is on the menu. If we happen to be somewhere that doesn’t serve pasta he’s genuinely baffled as to what to eat!
I sometimes make a quick tomato sauce to serve with our pasta, or we have it with pesto – perhaps made with kale or spinach. Failing that I almost always have some variation of sneaky veg sauce in the freezer. Sometimes I add some chopped veggie sausages to the sauce – this is always popular with the kids.
I decided that it was time to introduce a new pasta sauce to our repertoire and I wanted to make one that included lentils and cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables – especially roasted – but my older two kids can’t be persuaded to eat it. Lentils are a brilliant sauce of protein and are well worth including in your diet if you’re vegan, vegetarian or trying to cut down on meat. Again, my kids aren’t particularly keen on eating them.
This lentil and roasted cauliflower pasta sauce includes both. In the photos here I’ve blended the sauce but haven’t made it too smooth. In another batch I made I blended it to be completely smooth and used it as a pizza sauce. It could also be left unblended – it’s completely up to you and it tastes great whichever way you make it.
Incidentally, you don’t have to roast the cauliflower – you could boil or steam it instead. But the flavour is SO much better from roasting it that I really recommend that you do.
Here’s how to make lentil and roasted cauliflower pasta sauce:
- Olive oil
- 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
- 100g red lentils
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp oregano
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6.
- Place the cauliflower florets into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and roast for around 30 minutes until soft and starting to brown on the edges. Stir half way.
- Cover the red lentils with boiling water, bring to the boil and then simmer until soft. Add a little more water if needed.
- Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until soft. Stir often. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Stir through the grated carrot, heat through, then add the tomatoes, oregano, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and tomato purée.
- Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and leave to simmer.
- When cooked add the lentils and roasted cauliflower.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Blend if desired or serve as it is.