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RECIPE: Lentil Bolognese from Kitchen Coalition

Kitchen Coalition has three objectives: Save food from being wasted, keep food workers employed during downtimes, and feed the hungry.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — A hunger relief program started by Second Harvest Heartland at the start of the pandemic has evolved into what's now called Kitchen Coalition.

The kitchen has three objectives: Save food from being wasted, keep food workers employed during downtimes, and feed the hungry.

Campus Club from the University of Minnesota is one of their partners, and Executive Chef Beth Jones joined KARE 11 Saturday to share a recipe.

Recipe: Lentil Bolognese

(Serves 4-6)

This is a dish we serve occasionally as a special at the Campus Club, and also as a meal for Kitchen Coalition. It is vegetarian, but can be adapted for meat-eaters as well!  Bacon or sausage is a delicious addition.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 strips bacon (optional!)
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 2 ribs celery, small dice
  • 1 large carrot, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of chili flakes, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine, or ¼ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked lentils, see attached recipe
  • 2-3 cups reserved cooking water from the lentils
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, washed well, and chopped
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound dried pasta of your choice
  • Parmesan or romano cheese for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, rosemary and thyme, and saute until softened and slightly browned. Add the garlic, chili flakes, and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, or vinegar. (DO NOT USE BOTH!) 

Add the lentils and canned tomatoes and stir well. Add enough of the reserved cooking water to just barely cover the ingredients. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally, and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the bolognese has thickened to a hearty sauce. Stir in the kale, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Cook until the kale has wilted and turned bright green. Serve immediately over the pasta of your choice and garnish with parmesan or romano cheese.

To Cook the Lentils

  • 1 ½ cups  dried brown or green lentils, checked for debris and rinsed thoroughly
  • 3 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 bay leaves

Put all the ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium-high and allow the lentils to cook for 15-25 minutes, or until soft but not mushy. Reserve three cups of the cooking water to make the bolognese, and drain the lentils. 

Once cooked, lentils can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to a month. Save the cooking liquid for making soups or stews.

Watch more KARE11 Saturday:

Watch the latest coverage from KARE11 Saturday in our YouTube playlist:

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