Recipe: veggie Bolognese with pangrattato

Thanks to Sabine for sharing this recipe with us. It’s a great dish for using up all the tiny bits of root veg that lurk in the fridge, as well as for some old pieces of bread, and that tiny bit of parmesan that would otherwise get tossed. Pangrattato means ‘grated bread’ (i.e. breadcrumbs) in Italian, and is sometimes referred to as ‘poor man’s parmesan’, but it doesn’t taste second best!


  • One small carrot
  • A small leek or onion
  • Some celeriac or celery
  • 2 handfuls of uncooked lentils – puy or brown work better than yellow ones
  • 1 tsp of dried Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • tbsp of tomato puree or leftover tomatoes 
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar 
  • Fresh herbs like parsley or oregano or basil
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

For the pangrattato:

  • Some old bread
  • A bit of parmesan, if you have some
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic to taste
  1. Clean the root veg and onion/leek and cut it up into tiny bits, that way they are cooked through in the end and can release all their delicious flavour.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a pot and cook the veggies on medium heat for about 10 min, stirring so they don’t stick to the bottom.
  3. Add the lentils and some water – enough to slightly cover the lentils and veg.
  4. Add the spices, the dried herbs and tomato. Let simmer for 20 mins until lentils are nearly soft. Stir occasionally and add some water, if needed.
  5. While the sauce is simmering away boil 250g of pasta – any kind works, but I find whole wheat is particularly nice with this sauce. 
  6. While the pasta boils, blitz the old bread to make slightly large breadcrumbs. Fry them in a bit of olive oil until golden. Let cool, add whatever you have left of parmesan and a bit of salt. Adventurous people add one pressed clove of garlic as well. Mix and set aside. Drain pasta when done. 
  7. Check if the lentils are soft. Then add salt, Balsamic and fresh herbs to the sauce. Give it a quick stir and serve immediately over the pasta. Garnish with pangrattato. Enjoy. 

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