with Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma

April 23, 2023

Halve your Meat, Double the Flavour

What's cooking?

India-Style Good Mood Bolognese

About the recipe

The first time I made this sauce I was stunned by how easily it came together. Swapping out half the meat with lentils and adding in a few flavours of India make this traditional sauce deeply flavourful and also planet-friendly. Since that first experiment, I have made this bolognese many times. Each time I tweak with what I have in my pantry that month, perhaps a new type of lentil or bean. I encourage you to do the same. See you Sunday! 


  • 1 cup French-style green lentils 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 300 gm of ground turkey meat
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups passata tomato sauce (alternatively another type of uncooked tomato puree)
  • 1 cup chopped hardy vegetables (for example: carrots, turnips, kohlrabi)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Prep: rinse and soak the lentils while you get all the other ingredients ready.

Garnish: chopped basil and olive oil.

Serve with: pasta or rice or on top of your favourite salad greens.

Two Recipes from Puneeta’s New Cookbook
Love your Lentils and lentils will love you right back
Cook Once, Eat Thrice: With Carrots
Send Puneeta your questions via the comments below.
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11 months ago

What are “French-style” green lentils and will any lentils do? Does it matter what kind of onion is used?

11 months ago
Reply to  Leelee

You can use any kind of lentil, Leelee! Consider the cooking time and try it out. It’s more important that you like the flavour of the lentils, that’s all. My preference in this dish is often the puy green lentils or the whole brown (masoor) lentils because they blend in really well with the ground meat.
Re. onions – try whatever you have. I have a fondness of red or purple, but white adds a lovely sweetness too.