Lenticchie in umido

A.k.a. lentils in tomato sauce. Served beside spicy broccoli with mayonnaise!

Ash bought The Silver Spoon for me the other weekend when we found a pristine copy in a 2nd-hand book barn for just $22. Ahhhmazing! It’s pretty much the quintessential bible of Italian cooking, and has been Italy’s best-selling cookbook for over 50 years. It’s got over 2,000 recipes!

You may think that a vegan couldn’t find much to cook in a traditional Italian cookbook, but my god, you would be so wrong. There are so many delicious vegetable, legume and grain-based recipes in the book – many vegan, many more requiring only the smallest adjustments.

Such as these two recipes. The lentil recipe had butter and pancetta, sub olive oil and a dash of smoked paprika, and your cardiovascular system can thank me later. The broccoli just required swapping yoghurt for vegan mayonnaise (or dairy-free yoghurt if you have some handy). Done!

The meal wasn’t all that photogenic, as many ‘home-style’ recipes aren’t. But just like many ‘home-style’ recipes, it hit the spot, and we’ll be making it again.

Italian lentils in tomato sauce  (serves 4-5)

This recipe calls for passata – ie bottled tomato pasta sauce. This will be a dominant flavour, so pick a good one. We chose an olive and tomato pasta sauce and the olive flavours were delish!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh sage leaf, chopped
  • a pinch (~1/8 tsp) of smoked paprika
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500ml passata
  • 2x 400g tins of lentils, drained
  • salt and cracked pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the sage, paprika, carrot, celery and onion and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the passata, simmer for a further 10 minutes. If it’s getting too dry, add a little water or some of the canning liquid from the lentils.
  3. Add the lentils, simmer for another 5 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste.

Spicy broccoli with mayonnaise  (serves 4 as a side)

Again I used this mayonnaise recipe (some of what was leftover from last time). The original broccoli recipe called for yoghurt, which no doubt would be lower-calorie. But the mayo is what I had on hand, and so long as you don’t go crazy with it, it’s not bad for you. There should be some leftover, which is good for salad dressings or whatever.


  • 1 head broccoli, cut up, including the stalk
  • 1 sprig Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
  • 2 chillis, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • salt and pepper


  1. Steam the broccoli until only just not-raw.
  2. Shake everything else in a jar, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve the broccoli with sauce.


p.s. Entries close on Monday for the Crack in a jar in the post giveaway. Get entering and you could have a jar of golden granola arriving on your doorstep next week!


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