This dish is loved by all who have tried it, including resolute carnivores and children.  The alcohol is boiled off 95% during the cooking so the amount that’s left is negligible.  Make loads and frieze in batches for delicious, quick pasta dinners. To make this a balanced meal add some broccoli florets into the sauce when its cooked and bubble, covered for a further 5 minutes until done.  Alternatively, serve with a green salad.

For 2 (with a little left over)

1 dsp extra virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil
1 dsp water
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed.
1 heaped teaspoon dried basil
250 ml sieved tomatoes (passata) or ½-1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
125g continental “brown” or “green” lentils
1 tbs tomato puree
275ml dry cider, red wine or unsweetened apple juice.
225ml boiling water
1 gluten-free vegetable stock cube or a level tsp of Kallo/Vecon vegetable bouillon powder and 50ml of boiling water in which to dissolve it
Freshly ground black pepper
150g brown rice/millet spaghetti or pasta shapes, buckwheat pasta, or (if you want to eat gluten, wholewheat spaghetti).
Optional extra (for dairy-eaters): grated parmesan cheese to serve

1.  Put the onions, oil and dessertspoonful water in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, cover and sweat on a medium heat until the onions are softened but not brown.
2. Add the garlic, basil, tomatoes, lentils, tomato puree, wine/cider and 200ml of boiling water.
3. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, and bubble for around 25-33 minutes until the lentils are tender.
4. Now make up the veg stock cubs or veg bouillon powder with 50ml of boiling water and add to the pot, stirring well to combine.  It’s important NOT to add the stock cube/bouillon until the lentils are tender as the salt content would delay cooking of the lentils and make them leathery.
5. Season with pepper and serve with the pasta.

Why this is good for you:
Lentils are high in soluble fibre which feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut which help prevent digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhoea.  Lentils contain protein which helps balance your blood sugar and stabilise energy too.  It’s important to boil lentils for at least 15 minutes, to make them digestible.  Lentils are rich in magnesium.  People who are short of magnesium are more likely to feel stress, insomnia or suffer from poor skin or digestive issues.  Sugar, excessive salt, alcohol, stress, white flour and coffee deplete magnesium. Increasing the lentil sauce, having some green veg on the side, and decreasing the pasta quantities means you are getting a higher amount of protein and nutrients than people normally do in a pasta meal.

Wheat binds (inactivates) N-acetyl glucosamine, a substances important for day-to-day repair and maintenance of your intestines.  That’s why its not always the best choice of pasta type (buckwheat, rice and millet make better quality pastas).  Wheat also binds (inactivates) iron in your food, making it difficult to absorb.  (2019 note: recent research and filming of the inside of healthy intestine during gluten exposure shows that gluten damages the barrier which prevents undigested food and bacterial by-products from entering your bloodstream.  Yes thats correct, gluten causes transient gut damage for ALL people, not just those sensitive to gluten).   Focusing instead on other grains like oats, brown rice and millet gives your digestive system a break.  A cheaper alternative to non-wheat pasta is quinoa grains or whole millet grains, which I show you how to cook in my post on millet.  Even reducing wheat to once in your day could still make a fantastic difference to your vitality.