Red lentils are the easiest of all the pulses to work with, they are dirt cheap, fast to cook and a good source of protein. This recipe can be served over pasta, as a layer in a roasted veg lasagne or spread over a pizza base. You can use this recipe as a meat extender, the details are below.

1 mug of red lentils uncooked
2 tbsp oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp Basil pesto or a pinch of mixed herbs and a pinch of basil – add more or less to your taste
Salt and pepper

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Pour in the lentils and stir to ensure they do not stick to the base of the saucepan. Boil the lentils for 8-10 min or until soft.
Heat the oil in a medium pan and sauté` the onion and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and herbs then stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until flavours develop, around 15 minutes.

Red lentils blend easily with beef mince. To use the lentils as a meat extender allow around ½ cup of lentils per 500 g mince. Cook the lentils in boiling water as outlined above.
In a medium size pan brown the meat, add the onion and garlic and continue to cook till soft. Add the remainder of the ingredients and 1 ½ tsp beef stock. When the lentils are cooked stir them into the meat sauce and simmer for a further 10 – 15 minutes until flavours are developed.