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Lentil Preparation For Vegan Spag Bol

Asked by ToveJ. Answered on 1st February 2021

Full question

Do I need to pre-soak or cook the puy and green lentils for the Vegan Spag Bol? It doesn't say so, but all the other recipes I use with these in are quite firm on the subject of pre-soaking/pre-cooking, and I wondered if this was just assumed in the recipe? Thank you.

Image of Nigella's Vegan Spag Bol
Photo by Nigella
Vegan Spag Bol
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Vegan Spag Bol is a rich ragu made with onions, aubergine (eggplant) and a mixture of red, green and puy lentils. The lentils are not soaked before cooking. Red lentils are very small and quick-cooking and we have rarely seen anyone soaking these ahead of cooking.

Some people may soak green or puy lentils to speed up the cooking time, but as the sauce simmers for an hour, this is usually long enough for all of the lentils to soften sufficiently. The older pulses are, the longer they can take to cook so buy from a store that has a regular turnover of lentils, to make sure they have not been sitting on a shelf for a long time. If for any reason the lentils were not soft enough after an hour, add a splash of water and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. However you may like to rinse the lentils before using, to remove any dust.

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