LENTIL BOLOGNESE + My Darling Lemon Thyme Book

Lentil Bolognese: My Darling Lemon Thyme Book Review | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

The book arrived on the courier several weeks ago. I read it cover to cover on that first day reading late into the night, I couldn’t get enough. The book has since sat, often in use, on our kitchen island and is making itself very much at home there. That book is the much-anticipated first cookbook by Emma Galloway – My Darling Lemon Thyme – Recipes from my real food kitchen [Published April 1st 2014 – Harper Collins].

Lentil Bolognese: My Darling Lemon Thyme Book Review | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

The stand-out title of the book comes from Emma’s super-popular and internationally renowned food blog. Emma, a kiwi girl from Raglan now living in Perth, created My Darling Lemon Thyme in 2010 after discovering she and her two children [2 & 4 years at the time] suffered from food intolerance, in particular to gluten and dairy. The blog became a place to chronicle the recipes she was cooking for her family and quickly gathered a healthy following of others with similar allergies who loved her recipes. Being a chef by trade and having often worked as a pastry chef, Emma’s know-how in the kitchen means her recipes work, I can be testament to that! All the recipes in My Darling Lemon Thyme are gluten-free and vegetarian, with many of them also dairy-free and vegan. She also includes an ETC. section at the end of the book including how to make yogurt, labneh, sweet & savoury gluten-free pastry, water kefir… among other useful kitchen essentials.

Lentil Bolognese: My Darling Lemon Thyme Book Review | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Even if you don’t have food intolerance or allergies My Darling Lemon Thyme is full-to-the-brim with recipes for everyone. Emma’s husband is Vietnamese so there are plenty of Asian-inspired recipes that just happen to be naturally gluten-free. Many of the recipes include a story about the recipe and tips about the ingredients. If you read Emma’s blog – which I can highly recommend following even if you are not a foodie blog follower – you will be familiar with her down-to-earth and relaxed character. You feel like you are sitting in her kitchen having a chat with a good friend as you read her words. And her stunning food photography is simple and unadorned, letting the food speak to you through the pages. Emma has really got her groove on with the photos in the book and at times I find myself wanting to dive right in.

Lentil Bolognese: My Darling Lemon Thyme Book Review | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

The recipes I have tried, and loved them all, include – Chewy Cranberry, Millet & Pistachio Bars / Gluten-free Pizza Base / Dark Chocolate, Buckwheat + Pear Loaf [made into muffins] / Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites / & shared below Lentil Spaghetti [Bolognese]  … and recipes I have bookmarked to make – Lentil Tapanade w/Chickpea Crackers / Lemon Honey & Thyme Curd Shortcakes / Harissa Pumpkin + Feta Tart / Hokey Pokey Ice Cream [using coconut milk] / and sometime very soon – pictured above – that Chai ‘Cheesecake’ w/ Earl Grey Fig Sauce… I could keep going but I hope that gives you a sense of the brilliance behind the book.

Find out more about My Darling Lemon Thyme Cookbook and check Emma’s blog HERE.

*And just for the record, Emma is not my sister (I have been asked this quite a few times now – haha), but we have worked out that we are distant cousins. Although you can be forgiven for thinking that considering we had similar upbringings where whole food was the norm and recycling is what we did to protect the environment.

Lentil Bolognese: My Darling Lemon Thyme Book Review | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

And now to the recipe… let me tell you it wasn’t an easy decision choosing a recipe to share here today. You can probably see in the photos above all my bookmarks hanging out in the book! Eventually I decided on a dinner recipe, although we are omnivores around here I like to cook at least half of our dinners as vegetable-based. So I was eagerly awaiting Emma’s book for some vegetarian dinner inspiration. The recipe that follows I have already made twice and I can see it becoming one of our regular dinners. *Note: In the book it is called Lentil Spaghetti while I served it with grilled polenta for the photos so instead I have called it Lentil Bolognese.

Lentil Bolognese: My Darling Lemon Thyme Book Review | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Lentil Bolognese

Recipe from My Darling Lemon Thyme Cookbook by Emma Galloway. The original recipe is called Lentil Spaghetti. Reproduced [and slightly adapted] with permission.


1/4 cup puy-style lentils, rinsed

1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme

2 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp capers, roughly chopped

12 kalamata olives, pitted & roughly chopped

2 cups pasta sauce [Emma includes a recipe for tomato + basil sauce in her book - I used my Slow-roasted Tomato Sauce]

pinch of dried chilli flakes, optional

250g packet gluten-free spaghetti OR grilled polenta pieces

extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

basil or flat leaf parsley, roughly torn, to serve


  1. Place lentils, thyme and oregano in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain of excess water. Put capers, olives, sauce, drained lentils and chilli flakes in a saucepan and simmer for 5-8 minutes until warmed through.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti for 8-10 minutes until al-dente. Drain and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with sauce and a scattering of herbs.


To make Grilled Polenta: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1/4 tsp salt then slowly pour in 1/2 cup polenta while whisking constantly. The whisking part is important to avoid lumps as the polenta thickens fast when it makes contact with the boiling water. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes. The polenta is ready when it thickens to the point that it pulls away from the sides of the pan when stirred. Remove from the heat and stir through a knob of butter [or coconut oil] and handful of grated Parmesan cheese [omit for dairy-free]. Pour the polenta into a greased dish to a thickness of 1cm and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to cool and set. Cut into squares or wedges and grill in a hot skillet lightly brushed with olive oil until golden.



96 Comments on “LENTIL BOLOGNESE + My Darling Lemon Thyme Book”

  1. Spicy lentil balls eaten on their own or wrapped up as a wrap with fresh salad and lots of avo!! The best!!

  2. I really enjoyed your sharing this recipe and will definitely try it.I make vegetarian lasagne or lentil loaf and still tell the meat eaters its mince and they have not always discovered what actually goes into it.

  3. This book looks amazing Nicola! One of our favourite vege meals (and a staple in winter) would be African Beans – a coconut/tomato bean dish served with rice and steamed veg.

  4. Homemade lentil or falafel balls in a salad or wrap !! They even please both my one year old and his meat loving dad 🙂 The book looks gorgeous !!

  5. A favourite vege meal for me is Lentil, Beetroot & Goat’s Cheese Salad. Yum! I’m definitely going to have to try the lentil bolognese as I have some puy lenitls in the cupboard so thanks for sharing. The cookbook sounds amazing!

  6. Thank you for sharing 🙂 I have missed reading Emma’s blog, & I am excited about her new book. One of my favourite dishes will always be vegan tacos/taco salad or raw vegan tacos!

  7. I have a fantastic Vegetarian Pasties recipe, beans, capsicum, celery, tomatoes. The first time I made it my siblings didn’t even realise it was vegetarian

  8. Ha … I just made Emma’s spiced apricot quinoa museli bars this morning after over-cooking my quinoa (which I have been substituting in your super “sunny” toasted museli as a family morning staple) a casualty of distracted dinosaur play with my 3 year old. Emma’s book looks wonderful.
    Favourite vegetarian dish? Always a hit be it family or guests and super quick and easy … oven roasted vege (garlic bulbs, pumpkin, beetroot, parsnip, carrots, onion, fennel) served with a pimped up cous-cous (lemon zest/juice, capers, courgette, slivered almonds, currants, sage). yum.

  9. I recently made ratatouille with quinoa that had cheese cubes in it. My husband just voted that this is his favourite vegetarian dish. 🙂

  10. Alright, I’ll give it another go, as my recipe has now dissapeared 🙁
    I recently made ratatouille with quinoa that had cheese cubes in it. My husband just voted this as his favourite vegetarian dish.

  11. What a beautiful book! My fav veg recipe is bean curry. We use the regular “paste” packets from the supermarket, but use onions, garlic, other leftover/partial veggies, and beans I’ve soaked/cooked previously. The beauty of it is, I can use a lot of odds and sods or whatever is leftover. And add spices as we like.

  12. Mushroom Risotto! Love both your website & My Darling Lemon Thyme’s. This book looks incredible! 🙂

  13. Looks like a fantastic book, can’t wait to try some of the recipes
    One of our favs is Pizza topped with lots of nice veggies and a little mozzarella

  14. Tomato and chickpea curry with spinach and feta … Yum … have lately been adding some diced preserved lemons after trying your recipe on how to make your own … has amped an already fave dish up another notch 🙂
    This book looks amazing – I love that more and more healthy family recipe books are becoming easily available, and even more so when you’re supporting a kiwi author 😀

  15. My favourite vegetarian meal is probably a delicious curry made with lots of roasted veges and served with just a bit of brown rice.

  16. Vegetarian shepherds pie! Vegetarian stir fry noodles, vegetarian sushi, vegetarian lentil dahl. Yum yum yum! Vege stir fry noodles too! And of course vege lasange. Im not gluten intolerant, but would LOVE this book!

  17. Yum! Sounds like a great book…fave vegetarian recipe is one from my childhood…my mum makes the most delicious lentil patties!

  18. Pasta with roast vegetables and vegetarian pizzas – for some reason vege pizzas both bought and homemade are better. (I had a friend who always used to buy vege pizzas with extra meat. It got him a lot of free pizzas when they got the order confused).

  19. Red lentil Dahl with sweet potatoes and spinach, its spicy and yum and is also a great weeknight meal as the red lentils cook really fast.

  20. My fav is vegetarian bean chilli, made with kidney beans, tomatoes, and loads of garlic and cumin, in lettuce wraps with fresh homemade salsa and guacamole, yum!!

  21. tom’s with loads of basil, bit a orgenio and thyme simmered for an hour, throw in olives, toss some parmy cheese on, serve with pasta of choice. Always a fav in our house.

  22. Cauliflower dahl with lots of garlic and ginger and a splash of coconut milk – cauliflower works so well in indian cooking… with some bombay potatoes spicy with spinach – love the look of the book 🙂

  23. What a delicious book! Definitely want to add to my collection. My fav vegetarian dish for these autumn and winter months is gluten free roast vegetable lasagne. Mmmmmm nom nom nom.

  24. Looks like a gorgeous book. I’ve just read “Forks over Knives” and am inspired to find some recipes to satisfy my meat loving fiancee while eating meat and dairy less often. Love your blog and recipes! My fav vege dish is spinach risotto cake.

  25. My favourite is called Alkaline Dinner bowl, it is cooked millet with lentils and loads of green veges in a basil and avocado dressing, delicious!

  26. I can only choose one?! Okay then…at the moment, we are loving a gorgeous ratatouille type dish using what’s ripe in our garden now – eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, tomatoes, basil – with some haloumi throwing in for a delicious protein boost. So good!!

  27. Our favourite at the moment cherry tomatoes crammed into a dish and roasted in a medium oven with lots of olive oil, balsamic, plenty of S&P, couple of sprigs of rosemary (taken out at the end, left whole just to impart flavour). When you have plenty of juice and toms are cooked, add cooked chickpeas (a tin will suffice), finely chopped cavolo nero or curly kale and mix in. Put back in oven on fan grill until it thickens up again, then lay on top a few pieces (not many needed) of blue cheese and return until melted. Delish with garlicy pita to soak up juices.

  28. Our favourite family vegetarian dinner is bulgur wheat bean chili with lots of fresh coriander and colourful capsicum.

  29. Pumpkin lasagne with spinach & cottage cheese or penne with roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes with feta. Mmmmm

  30. At this stage I don’t have a fav veggie recipe – although as a side dish my family LOVE little roasters (potato & kumera cut into small cubes, tossed in oil & seasoning & cooked hot & quick in electric frying pan). I have tried a couple of recipes without which luck, however hubby just said a couple of days ago that I should start trying to cook more vegetarian recipes – this from a huge meat lover!!!!!! So this book would be perfect for trying out some soul-warming recipes this winter!!!!!

    Emailing this post onto family…

  31. Barley & veggie stir-fry. (While pregnant I drank loads of barley broth leaving me with lots of barley to use! My husband got rather tired of my barley themed meals 🙂

  32. Our fav meal is a toss up between roast veg and baked bean lasagne and bean wraps with guacamole and sour cream. This book looks awesome

  33. my go-to cuisine for vegetarian food that everyone enjoys is something south-east-asian. i like to adapt a recipe for a (chicken)noodle soup from Bali, from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey cookbook, leaving out the shrimp paste from the spice paste mix and using tofu in place of the hapless chook…..

  34. Thanks so much for this lovely write up Nicola! I’m touched that you and your family have already tried so many of the recipes in my book 🙂 Much love! xx

  35. At the moment I’m mad about oven baked falafel’s, so delicious, minus the greasy exterior from frying rapped in pita bread with tabouli and tzatziki. My Green Kitchen have a gorgeous recipe for baked herb and pistachio falafels – it should be mandatory to try them!

  36. oooh this book loves fab…since I got a head cold a couple of weeks ago (that I just cant get rid of – grrr!) all I have wanted is broccoli, and my current fav meal with it is a very lightly steamed ‘salad’ of broccoli and spinach with avocado, feta and toasted seeds…with a little aioli for good measure…simple as anything and it hits the spot 🙂

  37. My current favourite dinner is a mix of brown and red rice, topped with baked pumpkin and warm parsnip and cumin hummus with a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds and fresh parsley.

  38. Yum! This sounds delicious. My favourite vegetarian meal is bean nachos. Instead of buying refried beans I mash red kidney beans with onion, garlic and cumin. I also cut up wholemeal pit breads and bake them to use as chips instead of corn chips. Definitely a family favourite too.

  39. Firstly just have to say your book “feeding Little Tummies” has changed the way I cook and eat. Now my family eats such a nutritious diet every day and recipes are used from your book on a regular basis. My favourite vegetarian meal would have to be falafels with home made tortillas and your home made hummus! so, so delicious!

  40. I love vegetarian Pad Thai with loads of veggies. Another favourite going towards autumn-winter is tofu loaf with tomatoes and any veggies you can through in, all in the slow cooker

  41. This sounds wonderful. Long ago someone made lentil sauce and we put it on top of pasta while camping – delicious! I will try this recipe for sure!
    My favorite is Spaghetti With Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta. I cook the noodle in one pan. In another I sauté diced potatoes, red onion and add rosemary. Combine and add some of the reserved pasta water and ricotta and Parmesan. Started making this as a side dish, but it’s now the main dish for supper.
    Thanks for putting my name in the hat for the drawing.

  42. The book looks gorgeous. My fav vegetarian recipe at the moment is Alison Holst’s Refried beans served with rice. Yum!

  43. I love Emma’s blog. Would love her recipe book to help me feed me and my grandson with multiple intolerances. My favourite vegetarian – hard to pick. But I do love this soup – and it is so quick and easy to make, African Bean Nut Soup. Will have to try the bolognese too. Sound yummy.

  44. My favourite (and a regular on our menu at home) would have to be a Malaysian-style Ginger and Coconut Chickpea curry served on rice which has been cooked in tumeric and coconut cream… mmm

  45. Oh! This looks wonderful and delicious. And what a lovely book! One of my favourite vegetarian treats is tamales made from masa corn batter filled with mild whole smoked chilis and Monterey Jack cheese. Steamed as little parcels in banana leaves. A Christmas tradition.

  46. Looks like a great book. One of my fav vege dishes is Kushari. I look forward to trying this dish.

  47. My favourite would have to be a good pumpkin soup! Nothing like a good thick creamy soup on a winters day 🙂

  48. A favourite, but very rich so just for special occasions, is vege cannelloni. Pesto, cottage cheese, spinach and rich tomato sauce. Delish.

  49. Rocket and lemon risotto – but in real need of vegetarian inspiration!! Would love to win a copy 🙂

  50. Something simple now that we have a newborn. Pumpkin and sage ravioli from our local farmers market in a sage butter and green salad! Yummo

  51. The book looks great, would be a welcome addition to my bookshelf & kitchen, one of my old faves is from Alison holst too, spinach & cream cheese cannelloni omg it’s so yummy but earth burgers from the healthy chef are amazing

  52. How to choose just 1 vegetarian favourite? I love all sorts of vegetarian patties with probably rice and lentil patties at the top of the list, smothered in sour cream and home made relishes. Yum!

  53. This book looks great!
    Our favourite meals at the moment are homemade chapati and coconut creamy dahl drawing alongside rice wraps filled with veg,rice noodles and tofu/egg. The kids love making them up as you eat them at the table and dipping them in tamari/garlic sauce!

  54. “My Darling Lemon Thyme” would be a hit in our house! It looks amazing!
    Risotto would have to be a fav with us – tonight a bug busting risotto (to help build immunity) with loads of garlic & ginger & then whatever combo of veg are about, mushrooms, courgettes, leeks, pumpkin, spinach…
    Our 4 & 7 year old boys can’t get enough of this super comfort food & we have “taste the secret ingredient” competitions to see who can name what’s in each dish! Lots of fun 🙂

  55. Sweet potato and kale frittata from My Darling Lemon Thyme’s website. It’s my go to meal. Quick, flavourful, and my hubby loves it.

  56. I must say there is no better dinner than a vegetarian moussaka. Meat and wheat free….. Mmm mmm.
    Looking forward to trying this lentil Bolognaise version.

  57. And we have a winner! I drew a random number using random.org – no.10 – Barbara was the 10th commenter above so she has won a copy of My Darling Lemon Thyme – to be notified by email now.

    Thanks everyone for your awesome vege dinner ideas, I have read everyone of your messages and want to make lots of them myself. Thanks for sharing xx

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