Umbrian Lentils, Veggie Sausage and Passata / Umbra Lenticchie, Veggie Salsiccia e Passata /

Umbrian Lentils, Veggie Sausage and Passata / Umbra Lenticchie, Veggie Salsiccia e Passata

  • Servings: (Serves 2 large portions or 4 small portions)
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The second leg of Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli's journey takes them to the heart of Italy and the regions of Le Marche and Umbria. Giorgio takes Andrew to the Norcia Valley in Umbria where Giorgio makes this succulent dish using the ingredients from the fertile land.

Credit: Adapted from a recipe used by Giorgio Locatelli on the TV programme called “Italy Unpacked”, 20th February 2015.


  • 200g Umbrian green dried lentils (preferred) or 1 x 400g can (265g drained weight) green lentils
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 x 700gm jar Italian tomato passata
  • 1x pack of 6 frozen vegetarian sausages e.g. Quorn, Sainsburys Cumberland style or Glamorgan sausages
  • extra virgin olive oil, preferably Umbrian
  • 50g dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated (or 250gm oyster mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced)
  • 1 large white onion, sliced thinly
  • 30 ml good olive oil for cooking
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped and crushed
  • 2 sticks of celery, cut lengthways and sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 handful of roughly cut flat leaf parsley and mint
  • 2 Bay leaves


  1. Put the dried lentils in a bowl, add plenty of water to cover, and let soak for several hours or overnight or at least 30 minutes. Drain and set aside
  2. If using tinned lentils, use a colander to rinse the lentils under cold running water for at least one minute and drain and set aside.
  3. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl of water, stir and rehydrate for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon into a colander, rinse and set aside.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (180°C Fan oven) Gas 6
  5. Cooking the dried lentils: Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer and add the dried lentils. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Drain and set aside.
  6. Brush the sausages with extra virgin olive oil and place on a pre-heated baking tray in the centre of a pre-heated oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or according to the packet instructions, turning once or twice. Set aside.
  7. Heat up the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the celery and cook for about 5 minutes until soft, stirring often.
  8. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for 5 minutes until soft, translucent and tender, stirring often.
  9. Add the mushrooms to the pan, mix well and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  10. Add the balsamic vinegar and the passata to the pan sauce and mix well. Heat through until bubbling for 5 minutes.
  11. Add the lentils, tinned or dried, parsley, mint, bay leaves and some ground sea salt and pepper to the pan, mix in well. Put the sausages on top and sauté on a low heat for another five minutes to allow the lentils to absorb the flavours, stirring occasionally.
  12. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
  13. Serve onto warmed bowls with a drizzle of Umbrian extra virgin olive oil on top.
  14. Serving suggestion: Serve with some crusty bread, a green salad, and a glass of Umbrian wine.
  15. Buon appetito!

Gillian, her husband and a friend have reviewed this recipe. Here is what they said:

“My husband preferred the Umbrian Lentils. This had the advantage in being easily adapted for those people who feel they have to eat meat with meals although because I used both the vegetarian sausage as well as meat based he tried the veggie version and actually said it was good.
Thanks would repeat both recipes as nice and easy to do but also a bit different to what I usually cook.
I have bookmarked the website.

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