Serve this high-protein Vegan Lentil Bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta for a super hearty, satisfying and comforting meal. Made plant-based with nutrient-packed red lentils instead of beef!
What is Bolognese Sauce?
Traditional Italian Bolognese is a super thick, meat-based sauce. But instead of finely chopped beef, I use nutrient-packed red lentils as the star of this plant-based version. (White wine and milk are also typically used. However I use tamari to deepen the flavor and optional nutritional yeast to add a “cheesy” taste if desired.) The result is a hearty, protein-packed, savory sauce that’s incredibly satisfying when spooned over your favorite pasta.
How to Make Lentil Bolognese
I’m by no means an expert in traditional Italian cooking. So this is simply my interpretation and vegan adaption of classic bolognese. Split red lentils only take about 10 minutes to cook making it a perfect alternative to finely minced beef. But feel free to change it up with walnuts, mushrooms, or other veggies for your base. Hope you enjoy this tasty remake as much as we do!
PS – come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram and share a pic if you make or adapt this! I love seeing your beautiful recreations. (Or leave a review/star rating below if you give it a try – your feedback is very appreciated!)
Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- 16 oz. pasta (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 small onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 carrot
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup red lentils* (dry, uncooked)
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. tamari
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning**
- Optional: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (I use this brand)
- Fresh basil, parsley, cashew parmesan, etc.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain when finished.
- Meanwhile, very finely dice onion, celery, and carrot. (Or use a food processor for quicker results.) Mince garlic.
- In a large skillet over med-high heat, saute onion, celery, and carrot for 7-8 minutes or until softened. (I use 3 Tbsp. water/broth for no-oil saute method, adding more as needed.)
- Add minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Stir and saute 1 minute.
- Add broth, and red lentils (rinsed very well).
- Bring to a light boil. Then decrease heat to med-low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until lentils are cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes and tamari. Heat 5 more minutes. Taste the sauce and add nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor if desired (optional).
- For serving, spoon the sauce over the top of the pasta and garnish with toppings.
Nutrition Per Serving (estimate)
If you’re enjoying this Lentil Bolognese feel free to also browse the “Main Dish” recipe archives on the site!