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Vegan red lentil bolognese over pasta in a bowl with fresh parsley
5 from 4 votes

Vegan Lentil Bolognese

Serve this high-protein Vegan Lentil Bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta for a super hearty, satisfying and comforting meal.
Author: Kaitlin - The Garden Grazer
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Italian, Oil-Free, Vegan
Servings: 8 small bowls


  • 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

Toppings (optional):

  • 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.


*Traditional Bolognese is a very thick sauce, but if you prefer yours a bit thinner simply decrease the amount of red lentils.
**If you don't have Italian seasoning, use other herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, etc. (Or a combination.)
Sauce yields 5 1/2 cups (without pasta). Reduce or halve if desired as it does make a large batch. I also suspect the sauce would freeze very well, but haven't tested that yet.
Other variations could include finely chopped walnuts or mushrooms for the base. Or other veggies as desired: bell pepper, zucchini, spinach.


Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Potassium: 693mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1606IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 4mg