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Bowl of pasta with vegan lentil bolognese sauce on top

Vegan Lentil Bolognese

Serve this high-protein lentil Bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta for a hearty, satisfying and comforting meal.
AuthorKaitlin - The Garden Grazer
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:45 mins
CourseMain Dish
CuisineGluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Oil-Free, Vegan
Servings8 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 medium-high heat, sauté onion, celery, and carrot for 7-8 minutes or until softened. (I use 3 Tbsp. water/broth for no-oil sauté method, adding more as needed.)
  • Add minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Stir and sauté 1 minute.
  • Add broth and red lentils (rinsed very well).
  • Bring to a light boil. Then decrease heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until lentils are cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes and tamari. Heat 5 more minutes. Add nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor if desired (optional).
  • For serving, spoon the sauce over the top of the pasta and garnish with any desired toppings.


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

Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)

Calories: 323 kcal | Carbohydrates: 66 g | Protein: 13 g | Fat: 2 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Potassium: 574 mg | Fiber: 11 g | Sugar: 6 g | Vitamin A: 1610 IU | Vitamin C: 12 mg | Calcium: 70 mg | Iron: 4 mg