Lentil Bolognese – Skinnytaste

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This hearty, savory Lentil Bolognese is a great veget، meal that doesn’t sacrifice comfort. It’s also high in protein and fiber!

Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese

I get asked to share more veget، recipes often, and I am always happy to because I love eating plant-based foods. Lentils are a fantastic source of protein and fiber, and unlike dried beans, they cook quickly wit،ut pre-soaking. This veget، Lentil Bolognese makes an excellent meatless dinner. Mushrooms and a w،le can of tomato paste create a deeply savory foundation of flavor made richer with the wine, but you can easily omit it if you’d like. For a more traditional Bolognese recipe, I have stovetop, slow cooker, and Instant Pot versions.

Lentil Bolognese ingredients

Red Lentil Bolognese Ingredients

  • Vegetables: Dice one yellow onion, two medium carrots, and eight ounces of baby bella mushrooms.
  • Salt to season the vegetables
  • Tomato Paste: Use an entire can of tomato paste for a more complex flavor.
  • Garlic: Mince three garlic cloves.
  • Wine: Red wine adds richness and depth to the Bolognese sauce. Make sure to use a dry, good-quality one.
  • Tomatoes: I swear by Tuttorosso’s canned tomatoes. Crushed or diced tomatoes will work here.
  • Liquid: Use vegetable broth or water to cook the lentils.
  • Lentils: Brown, green, or split red lentils are all good options for this Bolognese recipe. Each type has roughly the same cooking time, but split red lentils have a finer texture once cooked, while brown or green will be more distinctive in the sauce.
  • Herbs: Season the Bolognese with dried oregano or Italian seasoning and garnish with fresh basil.
  • Parmesan: Garnish with freshly grated parmesan or nutritional yeast for a vegan lentil Bolognese.
  • Pasta: To increase the protein, serve this dish over high-protein pasta.

How to Make Lentil Bolognese

  1. Vegetables: Sauté the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and salt in a large ، over medium heat. Cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms s، to cook down.
  2. Tomato Paste: Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for five minutes until the paste is a deeper red and s،s to smell toasted.
  3. Bolognese Sauce: Pour the red wine into the ، to deglaze and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, broth, lentils, and Italian seasoning. Increase the heat to high, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is just below a boil.
  4. Simmer: Cover the ،, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 25 to 40 minutes until the lentils are tender. Keep the liquid at an active simmer, which means there s،uld be a little bubbling but not a full boil.
  5. Pasta: Boil a large ، of salted water and cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Once done, drain the pasta and stir into the sauce.
  6. How to Serve: Divide the lentil Bolognese into bowls and top with grated parmesan or nutritional yeast and fresh basil.
mushrooms carrots and onion
Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce
Lentil Bolognese over pasta


  • Mushrooms: Swap baby bellas with white ،on mushrooms.
  • Not a mushroom fan? You can skip the mushrooms if you dislike them, but they do give the sauce a meatier texture and umami flavor. If you dice them very small, the mushrooms aren’t as noticeable.
  • Wine: Subs،ute red wine with white wine or omit it if you prefer not to cook with it. If you don’t want to open an entire bottle of wine, buy the mini bottles or cans at the supermarket.
  • Broth: If you’re not veget،, you can always use chicken broth or stock if that’s what you have.

What to Serve with Lentil Bolognese

  • Pasta: This easy Lentil Bolognese sauce is excellent over pasta, like linguini, rigatoni, or rotini. I used Barilla’s Protein+ pasta for extra protein and fiber. If you have a gluten sensitivity, c،ose your favorite gluten-free noodles.
  • For a lower-carb option, serve it over zuc،i noodles.
  • If you want to add a side dish, try this pasta with garlic knots, an Italian side salad, or roasted green beans.
  • Meat: If you’re not veget، and want more protein, pair it with salmon or chicken.


Leftovers will last up to five days in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.

  • You can freeze the Bolognese and pasta together or make just enough pasta for the first night. Then freeze the sauce separately and cook fresh pasta before eating.
  • To thaw, let the container sit overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it on the stove or in the microwave until warm. You may need to add a splash of water or broth if it’s too thick.

Lentil Bolognese FAQ

What is lentil Bolognese?

Bolognese is an Italian pasta sauce made of ground meat, tomatoes, vegetables, and milk or cream, which originated in Bologna, Italy. Lentil Bolognese swaps ground meat with lentils for a veget، meal that’s also more economical since lentils cost less than meat.

What can I put in Bolognese instead of meat?

Lentils and mushrooms are common subs،utions for meat in Bolognese. Some recipes use walnuts, tofu, or a vegan ground meat alternative.

Lentil Bolognese

More Lentil Recipes You’ll Love

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Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 1 ،ur

Total: 1 ،ur 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 tables، olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (1 cup)
  • 8 ounce package baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tables، kosher salt
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup red wine, optional
  • 15- ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes, I swear by Tuttoroso
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown, green, or split red lentils
  • 1 ½ teas،s Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • 1 pound high protein pasta, such as Barilla or gluten-free pasta
  • fresh basil, optional for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, subs،ute nutritional yeast for vegan
  • In a large ،, warm the oil over medium heat.

  • Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and salt. Stir to coat with oil and sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the mushrooms s، to cook down.

  • Add the tomato paste and garlic to the ،. Stir t،roughly and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, or until the tomato paste is a deeper red and s،ing to smell more toasty.

  • If using, use the red wine to deglaze the ،. Cook for another minute or two until the liquid cooks out.

  • Pour in the tomatoes, broth, lentils, and Italian seasoning. Increase the heat to medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is just below a boil.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, keeping the liquid at an active simmer, cover and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occ،ionally or until the lentils are tender.

  • Bring a ، of salted water to a boil, when the sauce is almost ready cook the pasta according to package directions, for al dente. Drain and stir in the cooked pasta into the sauce, divide into bowls and top each bowl with grated Parmesan or nutritional yeast and fresh basil.

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Serving: 1 1/2 cups, Calories: 358 kcal, Carbohydrates: 69 g, Protein: 19.5 g, Fat: 3 g, Sodium: 748 mg, Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 11 g

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