This comforting Lentil Bolognese is the ultimate healthy comfort food. It’s loaded with veggies and lentils and can be enjoyed on your favourite pasta, spaghetti squash, or even on its own! 

spaghetti with lentil bolognese in a white speckeld pasta bowl and a napkin on the side

A comforting vegetarian bolognese

This recipe for Lentil Bolognese is loaded with flavour, and is equally as delicious as a traditional bolognese sauce.

This is one of my top dinner recipes to make when I want a hearty and cozy pasta dish, along with my Vegan Taco Pasta and this Sun-Dried Tomato Spaghetti Squash.

You’ll need to devote a little more time to make this recipe, but what’s the rush anyway? Time is your friend when making a super-rich and flavourful bolognese sauce! And trust me, it’s SO worth it. Time is actually the secret ingredient that makes a bolognese taste so delicious. It allows all the flavours to really come out and creates a sauce that is just so damn good.

The good news is, since you’re going to have to open a bottle of red wine anyways for this recipe, you can put on some music, pour yourself a glass, and relax in the kitchen while you cook!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • This dish is the ultimate comfort food. Need I say more?
  • It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free and high in protein so it’s a great dish that everyone can enjoy.
  • The combinations of salty, sweet, and tangy give this sauce incredible flavour!

How to make a Lentil Bolognese

Pulse the veggies in a food processor then add them to a pan or pot to brown. Cook the veggies down for about 15 minutes stirring constantly to prevent them from burning.

Don’t rush this step and only cook them for a few minutes. You want them to really cook down and build flavour.

cooked down vegetables in a white pot

Next, add the red wine. And not just a splash, an entire 3/4 cup of red wine. Again, don’t skip this and use water or broth instead! Red wine is a key ingredient in baking this bolognese taste incredible. Let the wine cook off in the pot.

a hand pouring red wine into a white pot filled with vegetables

Now, add the lentils, crushed tomatoes and seasoning and let everything cook down. Give it about 20-30 minutes simmering on low. Or if you have the time, let it cook on low for up to an hour.

Then, use an emulsion blender (or regular blender) and pulse the mixture just slightly to break it down. Don’t over pulse it though! You want to make sure to have texture in your bolognese.

Serve up this bolognese on top of your favourite pasta, some spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, rice, on its own, or however you like!

a white bowl filled with spaghetti and lentil bolognese and two smaller bowls on the side with parsley and parmesan cheese

Tips for making this recipe perfectly

  • Give the veggies time to brown in the pan. Don’t rush through this step and only cook them for 5 minutes! Browing the veggies builds flavour which is essential for a delicious vegetarian bolognese.
  • Don’t replace the red wine in this recipe with water or broth. Red wine is also essential in this dish for making a super flavourful bolognese sauce. Any type of red wine will work.
  • French lentils or beluga lentils work best in this recipe. Don’t substitute with red lentils.
  • Make sure to remove the bay leaves before blending the sauce! Bay leaves are very tough and it will be unpleasant to eat little chunks of them.
  • Only blend the sauce ever so slightly! Don’t go crazy and blend it up into a puree. You want the sauce to still have a nice chunky texture and be able to see some pieces of lentils in there.
  • Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge, or freeze leftovers.
a close up of spaghetti in a bowl topped with lentil bolognese

More lentil recipes to try

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spaghetti with lentil bolognese in a white speckeld pasta bowl and a napkin on the side

Lentil Bolognese

  • Author: Jess
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A delicious and Comforting Lentil Bolognese sauce that is vegetarian/vegan-friendly, gluten-free and packed with flavour!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 big carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (I use french lentils)
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • pasta, spaghetti squash, rice…etc. for serving

Instructions

  1. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushroom, and pepper to a food processor and chop into small bits.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan on medium-high heat and add in the chopped vegetables and salt.
  3. Brown the vegetables in the pan for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. (Do not skip this step! Browing the vegetables is where all the flavour happens!)
  4. Once the vegetables are browned, add in the wine. Cook on medium heat until the wine evaporates.
  5. Next, add in the lentils, and crushed tomatoes, and the rest of the ingredients (except the pasta) and mix together until well combined.
  6. Lower the heat to low, add in the water and let cook down for another 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and slightly pulse the sauce with an emulsion blender.
  8. Serve over your favorite spaghetti or pasta.

Notes

Don’t replace the red wine in this recipe with water or broth. Red wine is essential for a delicious and flavourful bolognese! French lentils or beluga lentils work best in this recipe. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves before pulsing the sauce! You don’t want to end up with little chunks of bay leaves mixed in. Only blend the sauce slightly. You don’t want to end up with a puree. You should still have texture and be able to see the lentils in the sauce.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 240
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 370mg
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 14g
  • Protein: 11g

Keywords: vegetarian bolognese, vegan bolognese, healthy bolognese

If you tried this Lentil Bolognese or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!