This hearty lentil bolognese is packed with flavor and perfect over pasta. Totally vegan and easy enough for a weeknight!
It’s hard to believe this site has been around for over 7 years! My photography and recipe development skills have improved quite a bit since I started, and I’ve slowly been updating my old posts with snazzy new photos and better recipes.
But occasionally I come across a recipe that I feel desperately needs updating, but still gets a decent amount of traffic and positive feedback. That’s what happened with my old lentil bolognese recipe.
I intended to redo the entire post, but I knew that a lot of people were making and loving the old version. I couldn’t just delete it forever!
So I decided to compromise. I’m keeping the old version around, and adding and what I consider to be a better, updated version.
Lentil Bolognese Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need!
- Olive oil
- Dry white wine
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Soy sauce
- Dried thyme
- Dried oregano
- Organic sugar
- Non-dairy milk
- Cooked brown lentils
- Salt & pepper
- Pasta of choice
How to Cook Lentils
This recipe calls for cooked lentils. You have a couple of options here!
Canned lentils are cooked, so you can use them if you like.
You can also cook dried lentils. To do this, simply place the lentils in a pot, cover them with water, and let them simmer until they’re tender.
Tip: cook more lentils than you need, then place your leftovers in a sealed bag or container and freeze them for future use!
How to Make Lentil Bolognese
Start by heating up some olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Sweat the veggies for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften, then add the garlic and cook it for another minute.
Pour in the white wine and bring it up to a simmer. Let it cook until it reduces by about half.
Now add your tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, thyme, oregano, sugar, and milk. Give everything a stir and bring it up to a simmer. Let it cook for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich.
Stir in your lentils and cook the sauce for about a minute more, until heated throughout.
Remove your sauce from heat and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle over pasta and enjoy! I like to serve mine with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese.
Lentil Bolognese Tips & FAQ
- Can this meal be made gluten-free? Yup! Just just use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce, and your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Leftovers storage: leftover sauce will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for about 4 days.
- Is there a substitute for the wine? You can simply leave it out if you prefer.
- Not all wine is vegan. If you do use it, check with Barnivore to ensure your is.
- Can I use green or red lentils instead of brown? Green should work just fine. Red lentils have a totally different texture, so I don’t recommend using them in this recipe.
This hearty lentil bolognese is packed with flavor and perfect over pasta. Totally vegan, and easy enough for a weeknight!
- 12 ounces dried spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 medium celery stalks, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28 ounce or 800 gram) can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned (and drained) brown lentils*
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions.
Drain the pasta into a colander, return it to the pot, and toss it with a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking.
While the pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large pot with a tablespoon of olive oil and place it over medium heat.
Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the onion, carrots and celery. Sweat the veggies for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften up.
Add the garlic and cook it for about a minute, until very fragrant.
Add the wine, bring it to a simmer, and let it cook until reduced by about half, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, milk, soy sauce, thyme, oregano, and sugar.
Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the sauce is thick.
Stir in the lentils and cook the sauce for a minute more, until the lentils are heated.
Remove the pot from heat and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle over pasta and serve.
*To prepare 1 1/2 cups of cooked lentils, place 3/4 cup of dry lentils in a small saucepan and cover them with water. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and let the lentils simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the lentils.