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The best vegan lentil Bolognese recipe ever! Aromatic, delicious, and loaded with nutrients – this vegan Bolognese sauce is a favorite within the whole family.
Who doesn’t love a delicious Spaghetti Bolognese with lots of cheese on top? Let me show you how to turn this traditional recipe into one of your new favorite vegan recipes. You only have to substitute minced beef with lentils – yes, it’s that easy to turn this favorite Italian dish into a plant-based all-time favorite!
Everybody Loves This Lentil Bolognese Sauce
Kids, husband, and friends, everyone will be thrilled when you serve this meal for lunch or dinner.
Trust me when I tell you that even non-lentil fans will come to their turn. When you cook this vegan bolognese sauce the old traditional way, it turns out incredibly flavorful.
Be sure to use French green lentils (called Puy Lentils) which have a dark green almost brownish color, and not the regular green lentils which are lighter in its color.
Puy lentils keep a crunchy bite after cooking and have a slightly nutty and herb flavor which is fantastic in savory dishes.
Also, don’t bail on the red wine. I don’t drink alcohol, but I love to use it for cooking. There is no substitute for wine when it comes down to cooking sauces. Deglazing your lentils with a sip of red wine enhances the flavor of the whole dish.
I love to serve it with a bunch of fresh basil and vegan parmesan!
To be honest, I was quite skeptical when I tried the recipe for the first time. I used my ancient bolognese recipe and replaced the meat with lentils. Still, I couldn’t imagine that this is going to taste like an actual Bolognese.
But the result is amazingly tasty, and besides the advantage that you don’t need meat or tofu for this recipe, lentils are super healthy and loaded with nutrients.
Lentils are high in fiber and protein. A plus for the whole family, and a great way to smuggle in some healthy food into your kid’s plate.
How To Make Lentil Bolognese Vegan
The recipe is easy to cook and even faster than traditional Bolognese. It is crucial to you use Puy lentils. Unless you want to end up with a lentil pudding.
Furthermore, I learned from a German Michelin Star Chef (Frank Rosin) to always use canned tomatoes for pasta sauces. Tomatoes don’t stop ripen after canned and are therefore much more flavorful than fresh tomatoes.
Another plus is that you can always have a can of whole peeled tomatoes at stock and don’t need to run to the supermarket if you are craving this Spaghetti Bolognese!
Vegan Bolognese Sauce Recipe
- The most important ingredients:
- French Green Lentils: Also called Puy lentils. They have a herb taste and remain firm when cooked. Attention, don’t mistake them with green lentils.
- Red wine: A must for Bolognese sauce. I like to use a rather sweet wine like Tempranillo. Sip away the rest of the bottle, freeze it, or use it for this vegan gravy recipe.
- Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes: It tastes best with whole tomatoes. These disintegrate during cooking and leave your sauce with a beautiful aroma and little chunks of tomato. Can be substituted with canned diced or crushed tomatoes.
- Bay Leaves: Essential herbs for this Italian dish.
How To Make It:
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the carrot into small cubes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaves, and rosemary and roast for 5 minutes over medium heat. Can you smell that scent?!
- Add the lentils and pour in the wine.
- Leave to bubble and cook away.
- Stir in the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Reduce the heat to low and pop on a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked and tender.
- Season with sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain the pasta, add some olive oil if wished (keeps them from sticking together), and set aside. → Never wash cooked spaghetti with cold water. Otherwise, the sauce won’t stick properly.
- Stir the drained pasta through the lentil bolognese sauce.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with vegan parmesan.
How long does vegan bolognese stay fresh? Packed in an airtight container and stored in your refrigerator, up to 3 days. I usually store the sauce separate from the noodles.
Can I use red lentils to make this recipe? You can, but I highly recommend using Puy lentils. If you only have red lentils at home, fine, use these. But please reduce the cooking time and only cook your bolognese for 15 minutes if you don’t want to end up with mushy lentils.
More Vegan Pasta Recipe You’ll Love:
- Vegan One Pot Pasta
- Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic and Olives
- Cashew Tomato Pasta
- Vegan Creamy Asparagus Pasta Alfredo Style
- Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
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Lentil Bolognese Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig rosemary, minced
- ½ cup (100g) dry Puy lentils, (French Green Lentils)
- ½ cup (120ml) red wine
- 1 cup (240ml) vegetable stock
- 1 x 14.5 oz can (400g) whole peeled tomatoes, or diced/crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaves, and rosemary and roast for 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the lentils and pour in the wine. Leave to bubble and cook away.
- Stir in the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Reduce the heat to low and pop a lid on. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
- Season with sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- Stir the drained pasta through the bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with the basil and serve with vegan parmesan.
- Keeps fresh for 3 days, stored in the fridge.
- I highly recommend purchasing Puy lentils to make this recipe. Can be substituted with red lentils, but it doesn’t taste the same. Reduce the cooking tome to 15 minutes if using red lentils.