Hi friends! Today I am sharing an easy Vegan Lentil Bolognese. I made this recipe for my parents and parents-in-law, and it was a WINNER. Certainly, this recipe is vegan skeptic approved, and one that everyone will love.
This Lentil Bolognese is hearty and flavourful, protein-packed, and veggie loaded. What more could we want in a pasta dish?
Best of all, you can toss this recipe together in just 30 minutes! It’s great for meal prep to enjoy throughout the week And, you can even freeze the sauce to enjoy for a later date. When ready to eat, simply cook up your favourite spaghetti noodles and top with bolognese.
So, let me tell you exactly how to make this recipe so you can enjoy it pronto.
Lentil Bolognese Sauce
For this recipe you will need:
- coconut oil
- tomato puree
- tomato sauce
- Italian seasoning
- nutritional yeast
- cayenne pepper flakes
- coconut sugar
I wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible, while still being veggie loaded and flavour packed. I find too-simple of a tomato sauce can be bland, and a few ingredients can really transform the dish.
So, I decided to rest on three veggies that make a big impact on flavour and texture to this lentil bolognese sauce: carrots, zucchini and mushroom.
In addition, a little seasoning goes a long way for flavour. For this recipe I’ve used just three again: Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper flakes.
All-in-all this recipe is very straight forward, and likely you have the ingredients and seasoning in your pantry.
Tips for this recipe
One Green Planet provides great tips to avoid common mistakes when cooking pasta. But there isn’t much information on avoiding common mistakes for pasta sauce.
All-too-often, tomato sauces can be bland and boring. So, I’m going to give you a few of my tips to ensure your bolognese is packed with flavour.
Adding veg to your sauce
Of course, no recipe begins without sautéing onions and garlic. But I’ve also added some additional veg to bring more flavour and texture to this vegan lentil bolognese. I’ve chosen carrot, zucchini and mushroom.
I love these veggies combined, and they work beautifully to compliment this tomato sauce. The carrots bring a slightly sweet taste, while the mushrooms are meaty in texture and full of umami flavour.
A big tip – cut your mushroom into very tiny pieces, and grate your carrot and zucchini. This will ensure a well rounded spoonful every time, instead of biting into big hunks of veg.
Plus, adding these veggies to your sauce makes it much easier to get your “5 a day.” I love a good veggie packed pasta.
A little umami flavour goes a long way in this bolognese sauce. You’ll find it in the mushrooms and tomato paste of this recipe. Of course, we’ve already highlighted the mushrooms in this dish. But the tomato pasta too adds richness and depth.
Add the tomato puree at the same time we sauté the onions and garlic to slightly caramelize. It brings beautiful bold flavour to your sauce.
Finally, the nutritional yeast brings savoury punch to this sauce. And is often used in vegan dishes as an umami booster, to add deep bold flavour that’s cheesy and nutty in taste. It’s perfect for this bolognese.
Salty and Sweet
Salty and sweet flavours are the yin and yang of this sauce recipe. Both play an equally important role and should not be missed. In the recipe I’ve recommended to add 1.5 tsp of salt while cooking, but that’s just to start! I encourage you to taste and add pinches more to your liking as you cook. Salt enhances taste, and certainly helps to bring out the umami flavours in this dish. My favourite salt is any kind of sea salt, dry or wet, pink or grey!
Likewise, a little sweetness (through coconut sugar or brown sugar) also helps to enhance the umami flavour, especially the tomato flavour. I recommend adding just a bit – no more than 1 tbsp.
How long does this lentil bolognese keep?
This lentil bolognese will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze this recipe. Store in an air-tight container for one month.
Other recipes you might like:
If you’re digging this noodle dish, you might also like these:
- Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- Easy Vegetable Lo-Mein
- Sweet Potato Alfredo Noodles
- Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese
So there we have it, a simple vegan lentil bolognese that’s loaded with flavour and texture. It’s protein-packed, veggie-packed, and certainly a crowd-pleaser for all eaters. And, you can have on the table in 30 minutes. I’m sure your family will love this recipe as much as we do.
And, if you do make this recipe please let me know in the comments below what you think! I love hearing from you. And of course, tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #twospoons. Nothing makes me happier than to see your recreations.
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 carrots grated
- 1 zucchini grated
- 3 cup mushrooms finely chopped (8 oz/227g)
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cup tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- 1.5 cups water plus splashes more if needed
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper flakes or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar, more or less
- 1 lb spaghetti noodles (450g)
- In a deep skillet combine onions, garlic, coconut oil, and tomato paste. Cook on medium heat for 10 mins, or until onions turn translucent.
- Add carrots, zucchini and mushrooms. Sprinkle with sea salt and cook for 10 mins, or until veg is softened.
- Pour in tomato sauce, red lentils, and water. Season with nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper flakes, and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a low simmer and cook until red lentils are soft and sauce is thick. About 20 mins. (Optional to add splashes more water to thin). Taste and add coconut sugar to lightly sweeten (I used 1 tbsp total). Season generously with more sea salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water as directed on package instructions until al-dente (about 7 mins). Strain and divide pasta into bowls. Top with lentil bolognese.
VEGAN – VEGETARIAN – SOY-FREE – NUT-FREE