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Are you looking for a recipe to make a vegan lentil bolognese sauce? Then you're in the right place! This lentil bolognese is simple to make, it requires only 9 ingredients, it's healthy and it tastes delicious! Serve it with spaghetti, sprinkle some vegan parmesan on top and enjoy your meal.
This recipe is inspired by the traditional method of making bolognese in Italy (or better said in Bologna). In fact, the only ingredient that sets it apart from the traditional Italian version is the red lentils used to replace the ground beef.
If you're skeptical about the lentils, don't be. I've made this recipe for a lot of non-vegans and everyone loved it! Lentils are also high in protein and low in calories, which means that they keep you full and happy for a long time.
Before you jump into the kitchen to prepare this recipe I recommend you read this blog-post carefully. The recipe is simple but there are a few details to keep in mind when making it.
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this vegan bolognese recipe. Many of which I'm sure you'll already have in your kitchen. But let's see together exactly what ingredients you'll need:
- red lentils
- canned peeled tomatoes
- red or white wine
- tomato paste
- olive oil
- soy milk (optional)
See the recipe card at the end of this blog-post for the quantities.
Use this section for process shots, alternating between the step and image showing the step. Users don't like seeing process shots cluttering up the recipe card, so include your process shots here.
Heat the oil over medium to high heat. Once hot add in the onion, carrot and celery and brown for 7-8 minutes. Stir constantly.
Then add in tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the red lentils and sautè for 2 ore minutes on high heat. Pour in wine and simmer until completely evaporated.
Pour in canned tomatoes and using a spatula break them up in chunks. Season with salt and pepper and mix until combined. Simmer on low-medium heat, with the lid half on, for about 1 hour. Stir every now and then and add a dash of water if needed.
Once cooked, pour in soy milk and stir. The Bolognese is ready once the lentils are tender and the sauce is thick and creamy.
Hint: If you want to add an extra touch of flavor you can add a spring of rosemary into the bolognese.
in case you need to replace any ingredients here's how to do it.
- Red lentils - instead of red lentils, you can use green/brown lentils or replace them with finely chopped mushrooms like in this mushroom ragout.
- Soy milk - Use any kind of unsweetened vegetable milk instead except almond milk.
Below you will find some variations of this recipe:
- Light - if you want to serve a light but super delicious dish, you can serve this bolognese with zucchini noodles (or any other pasta made of veggies)
- Gluten-free - the Bolognese is completely gluten-free; serve it with zucchini or pumpkin noodles and you have a delicious, gluten-free dish.
- Spicy - add a chopped red chilli or two to the soffritto to get a spicy bolognese. You can also use red pepper flakes.
- Herbs - to add extra flavor to the bolognese you can add herbs such as dried oregano, rosemary, sage or thyme.
All you need to make this recipe is a large pot to make the bolognese and another one to cook the pasta. To chop the vegetables for the soffritto you can use a food-processor, just be careful not to chop them too finely.
You can either store the bolognese in the fridge or in the freezer:
- Fridge: place the bolognese in an airtight container and store in the fridge up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: place in an air-tight container and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
To reheat, place the bolognese in a saucepan and cook for a couple of minutes until warm.
Make ahead option
If you like to do meal prep, this recipe is perfect for you. In fact, you can safely make a big batch (double-triple the recipe), divide it into portions and freeze them.
In the freezer the bolognese will keep for at least 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it.
How to serve
Bolognese is usually served with pappardelle, tagliatelle or spaghetti. That being said you can serve it with any type of pasta you like.
If you don't feel like pasta, I recommend serving it as a topping for polenta, as a filling for plant-based fajitas, or simply with some baked vegetables.
Vegan Bolognese sauce is made of lentils, red wine, tomato puree, onion, garlic, celery, carrot and plant-based milk or cream.
To substitute ground meat in bolognese you can use red, brown or green lentils. They have the same texture as ground beef. Alternatively, you can also use vegan ground beef.
Traditionally yes. But meat can be replaced with lentils or vegan ground beef with no problems. The bolognese will still be absolutely delicious.
Other Pasta recipes you may like
Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce (Traditional Italian Recipe)
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 celery stick finely chopped
- 1 small carrot finaley chopped
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 250 g red lentils
- 200 ml red wine
- 800 g canned peeled tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 200 ml soy milk optional
- 1 handful fresh basil optional
- 400 g pasta of your choice spaghetti, tagliatelle, maccheroni
- Heat oil over medium to high heat. Stir in onion, garlic, carrot and celery and brown for 7-8 minutes. Sir constantly. Add in tomato paste and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add in lentils and sauté for 2 ore minutes on high heat. Pour in wine and simmer until completely evaporated. Pour in canned tomatoes and using a spatula break them up in chunks. Adjust salt and pepper and mix until combined.
- Simmer on low heat, with the lid on, for about 1 hour. Stir every now and then and add a dash of water if needed. Once cooked, pour in soy milk and stir. The Bolognese is ready once the lentils are tender and the sauce is thick and creamy.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook the pasta until al dente, drain and serve with the bolognese.