Last Updated on June 10, 2020 by Stephanie
This 30 minute lentil bolognese is made from scratch with a super flavorful tomato sauce and tender nutrient packed lentils. This bolognese recipe is easy, vegan, and you will not miss the meat in this bolognese!
I prefer using sprouted lentils over dry lentils for a few reasons. Sprouted lentils have more iron and copper, but have less folate than dried lentils. They are easier digested and you absorb more of the B vitamins and C. You can soak, dry, rinse, and repeat with dried lentils to sprout them… but it’s much easier to just buy them already sprouted if you can find them. Also, they cook much faster too.
This bolognese sauce begins like most of my pasta sauces. Sautéing onions in olive oil till soft and adding garlic. Followed by some spices: oregano, thyme, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black pepper. Wine is your best friend when making pasta sauce. You can use red or white wine, red gives you a more deep/robust flavor and white is more fruity/subtle. Wine helps enhance the flavor of the sauce.
Next comes the tomato base. You can use whole peeled tomatoes, allow them to break down, then blend with an immersion blender. For time purposes, I frequently use high quality canned tomato sauce. I add better than bouillon vegetable base which is vegan and gives the sauce an extra pop of flavor. Followed by vegetable broth and a bay leaf. Allow to come to a gentle boil.
As I mentioned earlier, using these already sprouted lentils cut the cooking time in half. Once the tomato sauce is at a gentle boil, I add the sprouted lentils, mix to combine, then cover. Lower the heat and allow them to simmer for 15 minutes.
Dairy free substitute
Red sauces can be overly acidic, that’s why you see a lot of recipes using heavy cream to round out the flavor of a sauce and mellow the acid. My absolute favorite substitute for heavy cream is using coconut cream. Coconut cream has the same thick consistency and does not make your dish taste like coconut. It’s my go-to for making recipes dairy free and is a must try.
While the lentils simmer, in a pot bring water to a boil and cook your favorite pasta according to package instructions. I used gluten free spaghetti, but this bolognese goes great with different shapes.
After the sauce is finished simmering, added the coconut cream, stir and taste. The lentils should be tender and this is the time to adjust the seasoning if needed.
To serve: add pasta into bowl, spoon lentil bolognese sauce over the top, and top with freshly cut basil.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The lentil bolognese sauce can be easily freezed as well for longer duration. Allow the sauce to cool, then add into a freezer bag. Press flat and freeze for up to 4 to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat in a pot.
Looking for more pasta recipes?
- Beef Bolognese
- Creamy Pesto Pasta
- French Onion Pasta Bake
- Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Roasted Eggplant and Bell Pepper Pasta
- Penne Alla Vodka
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- 9oz Sprouted Lentils (see note #1)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (about 3 tbsp)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup dry red or white wine
- 28 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp better than bouillon vegetable base
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tbsp coconut cream (see note #2)
- 1 lb pasta, cooked to package instruction [see note #3]
- Garnish: freshly chopped basil
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions
- In a dutch oven or high walled skillet over medium heat, add 3 tbsp of olive oil. Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add in the garlic, oregano, thyme, dried basil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, stir and sauté for an additional minute until garlic is fragrant. Add in the white wine and allow the pan to deglaze, scraping any browned bits with your wooden spoon.
- Once the liquid has reduced by half, add in the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, better than bouillon, tomato paste. Stir to combine and add in the bay leaf. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Once boiling, add in the sprouted lentils, stir to combine, lower the heat to simmer, and cover. Allow the lentils to simmer for 15 minutes.
- After lentils have simmered for 15 minutes, uncover, add in the coconut cream, and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Lentils should be tender and cooked through (cook time will vary/be longer if you aren't using sprouted lentils).
- Serve the lentil bolognese over the pasta and top with freshly chopped basil.
- I purchased/used already sprouted lentils for this recipe. If using dry lentils you can rinse and the cook time will be around 40 minutes and you may need more liquid if it becomes too thick, add more broth. You can also soak the dry lentils for a few hours to cut the cook time.
- If you do not have coconut cream and do not need recipe to be vegan, you can substitute heavy cream for coconut cream
- I used gluten free spaghetti for this recipe. You can use which ever pasta shape you would like, follow individual package for pasta cook time
- Storing: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The lentil bolognese sauce can be easily freezed. Allow the sauce to cool, then add into a freezer bag. Press flat and freeze for up to 4 to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat on low in a pot.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 427Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 709mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 9gSugar: 5gProtein: 14g
*Note: Nutrition information is an estimate. Values vary based on different brands and ingredients*