This easy vegan lentil bolognese is the pasta of my dreams! Made with lentils, tomatoes, carrots, and red bell peppers, this bolognese sauce is dairy free, gluten free, vegan, freezer friendly, AND packed with plant-based protein and fiber. Perfect for a healthy lunch, dinner, or meal prep!
What makes this vegan lentil bolognese so special?
This is one of the go-to healthy recipes that I make for a weeknight dinner. Because of its filling texture and layers of flavor, it’s always a hit. But here is a list of why I love this recipe so much:
- It’s easy – just chop, cook, stir, and serve. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner recipe because of how good it is. Plus, it’s perfect for meal prep and I think it tastes even better the next day because all the flavors are enhanced over time.
- It’s healthy – must I say that this sauce is also gluten-free, vegan, dairy free, and vegetarian? Seriously, you will never believe it because it’s just THAT good.
- It’s packed with plant-based nutrients, fiber, and protein – lentils are a too-good-to-be-true ingredient – they have A LOT to offer. Lentils are an amazing source of magnesium, calcium, iron, and of course, fiber and protein. Plus, they are low in fat.
- It’s freezer-friendly – vegan lentil bolognese can be frozen so you can have it ready to go for quick and easy dinners!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Red lentils – I love this vegan lentil bolognese with red lentils, but if you have green or brown lentils on hand, just adjust the cooking time.
- Olive oil – to sauté the onions and the garlic. A good quality olive oil will bring out the best flavor to this dish.
- Red onion – for flavor.
- Garlic – use fresh garlic! No powder.
- Carrot – needed to achieve a classic bolognese sauce taste
- Red bell pepper – red bell peppers offer a great taste on this sauce
- Tomato paste – brings a rich taste to the sauce
- Red wine – optional, but it does get this sauce to another level.
- Can of tomatoes – use a quality brand of canned tomatoes. This will make a difference in the overall flavor of the sauce.
- Cumin – for flavor.
- Vinegar – optional, to balance the flavor. You can also use sugar, adding 1 tbsp at a time, then taste, and add more if needed.
- Salt and pepper – to taste.
- Pasta of choice – any kind you like! Vegan lentil bolognese goes great with tagliatelle, fetuccini, or pappardelle. You can also keep it gluten free if needed.
Top tips for making vegan lentil bolognese
- Salt the pasta water – this is pretty simple but makes a big impact on the overall dish and will ensure that it’s as flavorful as can be.
- Make sure to let the red wine cook off – after pouring the red wine, make sure to let it cook off. You’ll know when it is cooked off when the liquid is reduced by half. The alcohol smell will burn off and the liquid will turn thicker. This is important to have pasta with great flavor.
- Be patient – don’t rush cooking the veggies all the way through. The cooking time is important so the veggies can build all the flavor they can, to ensure a rich and tasty sauce.
More vegan pasta recipes to try
- Ultra creamy vegan tomato sauce (V + GF)
How to store
Fridge: You can store leftover vegan lentil bolognese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. If your sauce is a bit too dry just add a splash of water. You can also store the pasta and the sauce separately, and toss them together when ready to serve.
Freezer: Freezing is perfect for meal prep! Just freeze your vegan lentil bolognese sauce in an airtight container, for up to three months. Defrost on the countertop and heat in a saucepan. Stir occasionally and add a splash of water if necessary.
Make sure to tag me @cravebysaldemar on Instagram if you make this easy vegan lentil bolognese. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above.
If you tried this easy vegan lentil bolognese let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest and Instagram for more delicious recipes!Print
Easy Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Pasta of choice
- 1 cup red lentils (sub for green or brown lentils, adjust cooking time)
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 carrot, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 (15 oz) can of tomatoes
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and garlic is golden. Stir to avoid from sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning.
- Add tomato paste and stir frequently to avoid from sticking, until caramelized, about 1 minute.
- Add carrots and red bell peppers. Stir and cook until red bell peppers and carrots soften and get a bit charred, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine, and cook until reduced by half, 2-3 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of water and stir any bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the lentils, cumin, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The lentils will absorb the water, add an extra cup of water if necessary.
- Add the can of tomatoes, and stir to combine. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until lentils are tender but al dente. Stir occasionally. Add more water if necessary.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add salt generously. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
- Add vinegar to your sauce. Taste your lentil bolognese, and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
- Using a pasta spoon, transfer your hot cooked pasta directly from the pot, and toss to combine. (You can also drain your pasta and then transfer it to your sauce pan.)
- Garnish with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
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