Traditional Bolognese sauce is a rich, thick, hearty, Italian meat-based sauce that takes hours to cook to perfection. This meatless version packs the same richness and thickness but cooks up in half the time. Also, the combination of flavors will have your taste buds dancing.

Enjoy this rich sauce with your favorite pasta, sprinkled with grated Parmesan and with your favorite side salad.

Lentil Bolognese sauce with spaghetti pasta

Building flavors

Bolognese sauce starts with building a base for the lentils. Fresh celery, carrots, onions, sweet peppers, garlic and tangy tomato paste are the foundation for this sauce. Add a splash of white wine (this is optional), and aromatic Italian herb blend to lift this sauce and take your lentil Bolognese to the next level.

Why Green Lentils

Green lentils are rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium and are a great source of plant-based protein. Additionally, they are known for having great texture and are versatile enough to use in soups and stews. They are also a little larger than the French lentils that I used in my Spicy Curry Lentils. Unlike red lentils that get mushy as they cook, these green lentils are perfect for this slow cooking sauce because they hold their shape when cooked. For this recipe, I’m using Eden Organic Green lentils. I found them at my local grocery store.

Let’s cook Lentil Bolognese sauce

Start by sauteing diced or finely cubed onions, celery, sweet peppers and carrots before adding in crushed garlic. Then add tomato paste, (splash of white wine optional) and tomato sauce. Next, add Italian seasoning, fresh basil and stir together and simmer. Later add vegetable stock or broth to slowly cook the sauce. See the full recipe and instructions below.

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Steps for Lentil Bolognese sauce

Lentil Bolognese Sauce

Lentil Bolognese sauce is a rich, thick, hearty vegetarian sauce, made with protein-packed green lentils.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Category: Plant-Based Meal Option
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Lentil bolognese sauce, lentil tomato sauce, lentil spaghetti sauce, plant-based meal
Serves: 6 servings

Equipment

  • Large 6-quart pot with lid

Ingredients

  • 1 Cups Green Lentils -rinsed in warm water
  • 1/2 Cup Onion -chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Celery -chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Carrots -chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet peppers -chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves -crushed
  • 3 oz. Tomato paste
  • 16 oz. Tomato sauce
  • 2 Cups Vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1 Tsp Salt and pepper each
  • 4 Tbsp Olive oil

Instructions

  • In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil to medium high heat and add onion, carrots, celery, sweet pepper and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Then stir in garlic and white wine and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until wine dries out.
  • Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, vegetable stock, Italian herb mix, basil and remaining olive oil. Cover with a lid slightly ajar and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. When about half-way cooked add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for about 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. The sauce should be thick and rich. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta and sprinkle on a little fresh grated Parmesan cheese or feta.

Notes

  • You will know the lentils are done when they are easily smashed with a fork against the side of the pot.
  • If you prefer, you can also freshen up the sauce with a little squeeze of fresh lemon.
  • You can store any remaining sauce in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Lentil Bolognese sauce over spaghetti pasta

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