Lentil Bolognese

The best (and healthiest) fake “meat” sauce I’ve created thus far.


  • 1 cup of dried lentils*
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Roasted Vegetable — makes the sauce taste “beefy”!)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 chopped carrots 
  • 3 chopped stalks of celery 
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 6 cloves of minced garlic
  • ¼ cup of freshly chopped basil
  • 1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of red wine
  • 1 16 ounce box of pasta


  1. Dice the garlic, carrots, onion, and celery. Thinly slice the basil leaves. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook dried lentils in vegetable broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat until soft. This should be when there is only a little cooking liquid left at the top. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until softened but not brown.
  4. Add in the basil leaves and tomatoes, as well as the lentils (with cooking liquid!) and red wine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking apart the larger tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher as they cook down into a sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. After 45 minutes, remove the sauce from the heat and let rest for 15 minutes.
  6. While the sauce is simmering, fill another large pot with water (and a pinch of salt) and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta.
  7. Serve pasta topped generously with sauce and your favorite vegan parmesan cheese.

*Make sure that you don’t drain the lentils, you’re going to want to add that cooking liquid (lentil/veggie broth mixture) to this delicious sauce!

*Lentils can be tricky because some need to soak even before you cook with them and some do not. For this recipe, look for the lentils that do not need to soak before cooking — it will make your job that much easier.

*This recipe took inspiration from the Pasta Pomodoro recipe as well as Jamie Oliver’s recipe for vegetarian meat sauce which you can find here.

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