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Lentil Bolognese Sauce: Healthy Vegetarian Recipe for Your Pasta Dishes and Much More

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🎯 Key Points
  • High in protein and fiber, making it a filling and satisfying meal.
  • Packed with essential nutrients such as iron, folate, and potassium.
  • Low in calories and fat, making it a healthy option for weight management.
  • Versatile and can be used as a sauce for pasta, a filling for sandwiches, or a topping for baked potatoes.
  • Easy to make and can be prepared in advance for quick and convenient meals.

The purists will frown at the name of this recipe, but we have to admit that most Bolognese pasta dishes prepared outside of Italy differ greatly. The popular international variant consists of a minced meat sauce with sautéed vegetables and plenty of tomato. This is the vegetarian version using lentils as protein , a different way of eating legumes that will convince even the most carnivorous.

Although we have allowed ourselves to serve it on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti, in reality this sauce allows for many other preparations. It is worth making a good amount, freezing it in portions, and using it, for example, to fill baked vegetables. You can use canned lentils, but it is a legume that cooks so quickly that we always recommend buying it dry, locally produced, and also taking advantage of overcooking it.

Lentil Bolognese Sauce: Healthy Vegetarian Recipe.


For 4 people

  • Dried lentils (or 1 large jar canned)- 200g.
  • Onion- 1.
  • Celery- 2.
  • small carrots- 3.
  • Garlic cloves- 1.
  • Tomato concentrate- 20ml.
  • Red or white wine (optional)- 80ml.
  • Oregano.
  • Thyme.
  • Natural crushed tomato- 400g.
  • Baking soda (optional)- 4g.
  • Soy or other vegetable milk (approximately)- 50ml.
  • Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Black pepper.
  • Salt.

How to make lentil bolognese?

Difficulty: Easy

  • Total time- 1 hour.
  • Elaboration- 10m.
  • Cooking- 50m.

It is not necessary, but we can soak the lentils for an hour before cooking them, to speed up the cooking time. Rinse them well and cook them in plenty of water until they are tender; Depending on the type of legume and its freshness, they will take more or less, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on them. Drain well and reserve.

Wash all the vegetables. Peel the carrots, the thick filaments of the celery, the garlic and the outer layers of the onion or chives. Chop and chop finely. If you use a food processor type robot, it is an easy task of seconds. Using a knife will take longer, you have to make sure that they remain in very small pieces.

Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan or casserole and add all these vegetables, with a little salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato concentrate and stir. Pour in the wine, let the alcohol evaporate, and add the tomato.

Stir well to integrate, add the baking soda to correct the acidity, and season with some salt, pepper and oregano and thyme to taste. Add the lentils, little by little, to add the desired amount – we can save a portion for another dish, if they seem like a lot, and lower the heat.

Keep cooking gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking that it is not too dry. Add broth or water if this occurs. Pour the vegetable drink and stir well, adding a little more if necessary.

If we are going to eat it with pasta, cook it al dente now, draining it gently. We can use part of the cooking water for the sauce, if we want it more liquid. Adjust the salt bolognese, add more oregano to taste and serve with parmesan cheese or brewer’s yeast, if we are vegan.

What to accompany lentil bolognese with?

In addition to the most obvious option, as we have chosen on this occasion, of long-format pasta – actually tagliatelle would be a better option – the lentil bolognese sauce can give a lot of life to other dishes. 

We can accompany it with another source of quality carbohydrates, such as brown rice, millet or quinoa, or even use pea or chickpea protein pasta. It is also perfect for stuffing potatoes, sweet potatoes or lighter vegetables and gratin them in the oven, such as eggplants or large mushrooms.

Bottom Line.

Lentil Bolognese sauce is a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional meat-based Bolognese sauce. Packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, lentils provide a hearty and satisfying base for this flavourful sauce. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, Lentil Bolognese sauce is a versatile and tasty option that is sure to become a staple in your recipe rotation.

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