This easy vegan lentil bolognese is flavourful, super comforting and rich. It's made with simple, accessible ingredients and ready in under 30 minutes - a perfect weeknight dinner! Serve with pasta of your choice for a meal that everyone will love.
As it gets colder and colder outside, daily comfort food is a must. I mean, that doesn't change at all for me throughout the year. But few things do as good of a job at making cold weather bearable as a big, cozy bowl of deliciousness. And vegan lentil bolognese happens to be one of my personal favorites!
If you're looking for a new meal to add to your weeknight dinner rotation, this is a must-try for sure. I'm sure you'll want to make it over and over again - and there's no reason not to, given how simple it is.
The best vegan lentil bolognese
If I had to pick one dish to eat for the rest of my life, it would be variations of vegan spaghetti bolognese. I mean, a vegan bolognese sauce has everything I look for in a recipe. It's simple, requires no fancy ingredients, doesn't require complicated preparation.
This vegan lentil bolognese is flavorful plant based comfort food at its best. It's rich and savoury with hints of smokiness, and the texture is super 'meaty' and thick without the use of any soy products such as tofu and tempeh or processed vegan meat alternatives. Another thing that makes this recipe great is just how simple the ingredients are. You probably have most of them in your pantry already.
We start by cooking carrots and tomatoes with spices and tomato paste until they reach the perfect consistency. I also added mushrooms to add a chewier texture. Then, of course, the main ingredient is lentils, which make a great meat alternative in vegan pasta sauces. The sauce is simmered until rich and fragrant, and then served over pasta for the dreamiest dinner ever!
How to make this vegan lentil bolognese
Firstly, heat olive oil in a large frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat. Next, add garlic, onions, carrots, tomato paste, cumin and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant.
Next, add tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more, until the mushrooms shrink down and the tomatoes soften.
Now add the red lentils, canned tomatoes, sriracha, dried thyme, coconut sugar and vegetable stock. Stir all the ingredients together and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the lentils are soft but not mushy. If the lentil bolognese sauce starts to look too dry, add extra vegetable stock.
At the end, stir in fresh cilantro and serve immediately with pasta of your choice.
Tips and ingredient substitutions
- Feel free to add any other vegetables of your choice at the same time as the tomatoes and mushrooms. A vegan lentil bolognese is a great way to clean out the fridge!
- Don't be tempted to stir the vegetables too often while cooking them to allow them to get a bit of a crispier texture.
- This recipe also works with green lentils, but keep in mind that the cooking time may be longer.
- On the other hand, if you want to reduce cooking time, feel free to use canned lentils. In that case, only around 10 minutes of simmering will be necessary.
- For a cheesier flavor, stir in either vegan cheese, or nutritional yeast.
- At the end, feel free to add other leafy greens of your choice, such as spinach or kale.
How to store and freeze lentil bolognese
Vegan lentil bolognese is an excellent option for meal prep and weekday lunches. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 4-5 days, and it's delicious eaten either hot or cold.
To freeze this lentil bolognese sauce, simply allow it to cool down fully and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, allow to thaw fully in the fridge, then reheat on the stove or the microwave, adding extra liquid as necessary.
Other delicious vegan recipes using lentils
- My vegan moussaka is comfort food perfection!
- You can't go wrong with zucchini fritters.
- For a delicious lunch, try my vegetable pasta salad with lentils
Let me know in the comments: what's your favourite pasta sauce? If you give this easy vegan lentil bolognese a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@ohmyveggies) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below!
- Non-stick saucepan
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat. Next, add garlic, onions, carrots, tomato paste, cumin and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more, until the mushrooms shrink down and the tomatoes soften.
- Now add the red lentils, canned tomatoes, sriracha, dried thyme, coconut sugar and vegetable stock. Stir all the ingredients together and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Add extra vegetable stock as necessary.
- Stir in fresh cilatro and serve immediately with pasta of your choice.