Like most, I’ve been enjoying spaghetti bolognese from when I was a little girl. It was only recently that I started using lentils instead of either mince (before becoming vegan) or soy mince (TVP).
Lentils make this dish hearty, nutritious and packed with flavour. A cheap meal that will feed up to six people and uses ingredients that you’ll most likely already have in your pantry.
Have fussy eaters?
If you have picky eaters that run at the sight of veggies, you can easily hide them in this dish. Instead of dicing them up, before adding to the pot, pulse them a few times in a food processor before adding to the pan.
They will be so subtle, and they won’t even notice they are there!
It will look like it’s just a delicious tomato sauce with lentils.
Tomato sauces are best when cooked nice and slow.
You will get much more depth and flavour if you let it simmer between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
The great thing about this sauce is that you can simply leave it on medium-low and come back and stir it every 5-10 minutes. It will do its thing and create that magical, rich flavour with time.
Alternatives for the lentils
If you’re wondering what you can use instead of canned brown lentils, there are plenty of options!
You can switch the canned brown lentils for:
Home-cooked brown (green) lentils
French lentils (aka puy lentils)
Black lentils (Beluga)
The sauce also freezes well and can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
Some great additions to this lentil spaghetti bolognese are sriracha sauce for some added heat, grated vegan cheese, a fresh salad on the side, or some pickles like gherkins.
If you try this recipe, let me know! I would love for you to leave a comment and rating below. Want to go that extra mile? Tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest. Don’t want to make it now? Pin it for later!
A delicious family favourite with a lentil twist. It’s hearty, wholesome and filling. This lentil spaghetti bolognese is a great addition to your weekly meal rotation.
2 tablespoonsolive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2celery stalks, diced
2 cans / 400g / 14.10 ounces each diced tomatoes*
1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup / 60mll vegan red wine(a wine that you would drink)
1 tablespoondried Italian herbs(my mix had basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano)
Chilli powder, to taste (optional)
Pinch of nutmeg(freshly grated is best)
½ teaspooncoconut sugar*
500g / 1.1 pounds spaghetti
1 can / 425g / 14.99 ounces brown lentils,* drained and rinsed
¼ cup / 18g nutritional yeast
Salt, to taste
In a large pot on medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic cooking until they release an aroma and slightly start to brown.
Add in the celery and carrots and stir to incorporate. Let this cook for around five minutes, with the lid on.
Once the vegetables have softened, add in the cans of tomatoes and pouring half a cup of water in each can to get the rest of the tomato juices and pour that into the pot as well. (This will be 1 cup / 250ml of water altogether).
At this stage also add in the tomato paste, red wine, bay leaf, herbs, chilli, nutmeg, and sugar. Stir well.
Bring to a gentle simmer. Keep the lid slightly askew to maintain a slow simmer to retain the liquid without reducing it for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir every now and then.
After the 30 minutes, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti as per the packet instruction till al dente. I cooked mine for around 11 minutes.
Once you put the pasta in to cook, add the lentils to the sauce. Stir to combine.
Once the pasta is done, add nutritional yeast and salt to the sauce and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Drain the pasta once it’s cooked and add to the sauce pot. Using tongs, combine well and serve.
Diced tomatoes: You can alternatively use passata.
Sugar: I used ½ a teaspoon of sugar, however, if you try the sauce at the end and it still tastes too acidic, add in another ½ a teaspoon of sugar.
Brown lentils: The brown lentils I used from the can were small and cooked well. I added them closer to the end cooking time as I didn’t want them to turn mushy. If your lentils are bigger and are not too soft, add them in 10-15 minutes earlier.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:55 minutes
Join the MV community
You’ll get a neat summary of our content each week, as well as some behind the scenes of what’s happening! See you on the inside 😉
Maša is an award-winning photographer, certified health coach and passionate vegan home cook. Her mission is to make plant-based cooking approachable and downright delicious.