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This homemade vegan lentil bolognese recipe is healthy, satisfying, comforting, and also so easy to make! In addition, it's gluten-free, made from green lentils, customizable, and is simply the best!
This vegan lentil bolognese recipe is loaded with veggies and can be enjoyed on your favorite pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles and also as a side dish. Since lentils are very filling and healthy, you really get full eating just like my vegan baked ziti, lentil meatballs or red lentil dal!
This dish takes a bit of time to make but it is so worth it. Since you will cook everything in one pot, except chopping the veggies, there isn't much work involved.
You can also make a big batch as meal prep and keep it in the fridge for the week. When you want to make a quick pasta dinner, you can just warm up the leftovers and you'll be set!
But, before we jump into the recipe, let's talk about how you can customize it and learn some tips.
How to Make Vegan Lentil Bolognese Step by Step
Lentils are healthy, filling, and versatile so I love using them in recipes. I used French green lentils for this dish because they hold up their shape a lot better than red ones. You can also use regular green lentils.
You can really add any veggies you want to this comforting lentil bolognese so I chose to make it with celery, carrots, mushrooms, and bell pepper. The most important part is to chop the veggies very small because you want the flavors to combine really well.
Onion & Garlic
I used a yellow onion but you can use white and red onion if you like. Lots of garlic cloves make this recipe very aromatic as well.
Adding crushed tomatoes give so much flavor but you can use pureed tomatoes instead. Keep in mind, you might need to add a little more water because some canned tomatoes don't have a lot of liquid.
Red Wine Vinegar
The sauce has a combination of flavor such as salty, sweet, and tangy. Red wine vinegar gives that tangy flavor and makes the sauce so delicious!
Italian Seasoning & Bay leaves
Italian seasoning is a great way to add so much flavor to this healthy lentil bolognese but you can use dried oregano and basil as well. I also added two bay leaves and you can garnish it with chopped parsley to give that fresh herb flavor at the end.
Coconut sugar gives just a little sweetness but you can use brown sugar instead. You can also sub for maple syrup if you prefer.
At the end of the cooking, you will be adding a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice because it gives that tangy flavor. You can also sub for lime juice if you like.
Oil & Salt
How to Make Easy Lentil Bolognese
- First, make sure to chop the veggies very small and cook the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, celery, and carrots for at least 5 minutes until soft. Next, you can add garlic, vinegar, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, salt, and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Now, you will add the dry lentils, crushed tomatoes, water, coconut sugar and cook until lentils are very soft. And then you can take out the bay leaves and add the lemon juice.
- Serve up this lentil bolognese on top of your favorite pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or eat it on its own!
Tips & Variations
- Green lentils can take some time to cook so make sure to check the doneness.
- You might need to add more water ¼ a cup at a time if it looks too dry as you are cooking it. But make sure it is not too watery.
- If the bolognese is too watery at the end of cooking, you can remove the lid and let it cook uncovered, and some of the water steam off.
- Keep stirring the lentil bolognese occasionally while cooking because you don't want the lentils to burn or get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- If you want it spicy, you can add crushed red peppers.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and sprinkle homemade parmesan cheese.
- Always adjust to taste, add more salt if needed.
How to store and reheat the Vegan Lentil Bolognese
You can store the leftovers in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 to 6 days and then reheat it on the stovetop until warm. It is also perfect for meal-prep and also a quick weeknight dinner!
Can you freeze it?
You can freeze the leftovers up to 3 months. To reheat, simply let it thaw and then warm it up on the stovetop. Keep in mind, you might need to add a little more water if it's too dry.
This vegan lentil bolognese recipe is very easy and versatile. It is also:
- Hearty & Comforting
- Gluten-free & soy-free
- Healthy & Filling
- Meal-prep & freezer friendly
- Also so delicious!
More healthy vegan recipes to try
- VEGAN PAD THAI (EASY & HEALTHY)
- EASY VEGAN FALAFEL BOWL (GLUTEN-FREE)
- THAI PEANUT NOODLES (VEGAN & EASY)
- VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE (EASY & GLUTEN-FREE)
- PASTA SALAD (EASY & QUICK)
- BLACK BEAN QUINOA BURGER
- BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER WINGS
So, did you make this? I’d love for you to leave a comment and rate the recipe. You can also share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest and tag me on Instagram using @avocadocentric or #avocadocentric! xo, SelinPrint
This homemade vegan lentil bolognese recipe is healthy, satisfying, quick, and so easy to make! It's gluten-free, made from green lentils, customizable, and is simply the best!
- 1 tbsp oil (avocado oil or olive oil)
- 1 medium onion (diced very small)
- 1 medium carrot (diced very small)
- 1 stalk celery (diced very small)
- 1 cup mushrooms (diced very small)
- 1 bell pepper (diced very small)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup uncooked dry green lentils (I use French lentils)
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups plus ½ cup water
- 1 tsp coconut sugar (sub fo brown sugar or maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- optional: chopped parsley for garnish
- Chop the veggies very small. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, celery, and carrots for at least 5 minutes until soft.
- Add in the garlic, vinegar, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, salt, and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- To the vegetables, add the dry lentils, crushed tomatoes, water, coconut sugar and cook until lentils are very soft after about 45 to 50 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot, and to make sure the liquid isn't evaporating quickly. add ¼ cup of water at a time if too dry and needed.
- Test the lentils to make sure they are very soft and then take out the bay leaves and add the lemon juice. Adjust to taste, add more salt if needed.
- Serve warm with your favorite noodles and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and sprinkle homemade parmesan cheese.
If the bolognese is too watery when you are at the end of cooking, you can remove the lid and let it cook uncovered, and some of the water steam off.
If you want it spicy, you can add crushed red peppers.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 5 to 6 days, freeze for up to 3 months.
- Serving Size: 6
- Calories: 214
- Sugar: 10.8g
- Sodium: 479.4mg
- Fat: 3.3g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 38.4g
- Fiber: 7.9g
- Protein: 11.5g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: vegetarian bolognese, vegan bolognese, healthy bolognese, lentil bolognese