Red Lentil Bolognese


Looking for a hearty and healthy pasta dish? Look no further than this red lentil bolognese recipe. Packed with protein and fiber, this dish is perfect for a quick dinner any night of the week.

Red lentil spahgetti bolognese on a white plate
Reg lentil bolognese.

One of my favorite dishes to make is lentil bolognese. It is a vegan version of the classic Italian dish, and it is so hearty and flavorful.

It uses red lentils for a softer texture, though you could substitute brown or green lentils if you prefer, or want a really hearty-tasting bolognese.

It can be served over your choice of pasta, or try zoodles for a gluten-free option!

Lentils, an often underrated legume, are a powerhouse of nutrition. Packed with fiber, protein, and minerals, lentils are an excellent source of sustenance for a plant-based diet. They are also a low-cost, pantry-stable food that can be cooked in a variety of ways. Despite their many benefits, lentils often get overlooked in favor of other pulses, such as chickpeas and beans.

I hope this tasty red lentil pasta sauce will show you just how delicious and versatile lentils can be!

Red lentil spahgetti bolognese on a white plate

Red Lentil Bolognese

This recipe is for a hearty meat-free red lentil bolognese sauce that can be served over your choice of pasta.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 589 kcal


  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 carrot grated or shredded
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs basil, oregano etc, fresh or dried
  • Spahgetti or pasta of your choice
  • ¼ cup Reserved pasta water
  • Drizzle of olive oil

To serve

  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese optional


Cook pasta

  • Bring a large lidded pot of salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook according to packet instructions (approx. 10-12 minutes).

Cook sauce (while the pasta is cooking)

  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a large fry pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add carrot, celery, and herbs, and cook until softened and fragrant (approx. 5 minutes).
  • Add canned tomatoes, lentils, and salt. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce starts to reduce (approx. 5 minutes).

Finish sauce

  • Drain pasta when it has finished cooking, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Return to the pan, stir through a dash of olive oil, and cover to keep warm.
  • Add the reserved pasta water to the bolognese sauce and continue to simmer until sauce thickens to desired consistency [Note 1].
  • When the bolognese sauce has thickened, add it to the pan containing the cooked pasta, and toss to combine.


  • Serve the red lentil bolognese in bowls topped with nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese.


  1. The reserved pasta water contains starch which will make the sauce silky and help it coat the pasta nicely.

You may also like: