Have you tried making a lentil bolognese yet? If not, it’s time to try guys! It’s so hearty and delicious, and a very nice alternative to meat bolognese. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bolognese once in a while, but I also love a meat-free alternative. I think it’s good to change and try new things, and not always making the same recipes. And in this one, I’m not even sure if you will miss the meat. It’s made with similar ingredients as bolognese but the only real difference is that it’s made with brown lentils. The texture will also be a bit different, meaning a little more on the liquid side. If you like real thick sauce, then maybe just cut down a bit on the liquid in the sauce. But the sauce is so tasty and full of veggies (chopped small) which is really great for children.
What to Serve the Sauce With?
Although I served it on spaghetti squash, you could easily use it over zucchini or sweet potato noodles, or gluten-free or regular spaghetti of course. It can also be used to make vegan Sloppy Joes or fill baked sweet potatoes. It’s pretty versatile. Use it the way you would use your traditional bolognese. You can totally keep it simple and use pasta, and go grain-free and go veggies with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
What’s In the Sauce?
- Onions & garlic
- Mushrooms (can omit if you don’t like!)
- Herbs & spices
- Brown lentils (cooked)
- Crushed tomatoes
- Chopped walnuts (optional)
How to Cook Lentils?
In the recipe, I use cooked lentils. Why? So they are sure to cook properly. Sometimes with the tomatoes and salt they stay on the harder side so to ensure they are soft and pleasant, I cook them before and just add them in the sauce but don’t worry – lentils are quick and easy to cook.
Rinse your dry lentils under running water and remove any dirt of pieces of debris that you may see. Then, combine 1 part of lentils with 2 parts of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender and have absorbed all the water, about 30 minutes. You can do this step in the morning or afternoon, or even the day before, while doing something else if you like. That way you can save time during dinner time.
How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash?
So simple. Get a spaghetti squash at your farmer’s market or grocery store. They are not around all season but you can get them during Fall and early winter, and sometimes all winter.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut your squash in half lengthwise. Place the squash, cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until a fork or knife pierce through easily. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool a bit. Remove seeds with a spoon. Then grate the inside of the squash with a fork. Note that some are mushier than others so the result of the “spaghetti” may differ according to the squash.
More Lentil Recipes on the Blog
Hope you enjoy the recipes!:)
Lentil Bolognese Sauce
This vegan lentil bolognese sauce is hearty, tasty and very nutritious. Serve it with spaghetti squash, vegetable zoodles or regular pasta. Cook your lentils ahead so they are ready to use in the sauce.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon unrefined salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup cooked brown or green lentils
- 2 (26 ounces) cans crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (optional)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Serve with zucchini, squash or sweet potato noodles, or spaghetti squash, or regular pasta.
If not done already, cook your lentils. This can be done earlier or even the day before. Cook brown or green lentils according to package directions.
If making with spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400F, slice squash lengthwise, place cut side down on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. (Remove seeds with spoon after baking and flesh with a fork). While squash is baking, make the sauce.
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms, as well as salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, red pepper flakes and bay leaf, and cook for another 5 minutes to soften.
Add cooked lentils, tomatoes, coconut sugar and walnuts if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially cover, for 15-20 minutes.
Turn off heat, serve sauce over spaghetti squash, vegetables noodles or regular or gluten-free pasta.
Garnish with freshly grated cheese and parsley if you like (but won't be vegan anymore if adding cheese).