Red Lentil Bolognese

Before we adopted a plant-based diet bolognese was a weekly staple. The taste, the smell, and the warmth all filling us with memories of childhood days. I have to admit, I even felt sad for a brief moment when I thought my children would miss out on what has become a tradition in our family. But if there is one thing I’ve learned from this dietary change, it is that you can make all the same dishes and more with plant-based foods.

This Red Lentil Bolognese is a fun, fresh recipe that still embodies the traditional taste of bolognese (without the meat that is). Your kids will literally devour it! It freezes well so thaw it for an easy weeknight meal. Serve it over whole-wheat or gluten-free noodles et voilà!

Serves: 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes (or more)


1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 c button mushrooms, finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp tomato paste
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I’ve also used whole tomatoes. If you choose to do that squish them in your hands before adding)
½ c dry white or red wine
1 c red lentils, rinsed and picked through
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
Sea salt to taste


  1. Generously coat a large Dutch oven with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and heat over medium-low. Add onion, celery, carrot, and mushrooms, and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add garlic and tomato paste (I’d recommend starting with 3 Tbsp and adding if need be afterwards) and cook for about a minute.
  3. Then add wine, tomatoes, lentils, dried herbs and sea salt.
  4. Raise heat to medium until sauce begins to boil. Cover and reduce to low to allow the sauce to simmer.
  5. Simmer for about an hour stirring occasionally. Remove the lid after 45 minutes and allow some of the water to evaporate for the last 15 minutes.
  6. Once lentils have softened and sauce has taken on desired consistency, remove bay leaf and allow to cool.
  7. I like to use a hand held blender to pulse the sauce a couple of times for a smooth but hearty texture.
  8. Serve over whole wheat or gluten free pasta and enjoy!

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