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Lentil Bolognese served over pasta on a white plate.

Lentil Bolognese

  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Diet: Vegan


Lentil Bolognese is a savory vegan pasta sauce that’s loaded with veggies, lentils, tomatoes, fresh herbs and plenty of seasonings. This meal is hearty, nutritious, protein-packed, and always gets rave reviews!


  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 56 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of red wine (optional or more broth)
  • 2 cups of veggie broth
  • 1 1/4 cups of brown or green lentils*
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, finely chopped*
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)


  1. In a large deep skillet or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the onion and garlic and 15 for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add in the celery, carrot, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mix and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Mix in the tomato paste and continue to cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add in the wine (or ½ cup of additional broth if not using wine) and scrape the bottom of the skillet to deglaze. Add in the broth, lentils, walnuts, and crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 40-45 minutes, stirring every few minutes, or until the lentils are tender and cooked.
  4. Stir in the parsley and cheese and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove from the heat and enjoy over your favorite pasta!


  • Storing leftovers. It’s best to store the sauce separate from the pasta, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating. Warm up on the stove or in the microwave until it’s heated through.
  • Freezing. We love to make a double batch of sauce and freeze half to use later. Store it in a freezer container for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge for best results.

Lentils – If you want to use red lentils for this recipe, just know that they’ll need less cook time and will end up quite a bit softer than the brown or green lentils.

Walnuts – I tested the recipe with and without the walnuts. You can leave them out as desired. They add a nice little bit of crunch to the recipe that I find really nice.

Parmesan- This can either be left out completely or replaced with a vegan parmesan.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: lentil bolognese, vegan bolognese, vegetarian bolognese