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This one-pot Vegan Bolognese made with lentils is a hearty, protein-packed, fiber-filled sauce that’s also gluten-free, nut-free and oil-free. Serve this lentil Bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta or veggie noodles for a delicious plant-based dinner that’s perfect for any night of the week. Top with our vegan Parmesan for a tasty combination.
We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to bring you an important message:
This sauce is not made with chickpeas…I repeat, this sauce is NOT made with chickpeas.
Are you surprised that I did not use chickpeas to replace the meat in this meatless, vegetarian version of Bolognese sauce?
It’s true that I am a chickpea fiend, but sometimes I like to show a little love for some other well-deserving legumes. Therefore, today’s star is the red lentil!
CHEERS * APPLAUSE *
What’s so great about red lentils?
Well, they are low in fat but high in both fiber and protein. They also contain a good amount of iron, folate and potassium as well as a slew of other vitamins and minerals.
I also prefer them to other lentils for their sweeter flavor and creamier consistency.
However, if you prefer a more earthy and robust flavor, you can easily swap out the red lentils for green ones in this recipe.
They are slightly larger than the red ones and will have a firmer texture in the sauce.
Do the lentils have to be soaked?
No, the lentils do not have to be soaked. However, you can soak them if you desire for about 2-3 hours before you are going to make the sauce.
Personally, I do choose to soak my lentils because I have noticed that it helps with digestion.
This is another reason I prefer the red lentils over the green ones as the red seem to be easier on my stomach.
Of course, everyone is different and therefore, you can choose what works best for you regarding soaking vs. not soaking and red vs. green.
Ingredients in This Vegetarian Bolognese Recipe
Aside from lentils of course, you’ll also need:
- Vegan Pinot Grigio (check out Barnivore for some great vegan wine options)
- Tomato Paste
- Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Canned Tomato Sauce
- Vegetable Broth
- Italian Seasoning
- Kosher Salt
How to Make Vegan Bolognese Sauce – Step by Step
Start by adding celery, carrot, garlic, shallot, wine and kosher salt to taste to a 4-quart saucepan.
Cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veggies have softened up and the wine has evaporated.
Next, stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes (along with their juice), tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning.
Then, stir in vegetable broth and lentils.
Bring to a boil, and once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook covered for 25-30 minutes until lentils reach desired tenderness.
Before serving, season with additional kosher salt to taste.
Serving Suggestions for Vegan Bolognese
Serve this sauce over your favorite gluten-free pasta or even a veggie pasta such as zucchini or sweet potato noodles.
Then, top it off with some nut-free vegan Parmesan.
You can also use it as the sauce layer for lasagna.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can this lentil Bolognese be frozen?
Yes, this sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Just be sure to store it in an airtight container and fully thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheating the Sauce
The sauce is best reheated on the stovetop in a covered pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
If you like this veggie Bolognese, you might also enjoy our pumpkin pasta sauce.
Vegan Bolognese [Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Oil-Free]
- 2 medium ribs of celery (diced)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled and diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot (substitute onion if desired)
- 1/4 cup vegan Pinot Grigio
- Kosher salt to taste
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice (I used no salt added)
- 15 oz can of oil-free tomato sauce
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 2 cups low-sodium, gluten-free vegetable broth (be sure to use an oil-free brand of broth)
- 3/4 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and picked over *See Recipe Notes Below
- Add celery, carrot, garlic, shallot, wine and kosher salt to taste to a 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veggies have softened up and the wine has evaporated.
- Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning.
- Stir in vegetable broth and lentils, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook covered for 25-30 minutes until lentils reach desired tenderness.
- Before serving, season with additional kosher salt to taste.
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