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Lentil Bolognese
A beautiful vegan meal

Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese is a simple meatless recipe that both kids and adults love. This family gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan meal is great for any day.

Lentil Bolognese
We first made Lentil Bolognese a couple of months ago for our then 10-Month old baby. Our goal was to cook something delicious and nutritious and incorporate legumes so that he would like it. So lentil bolognese came to mind. Not only did he love it, but we loved it too. It’s a simple dish, yet comforting, hearty, and full of flavor. You can use canned lentils if you’re short on time, which significantly shortens the cooking time, but we prefer dry lentils. This recipe takes about 15 active minutes to make; the sauce cooks itself on the stove the rest of the time. This recipe is excellent for meal-planning too. You can make a big batch ahead, then store it in a fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for a couple of months.

A comforting vegan meal for any day of the week

We both adore this dish, and so does our 1-year old Adam. These are the top reasons why we think you will like it too:

  • the sauce is creamy, flavorful, filling 
  • a simple recipe for any day of the year
  • you can easily freeze or store the sauce for later
  • an excellent dish for babies who start eating solids (our kid ate this dish blended at ten months)
  • vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free
  • the meat lovers will adore this recipe too

Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese

How to make vegan lentil bolognese at home

The preparation of this vegan bolognese is super simple. It only takes 15 active minutes to make; the remaining time, the lentil sauce will cook on its own. The ingredients are easily accessible and affordable. Here you will find a short overview of the recipe.

  1. Soak the dried lentils - skip this step if you are using canned lentils.
  2. Sauté the vegetables.
  3. Add the spices and tomato paste.
  4. Add the drained lentils, tomato passata, and water or vegetable broth.
  5. Cook until the lentils are soft.
  6. Serve with your favorite side dish.

Soaked lentils

Sauted vegetables

Cooked lentils

What to serve with this vegetarian bolognese

Serve this beautiful meal with one of these sides:

Vegetables and spices for Lentil Bolognese

Adding tomato passata to Lentil Bolognese

Adding vegetable broth to Lentil Bolognese

Often asked questions and answers

Here are some of the most often asked questions and answers. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments below.

  1. Can I use canned lentils in this recipe? Sure. In that case, drain the lentils and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Do we have to soak the lentils, or can we add them straight from the bag to the pot? We can add the lentils straight to the pot, but this will increase the cooking time by approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Do we need to wash lentils? It's best to wash the lentils before using them, especially if the bag is already open.
  4. Can we use other types of lentils? We recommend using green or brown lentils. Red lentils tend to fall apart quickly, so the dish's texture won't be the same. 

Storing and freezing

There are two ways to store this delicious Lentil Bolognese.

Keep the chilled homemade Lentil Bolognese, in the fridge, for up to 3 days. Before serving, reheat in the microwave oven or using a skillet.

Feel free to freeze the bolognese too. Place it in a freezer-friendly container and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost at room temperature (or in the fridge overnight), then reheat in the microwave oven or using a pot.

Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese

Try these meatless recipes too


Lets get cooking!

  • serves
  • preparation:
  • cook:
  • total time:


  • soak the lentils

    Add dried lentils to a bowl. Cover with water and set aside overnight.

  • cook the sauce

    Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and diced vegetable. Saute for 5 - 8 minutes until the vegetable softens. Increase the heat, add tomato paste, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf. Saute for another 2 minutes, then add the drained lentils, tomato passata, and water or vegetable broth. Cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for 45 minutes or until the lentil is cooked.

    Feel free to use canned lentils. In that case, cook the lentils for 15 minutes. If you don't soak the lentils beforehand, then the cooking time will be longer. Cook the lentils for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and add 300ml (1 1/4 cup) water more.
  • serve

    Season your lentil bolognese to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with diced fresh parsley and divide between six plates. Serve with your favorite side dish.


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