Vegan Lentil Bolognese |

Vegan Lentil Bolognese

This vegan lentil bolognese is made with speedy red lentils and can be made in about 20 minutes. It's a great go-to sauce for a weeknight dinner, with lots of fibre and plant based protein.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1 large red onion diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced*
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 800 ml crushed tomatoes a big jar from the supermarket*
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper flakes optional
  • Fresh or dried basil to taste*
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach or about 3/4 cup frozen


  1. In a large saucepan, heat some oil on medium. Once the pan is hot, add the diced onion. Cook for a couple of minutes or until it's mostly translucent. Add the garlic and stir a few times. You don't want to burn the garlic. It's sensitive.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir again, then pour in the crushed tomatoes. Stir in the tomato paste.
  3. Toss the lentils and vegetable stock in, stirring again. It might not want to combine at first, but just keep stirring until it does. Add the maple syrup (it helps cut the acid from the tomatoes, don't leave it out), salt, pepper, hot pepper, and basil (if dried). Simmer over low-medium heat for about fifteen minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Add the spinach at the last minute along the basil (if fresh). It should only take a minute or two for the spinach to cook.
  4. While the lentils are cooking, you can boil the water for the spaghetti and cook it. It takes about the same time as the sauce if you wait until the lentils are in. Make sure to salt your noodle water generously, and don't rinse the noodles after draining! If you're not vegan, sprinkle a little parmesan on top before you eat it. If you are, I suggest substituting hemp hearts.
  5. This is a pretty flexible recipe that can be changed up as you like. I often grate vegetables like carrots or zucchini to add to the sauce, and diced tomatoes can be used instead of crushed if you're using a short noodle. You can, of course, use your preferred gluten-free noodles or whatever other kind of vessel you want to put this sauce on.


1. I actually use about five cloves of garlic when I'm making this for myself. Two cloves is the suggested amount if you're serving to other people, or if you're planning on talking to other people within the next few hours. 2. Don't mix up crushed tomatoes with readymade tomato sauce! 3. See the recipe instructions for how to treat the basil differently, depending on what state it's in. Dried basil tastes quite different from fresh too. I kind of hate it.