When it comes to pasta sauce, you can never go wrong with a good marinara – but sometimes you want something a little heartier. That’s where this vegan Lentil Bolognese recipe comes in. This is also one of our favorite easy dinners!
Just Wait Lentil you Try It!
Traditional Bolognese sauce has a lot of texture, which we’re going to achieve using lentils! Lentils are a great fit for bolognese because they are both good for your heart and keep you feeling full and satisfied. In addition, lentils contain high amounts of iron and folate and are a great source of protein.
The other benefit of lentils is that they are super easy to use! You can get great cooked lentils from the can. Combine this with some quality canned tomatoes and tomato paste – and you have the simplest prep imaginable!
We Walnut Fail!
We also add crushed, toasted walnuts to round out the flavor of our vegan pasta sauce. The walnut bits add more texture, protein and healthy fats to the lentil Bolognese. In fact, you can add walnuts to pretty much anything, from roasted veggies to baked goods.
Healthwise, walnuts are a great source of antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are also believed to help reduce inflammation and improve blood pressure.
Putting it All Together …
Our combination of toasted walnuts, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar are an umami powerhouse, giving this lentil Bolognese sauce a complex and unique flavor. Actually, with lentils providing protein and texture, you might even forget this is vegan 😃. I also love to add chili flakes to my sauce for a little extra kick – though, this is completely optional.
Don’t Forget the Pasta!
Oh, and don’t forget to start cooking pasta to go with your lentil bolognese. The last thing you’ll want is to wait another 10 minutes before you chow down!
Spaghetti is our favorite pasta to pair this with. However, you might want to pair your Bolognese with a sauce-catching pasta like tagliatelle (ribbons), conchiglie (shells) or rigatoni (tubes). Alternatively, you could try going low carb and gluten-free with some “zoodles” (zucchini noodles).
You don’t need to skip the cheesy sprinkle on top, either! Just whip up a batch of vegan parmesan and add as much as you want 😋.
No matter what pasta you choose, you can’t go wrong with this lentil bolognese sauce recipe for a quick and easy vegan meal. If you try it, please let us know how you liked it with a comment and rating!
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Easy Lentil Bolognese with Walnuts
A vegan spin on the classic bolognese pasta sauce recipe, made using lentils and walnuts. This healthy pasta recipe is easy to make, delicious and filling!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts, toasted and finely crushed (see instructions)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium brown or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (chili)
- 1 large can chopped tomatoes (28 ounces / 794 grams)
- 1 small can brown lentils (14 ounces / 397 grams), rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon balsamic glaze
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ounces / 340 grams of Spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
To serve (optional)
- Vegan parmesan cheese
- Toast walnuts in a large pot over low heat, stirring regularly until walnuts become fragrant and slightly little darker (around 5 minutes). Transfer toasted walnuts to a small bowl and allow them to cool. Once cooled, crush toasted walnuts and set aside.
- Add olive oil to a large pot, heat to medium, and add finely diced onion, carrot and celery. Once onion turns golden brown, add minced garlic, dried basil, and chili flakes. Stir well and cook vegetables further for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour tomatoes, lentils, water, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic glaze, crushed walnuts and a pinch of salt into the pot, stir well to combine with onion mixture. Lower heat and allow mixture to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stir occasionally.
- While the lentil bolognese mixture is simmering, start preparing the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Back to the lentil bolognese; before serving, taste adjust seasoning to suit your taste. Then scoop the lentil bolognese into pot of cooked pasta. Stir to combine sauce and pasta. Divide between 6 bowls and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- *To crush walnuts, I like to wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and then give them a good bashing with a rolling pin! Haha!
- Nutritional information is to be used as a guide only as calories and nutrition vary between products and brands worldwide.
Keywords: easy lentil bolognese with walnuts, vegan bolognese, lentil bolognese, bolognese recipe, vegan pasta sauce, The Plant Riot
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