Lentil Bolognese

I think this is one of those things I made during veganuary and just forgot to update my blog with the recipe for it. Either way, this was one of the nicest things to make because the recipe has so much scope for substitutions in terms of core ingredients and that’s always nice because let’s be honest, not everyone eats the exact same thing all the time.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 carrots, finely shredded
  • Pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 jar of tomato sauce
  • Pinch red pepper flake
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar for sweetness, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained


  1. Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, shallot, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly softened and fragrant. Turn down heat if browning.
  2. Add carrots and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add tomato sauce and stir to coat.
  3. Add red pepper flake, basil, oregano, coconut sugar, water, and lentils. Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low/medium-low and continue cooking until lentils are tender – stirring occasionally – about 17-20 minutes. Add a bit more water if mixture gets too thick.
  4. Once lentils are cooked, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, red pepper flake for heat, or herbs for flavour balance.
  5. Serve the bolognese over noodles of choice (I opted for plain old spaghetti).
  6. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in the freezer 1 month.

This is honestly a great alternative to the heavier meats we often use in bolognese and it means that we don’t have to keep making vegan meals an afterthought. As always, let me know how you get on with making this, I would love to see what kind of modifications you make to it and bring your own kinds of flavours to it!

Recipe adjusted from Minimalist Baker.


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