Naturally gluten free and vegan, this Lentil Bolognese recipe is a hearty, healthy lentil recipe that’s perfect for topping pasta or just about anything else!
This is probably the hardest post that I’ve written. I’m not super comfortable talking about myself, so I tend to just talk about the food instead.
Having people criticize my recipes can be hard enough, but sharing extremely personal things like my struggle to lose weight is way (way, way) out of my comfort zone.
In September, I had my third little one. Since this was my third time, I figured I knew what to expect.
Except that this time hasn’t been like the last two time, and I have really been struggling to get my weight loss going this time. I definitely got off track while I was pregnant. I had hyperemesis during the beginning of my pregnancy. Once it was under control, I was hungry constantly, and so I ate.
After being so sick, I was beyond excited to be able to eat and to have food taste good again. At first, I craved healthy foods, and I ate lots of veggies and salads and good stuff. Towards the end, I craved more junk food, and that’s when the weight jumped on.
I gained about the same amount of weight during all three of my pregnancies. The last two times, it started to come off right away. I didn’t diet or do anything special to try to lose it, and it took me about a year both times to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
This time, though, the weight seems to be pretty happy hanging around. I certainly want to lose this baby weight, but more than that, I want to work on getting healthy again.
So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, the recipes that I share on here reflect what we’re eating. Everything that shows up on here was first tried out on my family and friends.
Even though I don’t talk much about my life, I do want to be honest with what I do share. So, I don’t want to pretend like I can eat a lots of cake, cookies, and other no-so-healthy food and lose weight because I can’t. The struggle is real, my friends. And with that, on to the food!
How To Make Lentil Bolognese
Growing up, my mom made this great dish of lentils and rice, and I loved it. It was one of my favorite dinners, and I still love all lentil recipes. This Lentil Bolognese is my healthier take on pasta sauce. I’m not going to say that you’ll think you’re eating meat when you have this because you won’t.
Instead, this lentil bolognese is delicious in its own right. The sauce is packed with veggies and has lots of flavor. This sauce is incredibly hearty and super satisfying.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, celery, and carrot. Cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and then the tomato paste.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings, and baking soda. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the lentils and water. Simmer until the lentils have softened.
- I’ve never had trouble with the lentils cooking in the recipe as-written. However, some people have reported that pre-cooking the lentils or partially cooking the lentils has worked better for them.
- Since this sauce is so hearty, it’s great served over a sturdy pasta like a rigatoni (whole wheat, extra fiber, or just regular pasta all work).
- You can also serve this sauce over cooked spaghetti squash for a lower-carb dinner.
More Vegetarian Dinner Recipes!
If you’ve tried this lentil bolognese recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- 1 rib celery (finely chopped)
- 3 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 7 cloves garlic (minced)
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2-14.5 ounce cans diced Italian tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons dried sweet basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups red lentils (rinsed and picked over)
- 2 cups water
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
- Add onion, celery, and carrot.
- Cook, stirring as needed, until softened, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomato paste, and cook, stirring it in, for 1 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with juice, basil, oregano, baking soda, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in lentils and water.
- Simmer, stirring regularly, until lentils have softened, about 20-30 minutes.
Originally published 12/27/14. Updated with new photos and tips 12/31/19.