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Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese

Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese | slow cooker recipes | vegan pasta sauce | simplywhisked.com

Skip the meat with this budget-friendly, slow cooker lentil bolognese recipe. It’s so easy and you’ll never miss the beef.

One of our goals this year is to make our food more budget-friendly. It’s not that we were spending huge dollar amounts on groceries every month, but we never really kept track of what we were eating and how much we were spending on food. So this year, we decided it would be smart to start tracking it, and as a result, I decided to challenge myself to stay well under our budget.

Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese | slow cooker recipes | vegan pasta sauce | simplywhisked.com

And, guess what. Meat is expensive and beans are cheap. On top of that, beans are also much more environmentally-friendly choice, and that means we are trying to incorporate them into more meals. My secret goal (ok, maybe not so secret now that I’m telling you about it) to have one bean-based meal a week, but it’s not something I’m going to drive myself nuts over.

Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese | slow cooker recipes | vegan pasta sauce | simplywhisked.com

Anyway, this slow cooker lentil bolognese is one of the first new recipes I’ve tried with that goal in mind, and it turned out awesome. Not only that, it also made a ton of food. I’m talking 3 – 4 meals worth. In 4 hours in the slow cooker. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

In order to make it taste a little more like meat, I added some beef bouillon to the pot, but you could totally substitute vegetable bouillon or broth (in place of the water + bouillon) if you want to make this recipe vegetarian/vegan. You could also add one more can of tomatoes, if you want to stretch the recipe a little further (just don’t forget to adjust your seasonings as well).

Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese | slow cooker recipes | vegan pasta sauce | simplywhisked.com

Have you ever used lentils as a meat substitute? If you have, I want to know about it. Leave me a note in the comments below.

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Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese | slow cooker recipes | vegan pasta sauce | simplywhisked.com

Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese


  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: about 5 quarts
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 16-ounce bag dried lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons bouillon powder (about 8 cubes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/21 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. In a large slow cooker, mix together the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Cook on low for 4 – 5 hours, or until lentils have softened and sauce is thick.
  4. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese | slow cooker recipes | vegan pasta sauce | simplywhisked.com

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  • Reply
    8 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes You Can Prep In 5 Minutes Or Less | Caribbean Blogz
    January 27, 2017 at 1:19 am

    […] Put this rich and hearty, totally dairy-free lentil bolognese on when you leave for work and come home to a ready-made delicious dinner (we’d recommend using a quinoa pasta or another whole grain as your base). Get the full recipe here. […]

  • Reply
    8 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes You Can Prep In 5 Minutes Or Less | Your News On Time!
    January 27, 2017 at 2:04 am

    […] Put this rich and hearty, totally dairy-free lentil bolognese on when you leave for work and come home to a ready-made delicious dinner (we’d recommend using a quinoa pasta or another whole grain as your base). Get the full recipe here. […]

  • Reply
    Nicole Desaulnier
    January 28, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    What kind of lentils?

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      January 29, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      I just used regular lentils from my grocery store. That’s all they were labeled. They were brown, so not the French or red ones.

  • Reply
    Rose Watkins
    June 10, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Thank you . I am going to try this weekend. I have created a fabulous lentil soup recipe I will share with you if you like. It was actually requested from a soup fundraiser.

    Thank you again, can’t wait to try.

  • Reply
    Kerry
    July 6, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    I just made lentil/black bean “taco meat” which was fabulous. Place a cup of cooked lentils, 1 can of black beans, some diced tomatoes, and some diced peppers or onions (anything you want to throw in) in a pan with some olive oil. Add in some water or veggie stock to moisten (kind of like you would for ground beef or taco meat) – along with s&p, cumin, chili powder, cayenne and garlic powder.
    I let it get happy for about 10 minutes and then stuffed some lettuce wraps with the lentil mixture and topped with Greek yogurt, cheese, & thinly sliced cucumbers on top! AMAZING

  • Reply
    Charlos
    October 26, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Followed the directions but the lentils were no where near done at 5 hours on low. Turned the crockpot to high an still waiting to see how this turns out.

    • Reply
      Kristen Chandler
      November 15, 2017 at 7:22 am

      Did you soak or boil them beforehand?

      • Reply
        Melissa Belanger
        November 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm

        Nope! You don’t need to soak or boil them before.

    • Reply
      Tom
      December 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Same for me. 5 hours on low. 3 hours on high. Crunchy raw onions and very firm lentils. It was horribly sour and acidic as well.

  • Reply
    Katie
    December 14, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Excited to try this recipe for tonight. I already have all the ingredients so it should be a snap 🙂

  • Reply
    Deb
    February 2, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    The recipe calls for bullion powder or cubes, did you use vegetable, could I use vegetable broth.
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      February 4, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Yes you can definitely use vegetable broth!

  • Reply
    Skye
    March 18, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    This was really easy and delicious. I made a few adjustments to my liking, and had to put on high the last hour. Makes a lots too! So I have just shy of five two cup mason jars in the freezer for future meals.

  • Reply
    Cassandra
    May 16, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Absolutely delicious! I cooked the dish for longer so my lentils were cooked through. My 2 year old and husband love it too!

  • Reply
    32 Meatless Meals for Lent - Simply Whisked
    July 18, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    […] Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese […]

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    November 28, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    This was really delicious! After reading the comments, I did cook it on high from the start, and it took almost 7 hours for the lentils to really cook through. Definitely a great recipe though, and one I look forward to playing with in the future!

  • Reply
    Gina
    March 7, 2019 at 6:43 am

    I was so excited about this recipe, but like others found that the lentils did not cook through. I started the crockpot on high for 3 hours, then turned it to low for an additional 5 hours. By the end the lentils were still undercooked, which is a big surprise since they cook so well on the stovetop in under an hour. There were also too many lentils in the recipe. I think next time I am going to half the amount of lentils so that they actually cook and I can get more of the sauce. On the plus side, the flavors of the sauce are really good. I wish I could have appreciated it. We ended up using a jarred sauce with the spaghetti for dinner because the lentils were inedible. I am going to try to fix it today so I don’t waste all that food.

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