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Lentil Bolognese

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


This simple, lentil bolognese is hearty, comforting and full of flavor – everything a pasta sauce should be. This easy recipe can be made in one pot on the stove or in a crockpot. Serve it over spaghetti – or even spaghetti squash for a healthy alternative.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/21 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 8 ounces dried lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt


Stovetop instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high.
  2. Add onion, celery, carrots with a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables have softened – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and cover the skillet. Bring to liquid to a strong simmer and allow the lentils to cook until softened, about 30 minutes.
  5. If needed, add additional water to thin sauce and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper before serving.

Slow cooker instructions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker, mix together until combined.
  2. Cook on low for 4 – 5 hours, or until lentils have softened and sauce is thick.
  3. Add water to thin out sauce if necessary, and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.

Keywords: dairy free, vegan, gluten free, vegetarain, easy, pasta sauce, pasta, lentils