Pasta Lentil Bolognese

Bolognese sauce is a rich ragu that simmers for hours, coaxing flavor from aromatic vegetables. Our plant-based lentil bolognese honors its roots with steady (thankfully quicker!) preparation that persuades sweet notes from caramelized vegetables.

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Jennifer Garner

Madison, Wisconsin
“I love lentils these days and had never thought of using them in a pasta sauce. But I actually took the recipe and made it vegan and gluten-free by substituting rice milk for the low-fat milk and brown rice noodles in lieu of the whole-wheat pasta. The swaps were easy and didn’t really affect the flavor, but they did make the recipe even healthier for someone following a more stringent dietary plan. It’s a new vegan winner in my book!”

Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
70 min


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small (1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced small (1 cup)
  • 2 small celery stalks, diced small (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, diced small (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups jarred or tetra-packed no-salt-added chopped or crushed tomatoes with juices (about 28 oz)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 8 oz wide whole-wheat pasta noodles such as linguine, fettucini, tagliatelle or rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper


  1. In a large Dutch oven or saucepot, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery, fennel and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until released water evaporates and brown bits begin to form on bottom of pot, about 15 minutes. Add vinegar and scrape any brown bits from bottom of pot as liquid evaporates. Stir in broth, 1 cup water, lentils, tomatoes, oregano, parsley and basil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
  3. Add milk to Bolognese and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta among 4 bowls and top each with about 1 1/2 cups Bolognese.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 4 oz pasta, 1 1/2 c lentil bolognese
  • Calories 337
  • Carbohydrate Content 68 g
  • Cholesterol Content 1 mg
  • Fat Content 4 g
  • Fiber Content 15 g
  • Protein Content 13 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 1 g
  • Sodium Content 484 mg
  • Sugar Content 8 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 0 g