Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese- red lentils and walnuts make for a hearty sauce that’s packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes!

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese- red lentils and walnuts make for a hearty sauce that's packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes!

I’ve been meal planning for so long that it feels like my religion at this point. I do it once per week, every week so that we can avoid multiple trips to the store. Not just because of recent events. This is something I’ve done for over a decade. Call me crazy but I’m a food blogger that hates going grocery shopping.

One thing that I find makes meal planning so much easier is having designated nights for certain meals. For example:

  • Spaghetti Monday
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Pizza Wednesday
  • Salad Thursday
  • Burger Friday, etc.

I realize that doesn’t sound like the healthiest lineup of meals but when you cook plant-based versions made with whole foods, all of those options can be really nutritious! Like this red lentil bolognese. It’s become my go-to for spaghetti night. A combination of red lentils and walnuts makes for a hearty sauce that’s packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Plus you can easily serve it with zucchini noodles for a lighter option!

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese- red lentils and walnuts makes for a hearty sauce that's packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes! #glutenfree #plantbased

Simple Ingredients

What I love about this vegan bolognese is that it’s made almost entirely from pantry ingredients!

  • Onion and Garlic- These are the only two produce items you’ll need.
  • Red Lentils- I prefer to use red lentils for this recipe because they cook quickly and lose their shape a bit easier than green lentils which makes for the perfect texture.
  • Diced or Crushed Tomatoes- Depending on whether or not you prefer a chunky texture, either diced or crushed tomatoes will work. You’ll pour them in the pot along with their juices.
  • Tomato Paste- This is a must for rich and robust tomato flavor.
  • Dried Herbs- Dried basil and oregano are my go-to for spaghetti sauce but feel free to use whatever herbs you like!
  • Walnuts- Finely chopped walnuts add texture and heartiness to the sauce while also providing a boost of protein and healthy fats.

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese- red lentils and walnuts makes for a hearty sauce that's packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes! #glutenfree #plantbased

Made In Just One Pot

Here’s how easy this red lentil bolognese is to make:

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil.
  2. Add the diced/crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt/pepper and dried herbs.
  3. Pour in the broth and red lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender.
  4. Stir in finely chopped walnuts.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese- red lentils and walnuts makes for a hearty sauce that's packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes! #glutenfree #plantbased

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese- red lentils and walnuts makes for a hearty sauce that's packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes! #glutenfree #plantbased

Possible Variations

  1. Make it Nut-free: Omit the walnuts or substitute finely chopped sunflower seeds. I recommend using a food processor for the best texture.
  2. Lighten it Up: Serve with spiralized zucchini noodles for a lower carb option.
  3. Add More Vegetables: Finely chopped bell pepper, carrots or mushrooms would all make great additions.

Looking for more vegan pasta recipes?

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese- red lentils and walnuts makes for a hearty sauce that's packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes! #glutenfree #plantbased

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese

Red lentils and walnuts make for a hearty sauce that's packed full of protein, iron and heart healthy omega-3s. Comes together in just 30 minutes!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 30 ounces diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt & pepper
  • ½ cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • ½ cup vegetable broth , or water
  • ½ cup walnuts , finely chopped

Instructions

  • In a large pot or skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, until translucent. Next add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • To the pot, pour in the tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, herbs, salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Add the lentils and broth then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are tender and broth has absorbed.
  • Lastly, stir in the walnuts and cook until heated through. Serve warm with cooked pasta and enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition Facts are for bolognese sauce only and do not include whatever pasta you choose to serve it with. 

Nutrition

Calories: 222kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 253mg, Potassium: 724mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 438IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 90mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment below or sharing a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #makingthymeforhealth. I love hearing your feedback!