This simple vegan lentil bolognese recipe comes together in 20 minutes and is perfect for a weeknight dinner. It is full of flavor and packed with plant-based protein. I also love making this lentil bolognese for meal prep – it is simple to store, reheat and you can even freeze it!
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What You Need To Make This Vegan Lentil Bolognese Pasta Sauce
To make this lentil bolognese, you will need:
- split lentils: I love using split lentils for this recipe because I really like the texture once cooked. You could also use split mung beans or chickpeas, for example. You want to make sure to soak the lentils overnight to make them easier to digest. Plus, they also won’t take as long to cook.
- eggplant: To add some different textures to this bolognese and also up the vegetables. You could also use bell peppers or zucchini instead, if you don’t like eggplant.
- tomato paste: I love cooking with tomato paste as it adds so much flavor to the dish! I like to add it a few minutes after the onion and garlic along with any other spices I want to add, fry a little for extra flavor and then deglaze with water.
- canned tomatoes: You can use diced or pureed.
- vegetable broth
- paprika powder: Use smoked paprika powder for extra smoky-ness.
- frozen or dried herbs: This adds some nice green highlights to the sauce and also even more flavor.
How To Make This Vegan Lentil Bolognese
Actually, this is step 0. But it is so crucial for this recipe! Start by soaking the split lentils overnight. I like to use a large saucepan, cover the lentil with enough water so that they can soak and expand, and put the lid on.
Pro tip: Make double or triple of this recipe, so you only need to soak a large batch of the lentils once. This vegan lentil bolognese is perfect for freezing!
Start by finely dicing the onion and mincing the garlic. Cut the eggplant into small cubes. Add onion and garlic to a large pan or saucepan and fry for a couple of minutes.
Next, add the tomato puree and paprika powder. Give it a good mix and slightly reduce the heat. After 2-3 minutes, add the diced eggplant and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Then deglaze with a little bit of water.
Drain the soaked lentils and add to the pan, together with the canned tomatoes and vegetable broth. Cook for 15 minutes until the lentils are soft.
Finally, add some dried or frozen herbs. I love adding frozen basil and oregano. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta or store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
How To Serve This Lentil Bolognese?
Of course, the obvious way is to serve this lentil bolognese with a serving of your favorite pasta. I love using whole grain fussili or penne. Get creative with the toppings, like adding some walnuts ors hemp seed hearts or maybe some fresh baby spinach.
Alternatively, you can use this lentil bolognese to make vegan lasagna. You might want to add some more water to the sauce if it is too thick. I also love making this recipe for potato nachos and serve with fresh tomatoes and vegan cheese sauce.
How To Store This Vegan Lentil Bolognese?
I recommend to store this pasta sauce in an airtight container or meal prep container. It stores well in the fridge for 4-5 days. If you want to store it for longer, you can freeze it. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before you put it in the freezer.
More Ideas For Vegan Dinner Recipes
Here are more ideas for vegan dinners that are easy to make and great if you are short on time!
Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika powder
- 1 eggplant
- 2 cups pureed/crushed tomatoes ~400g
- 1 cup vegetable broth ~250ml
- 1 cup split lentils soaked overnight (~200g)
- 1 tbsp frozen or dried herbs
- salt and pepper
- Soak the split lentils overnight (or at least 8 hours).
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cut the eggplant into small cubes.
- To a large pan or saucepan on high heat, add the onion and garlic. Fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and paprika powder and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Add water if necessary to prevent burning.
- Add the eggplant and fry 1-2 minutes more, then deglaze with a little bit of water.
- Add the drained soaked lentils, canned tomatoes and vegetable broth. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add frozen/dried herbs and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately or store in the fridge for 4-5 days.