I'm a HUGE pasta fan, but since I'm following a plant based diet, pasta can be a little boring sometimes. There's only so many tomato sauce and vegetable combinations you can make, not to mention the lack of protein means my pastas are not as filling. Enter this heart and healthy lentil bolognese recipe. 

I was scrolling through Instagram the other night and came across a picture of spaghetti squash topped with lentils that one of my favorite food bloggers, Tayler McKellop, had posted. The dish she made looked very similar to the traditional beef bolognese. I immediately started brain-storming ways that I could make a meat-free version that was not only hearty and healthy, but also super delicious! After some recipe testing, I came up with this Lentil Bolognese recipe that I think you will love! The caramelization of the onion and the meatiness of the mushrooms give the bolognese sauce a hearty richness. The lentils add nearly 20 grams of protein, making this dish very filling too. It is even better served over pasta or, if you'd like to keep it low-carb, spaghetti squash

Hearty and Healthy Lentil Bolognese Recipe

  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:35 mins
  • Total Time:50 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Medium


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium size carrots
  • 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons pre-made pesto
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • pasta choice
Karly Wilson
  • Step 1

    Finely chop the carrots, onion, and baby portobello mushrooms.

    Karly Wilson
  • Step 2

    Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add in the carrots, onion, mushrooms, and minced garlic and sauté over medium high heat until the vegetables are soft.

    Karly Wilson
  • Step 3

    Add in the tomato paste, stir, and sauté for 3-5 minutes.

    Karly Wilson
  • Step 4

    Add in the lentils, stir, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes until the lentils are toasty.

    Karly Wilson
  • Step 5

    Once the lentils are toasty, add in the vegetable broth, stir, and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and lentils are soft and tender.

    Karly Wilson
  • Step 6

    Once the liquid is absorbed, stir in 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of pesto.

    Karly Wilson
  • Step 7

    Boil a pot of water over medium-high heat and salt it until it tastes like sea water. Once the water is boiling, add in the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve the lentil bolognese over the pasta and enjoy!!

    Karly Wilson

I like to garnish the lentil bolognese with nutritional yeast and dried basil for a little extra cheesy flavor and color. This recipe also makes a great meal prep dish! You can portion it out, and it will easily last you 'till the end of the week. I personally think the lentil bolognese tastes even better after a day or two, once it has marinated in the seasonings. The lentil mixture itself will also freeze well just in case you make a little too much like I did. I hope you try it out and love it as much as I do! I guarantee you won't even miss the meat!