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Vegan Lentil Bolognese – Beef free bliss!

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Vegan lentil bolognese served in a bowl with cheese, and a jar of basil at the top of the image. | Hurry The Food Up

We’ve got a delicious vegan lentil bolognese recipe for you today! Spaghetti bolognese (or spag bol as we Brits like to call it!) is an all time favourite, a nostalgic dish that reminds me of school night dinners as a kid.

This lentil spaghetti bolognese is a healthier, meat and dairy-free version of the classic pasta recipe, for those of you looking to transition to a more plant-based diet!

The ingredients for the lentil bolognese are laid out including tomato, spaghetti, carrots and walnut. | Hurry The Food Up

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Why is our lentil bolognese better than beef?

Our vegan lentil bolognese recipe might not be entirely true to the Italian classic, but it is certainly healthier!

Following in the footsteps of previous recipes like our bean and pasta casserole, we have designed a healthy pasta sauce recipe that swaps out ingredients like meat and butter for lighter alternatives like lentils and a little olive oil.

Let’s look more closely at some of the swaps in this vegan spaghetti bolognese!

Carrots, celery, garlic and onion chopped up and in a blender, ready to be blended for lentil bolognese. | Hurry The Food Up

Better than butter: olive oil!

Instead of butter, our vegan bolognese uses olive oil. Butter contains saturated fat, the unhealthy kind that raises cholesterol. However, olive oil contains mainly unsaturated fat, the healthy kind, which actively lowers cholesterol. Healthy swap number 1, TICK!

A birds eye view of a bowl of vegan lentil bolognese sprinkled with vegan cheese and basil leaves. | Hurry The Food Up
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Why meat gets the chop!

The biggest swap we have to make is meat, of course – we are a vegetarian blog after all! Traditional bolognese uses red meat, usually beef, but we have opted for lentils, in order to make sure this is a healthy vegetarian pasta recipe.

Here’s a table comparing 100g beef to 100g lentils, so you can see the benefits for yourself!

100g beef, source: Healthline100g cooked lentils, source:
Medical News Today
Calories217kcal116kcal
Fat11.8g0.38g
Fibre0g7.9g
Protein26g9.02g

Sure, beef does outstrip lentils on protein content, but in every other area, lentils outrun beef every time! 0.38g fat instead of 11.8g fat? I’ll take a lentil bolognese every time!

If you are looking for this healthy vegetarian recipe as part of an effort to lose weight as a vegetarian, you should also check out our vegetarian weight loss meal plans! There’s a lot more where this comes from!

A birds eye view of a bowl of vegan lentil bolognese and a jar with sprigs of basil in it. | Hurry The Food Up
Vegan Lentil Bolognese
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Love a good bolognese but trying to eat less meat? Try our healthy, plant-based lentil bolognese – you’ll never look back!
Cuisine:Italian
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Servings:2 servings
Calories:582kcal
Author: Abril Macías

Ingredients

  • 5 oz whole grain spaghetti
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small white onion
  • 2 clove garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup basil leaves (packed and chopped)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can tomato, diced
  • 1 cup red or brown lentils (cooked or canned and drained)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp walnuts (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian parmesan or nutritional yeast

Optional

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery

Instructions

  • Prepare a pot of salted boiling water for the pasta.
  • Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot cut into rough chunks and to the food processor. Pulse until the veggies are minced very finely.
    ½ small white onion, 2 clove garlic, 1 celery, 1 carrot
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat add the olive oil, the minced veggies. Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are translucent, have reduced, and browned lightly. Add the oregano and chopped basil leaves, cook until the fragrance of the herbs comes out (about 1 minute). Add the tomato puree, can of diced tomato, lentils, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf and 1 cup of water. Mix and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking at the bottom of the pan.
    ½ tbsp olive oil, ¼ cup basil leaves, 1 tsp oregano, 1 can tomato, diced, 1 cup red or brown lentils, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 bay leaf, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Meanwhile, add the pasta to the salted boiling water pot and cook until al dente (8 minutes approx). Drain pasta.
    5 oz whole grain spaghetti
  • Season bolognese sauce with ½ tsp of salt and 1 tsp sugar. Mix and taste. Add more salt if necessary.
    ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar
  • Put the saucepan over medium heat and add walnuts and pasta. Cook and mix everything together until fully incorporated (2-4 minutes). The bolognese sauce should stick to the pasta (shouldn’t be liquidy) and have a nice consistency.
    2 tbsp walnuts
  • Serve lentil bolognese spaghetti and top with some vegetarian parmesan or nutritional yeast and basil leaves.
    1 tbsp vegetarian parmesan or nutritional yeast

NOTES

After more healthy pasta recipes?
One pot wonder Bean and Pasta Veggie Casserole
Super Spicy Pasta Arrabbiata
We’re nutty for our Peanut Pasta Salad
Green n Creamy Avocado Spaghetti
Perfect Purple Beetroot and Feta Pasta

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Lentil Bolognese
Amount per Serving
Calories
582
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
13
g
20
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Cholesterol
 
2
mg
1
%
Sodium
 
1451
mg
63
%
Potassium
 
1432
mg
41
%
Carbohydrates
 
100
g
33
%
Fiber
 
15
g
63
%
Sugar
 
17
g
19
%
Protein
 
27
g
54
%
Vitamin A
 
5876
IU
118
%
Vitamin C
 
27
mg
33
%
Calcium
 
214
mg
21
%
Iron
 
10
mg
56
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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