Vegan Lentil Bolognese – Beef free bliss!
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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!
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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 (as are all our favorite vegan mediterranean recipes)!
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!
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!
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 (btw, we’ve made sure all these vegetarian pasta bakes are healthier than their meat alternatives too!).
Here’s a table comparing 100g beef to 100g lentils, so you can see the benefits for yourself!
|100g beef, source: Healthline||100g cooked lentils, source: |
Medical News Today
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!
- 5 oz wholewheat pasta
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ small white onion
- 2 clove garlic (minced)
- ¼ cup basil, fresh (packed and chopped)
- 1 tsp oregano, dried
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup brown lentils, cooked (red lentils also work well)
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp walnuts (chopped)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan altarnative)
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.5 oz wholewheat pasta
- Add the onion, garlic, and optional 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.1 tsp olive oil
- Add the oregano and chopped basil leaves, cook until the fragrance of the herbs comes out (about 1 minute). Add the tomato paste , can of diced tomato, lentils, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf and water. Mix and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking at the bottom of the pan.¼ cup basil, fresh, 1 tsp oregano, dried, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 can tomatoes, diced, 1 cup brown lentils, cooked, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 bay leaf, ¼ cup water
- Season bolognese sauce with salt to taste and sugar. Mix and taste. Add more salt if necessary.Salt to taste, 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 nutritional yeast or vegetarian parmesan and basil leaves.1 tbsp nutritional yeast