Suppose you are looking for a healthy and meat-free alternative to your next bolognese recipe. In that case, you need to give this vegan red lentil bolognese a try.
It’s packed with so much flavor, low in calories (room for more spaghetti), budget-friendly and is very straightforward to make. It’s perfect for batch cooking or meal prep because lentils are one of those ingredients that reheat so well.
What is vegan red lentil bolognese?
Red lentil bolognese is simply a vegetarian and vegan substitute for bolognese sauce.
Red lentils are a fantastic ingredient that you can purchase in bulk and keep stored in your pantry all year long.
You only need to buy the fresh ingredients to make this red lentil bolognese, which is exceptionally budget-friendly.
This recipe is family-friendly and perfect for meal prep because you can easily divide this into plenty of portions that freezes well and stays fresh in the fridge for the week ahead.
Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 celery sticks finely chopped
- 2 carrots finely chopped
- 200 g red lentils
- 800 g chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp mixed herb seasoning see notes
- 2 tbsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- Soak the dried red lentils in hot water as this will speed up the cooking time, and they will taste better. I usually do this overnight, but you can let it soak for a few hours. If you do not have time or forgot to soak, then ensure you at least rinse the lentils in water before-hand.
- In your large saucepan, add olive oil and ensure it is on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until it feels soft and fragrant.
- Add the red lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, mixed herb seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir combine and add water before stirring again to simmer for a few minutes.
- Serve with spaghetti or your preferred side dish. When serving this fresh, top up with red chili flakes.
- For meal prep purposes, refrigerate up to 4 days and reheat in the microwave until piping hot.
- You can freeze this vegan bolognese for up to 6 months.
- Soak the lentils before cooking for the best results.
- Mixed Herbs = 1 tsp each of dried thyme, dried oregano & dried basil
- The nutritional value below reflects the lentil bolognese only (does not include spaghetti but for the meal prep in my photo, the macros were: 405 calories (68.2g carbs, 16.5g protein, 6.2g fat)
Data source: USDA
Frequently asked questions
How many calories are in a red lentil bolognese?
If you count only the red lentil bolognese sauce for this recipe, each serving is around 181 calories (kcal). This is very light which means you can control the portion of the pasta or spaghetti accordingly.
How to make this recipe low-Carb?
I made this with spaghetti and the macros were: 405 calories (68.2g carbs, 16.5g protein, 6.2g fat). Depending on your diet, this may be too high in carbohydrates, but you can dramatically reduce this by combining the bolognese with zucchini noodles or just reducing the grams of spaghetti.
Can you freeze red lentil bolognese?
Yes, it will freeze well up to 6 months which is perfect for batch cooking or meal prep. Allow thawing overnight in the refrigerator or keep it at room temperature during the day. If you are following a plant-based diet, this habit can help you save time because it freezes so well and tastes just as good when reheated.
Love this vegan red lentil bolognese recipe? Why not try these!
- Vegan Butter Tofu Curry Recipe
- Low-Carb Pav Bhaji
- Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry Recipe
- Quick Chana Masala Recipe
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