My go-to vegan lentil bolognese

Today I want to share a great recipe, a recipe that I basically make every time I had a busy day and I don’t really want to spend hours and hours in the kitchen, and even less babysitting my food. I have previously posted the even lazier version of this recipe (link below!) but for those of you who don’t have an instant pot, well, here’s the stove top version of my go-to vegan lentil bolognese. Healthy, no fuss & super delicious.

Ingredients to make this vegan lentil bolognese

To make this recipe we are just going to take the ingredients of a traditional bolognese and just replace the meat.

  • Lentils (I usually mix two types: blonde and green)
  • Celery, carrots, onion & garlic
  • Canned tomatoes (with their juice!)
  • White wine (dry)
  • Milk
  • Thyme, bay leaves, nutmeg, salt & pepper
  • Pasta
  • Some parmesan if you want

Questions and some variations

What type of lentils? Can I use some other bean?

I usually go for a mix of blonde and green lentils because I believe they are the most versatile type of lentils and the best for this type of meal. I have never cooked this recipe with any other type of lentil.

When it comes to other beans, I do not think they would work as well mostly because of the texture. Chickpeas are bigger and they will not give you that “saucey” feeling that making this with lentils will. Flavor-wise, it will be very similar so if you don’t mind the texture you are probably going to be OK.

Can I use some “meat” replacement such as beyondmeat or similar?

I have tried making this recipe with beyond meat and YES it works well. The only difference is that you will cook the “meat” right after the onion & garlic, not after all the veggies like we do with the lentils. Flavor wise it will be a hit, and texture wise it will be 100% on point.

Red wine? White wine? Which to choose?

Most bolognese recipes call for white wine if you are going to eat it right away, if you are making this recipe for leftovers or meal prepping, I’d strongly suggest using red wine as it gives an excellent flavor profile. However, this is the general rule of thumb for meat based lasagnas. For vegetarian/vegan ones, lentils do not have a strong punchy flavor (at least nothing similar to what beef does), so I’d say red wine will be better for vegan lasagnas. I tried this recipe several times with both RED and WHITE wine and red wine has always been the better version.

I used white for this one because it’s the only bottle I had at home🙈

Similar recipes to this vegan lentil bolognese

As I have said, this recipe had been featured on tofucado & books but it was the instant pot version. I have made other similar recipes to this one, using lentils as well, here the full list:

Go-to Vegan Lentil Bolognese

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: lentils, pasta sauce, tomatoes
Servings: 4 people


  • 1.5 cups lentils
  • 1 onion Diced
  • 4 garlic cloves Diced
  • 2 Carrots Diced
  • 2 celery sticks Diced
  • 2 cans tomatoes 400 ml each can
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 cups white wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp black pepper
  • 1.5 generous tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 portion pasta per person
  • Parmesan as a topping Optional


  • In a non-stick pot, add the olive oil. When hot, cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes at medium-high heat.
  • Add the carrots & celery, cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and the herbs and cook for a couple of minutes, don't stop stirring.
  • Add the milk and let it evaporate (around 5 minutes).
  • Add the wine and let it evaporate (around 5-8 minutes).
  • Add the tomato cans with the liquid and the bay leaves.
  • Let it simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour (the longer the better!). Add more water if it becomes too thick.
  • When ready, set aside and boil the pasta following package instructions.
  • Serve the pasta in a bowl, add a bit of butter or olive oil, then add one big spoon of the sauce. Mix well. Add some parmesan if you want.
  • Enjoy!

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