Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is one of those classic dishes that is on a pretty consistent rotation at our house. So in an effort to switch it up, I decided to test out the recipe using lentils instead of ground meat.

Whether you’re vegetarian or just looking to increase plant-based recipes in your repertoire, this one is a winner! 

To be honest you don’t even need to have this with pasta – it’s great on its own like a stew, over roasted broccoli or cauliflower, or with sauteed greens. You could even just swap out the traditional pasta for zucchini noodles instead.

Sometime we steer clear of lentils because of the impression that they take a long time to cook – but these little green ones only need around 25 minutes, which pairs perfectly with the time needed to cook the sauce.


Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings


  • 240 g Green Lentils
  • 1 L Vegetable Broth (or chicken broth if not strict vegetarian)
  • 1 large Onion diced
  • 2 large Carrots diced
  • 3 stalks Celery diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil extra virgin
  • 500 mL Tomato Puree
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 400 g Pasta of choice
  • Parmesan Cheese optional, for garnish
  • Fresh Basil optional, for garnish


  • Put lentils and broth in a medium sized pot, keeping around 80mL (1/3 cup) of the broth aside. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for around 25 minutes.
  • While the lentils are cooking, in a large frying pan over medium heat warm the olive oil. Add in the onions and cook for several minutes until fragrent.
  • Add the carrots, celery, and garlic to the pan with the onions. Cook, covered, until vegetables are soft, stirring occassionally, around 20-25 minutes.
  • When lentils are cooked, drain, then add to the frying pan with the vegetable mixture.
  • Add the tomato puree and remaining broth to the pan and mix well. Reduce heat to low and let cook, covered, stirring often, while preparing the pasta.
  • Cook pasta following package instructions. When draining, save some of the leftover pasta water.
  • If the sauce is too thick for your liking, stir in the pasta water, 30mL at a time until thin enough (generally no more than 120mL otherwise it could become too diluted).
  • Served with fresh, grated parmesan or fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!


This dish would be great with zucchini noodles! If using regular pasta be careful not to go overboard with the serving size as, thanks to the lentils, the sauce is very filling.
Keyword Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
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