Almost every Western culture seems to have a version of spaghetti bolognaise that is a regular on the home menu. It is quick and easy to make and tastes delicious! Bolognaise is also a base for other dishes like moussaka and lasagne .... and if you have kids in the family you are no doubt familiar with the odd Sloppy Joe.
But not everyone likes to eat lots of red meat. And even those that do need to vary up their diets to increase their fibre intake if they are going to avoid having uncomfortable gut issues. A lentil bolognaise is the perfect way to do that. You get to keep all your regular tomato mince and bolognaise-type dishes but with a significant amount of fibre and a completely different nutritional profile.
What's the difference between lentil and meat bolognaise?
Despite the change in the main ingredient, from a cooking perspective, lentil bolognaise is not very different to normal mince bolognaise and it tastes just as good! Your big difference is the absence of the natural saltiness and fat/oil of the meat. If you need to reduce your salt and fat intake then this is great, if not then a lentil bolognaise recipe usually calls for more salt and oil than a meat bolognaise.
We like to use a mixture of whole brown lentils and split red lentils because they cook differently and have different textures. Your red lentils will give more saucy texture and the brown lentils hold their shape for more chewy texture.
How to make a lentil bolognaise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ cup red wine(120 mL)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 fresh tomatoes, cubed or 2 cans diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste(55 g)
- 2 cups vegetable broth (Substitute with stock cube if broth not available)
- 3/4 cup dried brown lentil(200 g)
- 3/4 cup split red lentils
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup fresh parsley(10 g), chopped, for garnish
- Nutritional yeast flakes, for garnish (use cheese for a full dairy option)
Optional extras that add some delicious punch to your bolognaise, that we LOVE:
- Heat the olive oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the carrots, celery, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms have cooked down and are turning golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the wine and tomatoes and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and stir to combine, then add tomato paste, broth/stock, lentils, basil, oregano, rosemary, and baking soda. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes, until the bolognese is thickened.
- Serve the bolognese over the pasta, or, for a lighter option, use zucchini noodles.
- Garnish with parsley and nutritional yeast flakes or cheese.
We use this recipe to make lentil lasagne and moussaka.