Lentil Bolognese recipe

In my efforts to eat less red meat I have been looking for a good vegetarian bolognese replacement and after trying out a few different recipes this is my favourite. The green lentils and celery add some texture that has been missing from some other recipes and I now happily have this dish instead of a meat based bolognese. Much better for the planet.

I use this sauce with spaghetti, in lasagne and in this version that has pasta shapes, topped with cheese and red pepper.

Lentil Bolognese
Lentil Bolognese

Ingredients - serves 4. 

  1. One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. 1 onion.
  3. 100g celery.
  4. 200g courgette.
  5. Red pepper - half for the sauce and half for the topping.
  6. 5 mushrooms.
  7. Half a teaspoon of lazy garlic.
  8. Half a teaspoon of lazy chilli.
  9. 125g green lentils.
  10. 400g tin of chopped tomatoes.
  11. 1 tablespoon of pesto.
  12. One tablespoon of tomato puree.
  13. One vegetable stock cube.
  14. Ground black pepper.
  15. Teaspoon of mixed herbs.
  16. 300g of wholegrain pasta shapes.
  17. 150g cheddar cheese - grated.


  1. Turn on the oven to 175 degrees celsius (fan) or equivalent.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  3. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan with the garlic and chilli.
  4. Fry, stirring regularly, for a few minutes until starting to soften.
Fry the onion, garlic and chilli
Fry the onion, garlic and chilli
Add the vegetables
Add the vegetables

5. Chop half of the red pepper, the celery, the courgette and mushrooms.

6. Add to the chopped onion in the pan.

7. Cooked gently for about 5 - 10 minutes.




8. Add the green lentils to the pan and stir well. Cook for a 3 or 4 minutes.

9. Add the tin of tomatoes, mixed herbs, tomato puree, pesto and black pepper. Mix well.

10. Dissolve the stock cube in 400ml of boiling water and add this stock to the pan and again stir well.

11. Cook the sauce until the lentils are soft, probably about 35 - 40 minutes. They should still have a bit of bite. You will probably need to add some more water if the sauce gets too dry.



Add the lentils
Add the lentils
Mix the sauce and pasta
Mix the sauce and pasta

12. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet until just cooked. Don't over cook it!

13. Mix the pasta with the sauce and place into an overproof dish.

14. Top with grated cheese and the other half of the red pepper (sliced).

15. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the cheese has melted and is starting to brown.

Serve with a side salad and enjoy!