Deliciously Rich Lentil Bolognese
I promise you won't miss the meat in this delicious lentil bolognese. By caramelizing the onions, carrots, peppers, and tomato paste the pasta sauce becomes rich and deeply flavored. It's an easy to make and super tasty vegan dinner recipe.
You guys, I'm so excited about today! I've literally been waiting months to share this with you. I can't believe the day is finally here.
There are two things new to my life, and I can no longer live without them:
- This vegan lentil bolognese. Seriously, who would have ever thought? It sounds like some second-rate version of a delicious traditional bolognese. That's what I figured when I started creating the recipe. Honestly, I have some big-time doubts. It turns out, it's the most delicious pasta sauce ever.
- Chickapea Pasta. See that penne the lentil bolognese is sitting on? That is my fav new pasta and it just so happens to be gluten-free and made with only two super HEALTHY ingredients. Crazy, right? What's even more insane is that it is really and truly totally delicious.
Let's face plant straight into a bowl of good for us pasta and come up with giant smiles on our faces.
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This lentil bolognese is out of the world awesome because of one thing: caramelization. Yep, that's it. That's the ticket.
I knew that to make this recipe crazy delicious, I'd have to pull out the big guns. You see, when you make a regular bolognese sauce, all the emphasis is on the meat. Since meat has so much flavor, the other ingredients are there only to back up the beef.
Lentils, on the opposite side of the flavor scale, are basically flavorless. They offer so little in the flavor department that all the other ingredients need to step up and take over.
To really shine, those other ingredients (I'm looking at you, onions, carrots, and bell peppers) need to cook low and slow in a decent amount of healthy oil until all their sweet natural sugars caramelize and the flavor totally pops. If you rush this step, you'll know in the end result.
Once the veggies are super caramelized, we take it one step further and caramelize the tomato paste. This sauce is all about layers of flavor. For one more umami punch, I've added miso to the mix.
While it can be tough to mimic the richness of a traditional meat-based dish, this one nails it.
The other thing that is out of the world amazing: Chickapea Pasta. I've fallen hard, and there's no looking back.
To be totally honest, we eat very little pasta here. It's not that I don't like pasta (I love pasta), it's just that I can't bring myself to serve a bunch of white flour on a daily basis. Now that I'm serving dinner to my little girl, I'm even more conscious about what I bring to the table.
Enter Chickapea Pasta ….
This pasta (which happens to be gluten-free, although that's not why I love it) has changed how I feel about pasta. It's made with only two ingredients, and both are totally healthy: organic red lentils and organic chickpeas.
I don't know how they do it, but they manage to take those two things (and only those two things!) and turn them into some of the best penne, spirals, and shells. It's like magic.
Chickapea pasta is a bit hardier than regular, white-flour pasta. The texture is very similar to whole-wheat pasta. And, like regular pasta (but not like some gluten-free pasta), the flavor is neutral so you can pile on any sauce you like and know that it will go together well.
My biggest fear when I first served this, is that I would love it but my handsome man would hate it. He would eat white flour pasta every night if I didn't beat him to the kitchen to start making dinner first. He even once got up from the dinner table to make himself ‘real' pasta rather than eat the gluten-free stuff I served. ?
When he declared Chickapea Pasta as being, “actually really good” I knew it was a winner.
I've joined up with the Chickapea Team and will be sharing Chickapea Pasta recipes from the other team members on social media. Are we friends on Facebook and Instagram? I hope we are! That's where I'll be sharing links to the other recipes.
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Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes:
- Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
- Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with BBQ Hummus
- Chipotle Mushroom Sloppy Joes
- Curried Vegan Shepherd's Pie with Coconut Sweet Potato Topping
- Coconut Black Lentil Curry
- One Pot Vegan Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Deliciously Rich Lentil Bolognese
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- 2 boxes Chickapea Pasta Spirals or Penne, 1 lb.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely minced
- 2 large carrots, finely minced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon each: sea salt and sugar
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 5.5 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon miso, any color works in this recipe
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- Optional toppings: grated parmesan (vegan or regular), sage leaves, black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, red pepper, sea salt, and sugar to the skillet and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is well caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste to the skillet and let it cook until the tomato paste is caramelized and fragrant, about 3 minutes.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium onion, 2 large carrots, 1 red bell pepper, 1 teaspoon each: sea salt and sugar, 4 large garlic cloves, 5.5 ounce can tomato paste
- Add the miso, lentils, and water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the lentils cook, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until they are soft. Stir the lentils occasionally and add more water if they are looking dry. Stir in the cherry tomatoes.1 tablespoon miso, 1 cup dried brown lentils, 4 cups water, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- While the lentils are cooking, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the Chickapea Pasta and cook until al dente, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and toss with a little olive oil.2 boxes Chickapea Pasta Spirals or Penne
- Serve the penne topped with the lentil bolognese and sprinkled with parmesan and a few sage leaves.Optional toppings: grated parmesan (vegan or regular), sage leaves, black pepper