This vegan Lentil Bolognese makes a great weeknight or Sunday dinner. Switching in lentils as the protein in the bolognese makes the sauce vegan yet still hearty. Spaghetti squash substitutes for regular spaghetti to keep the dish whole foods based.
I'll be honest, although I'm a pasta freak (you know I love my vegan Mac & Cheese and my Lemon One Pot Pasta), I'm surprised that I even thought to make a vegan bolognese because I never tried a regular bolognese before going veg.
I've seen some vegan versions of bolognese on Pinterest using meatless crumbles as the meat substitute and thought I might try it that way but I love lentils so much that I figured I'd switch things up a bit and use beans.
I really liked the way the lentils worked with the sauce, plus the beans add a nice serving of protein, fiber, potassium (lacking in most people's diets), B-6, and iron.
In case you were wondering, my Lentil Bolognese isn't one of those vegan recipes that you can give to an omnivore where they *might* think it's the original version (you can definitely tell it is lentils) but I don't think anyone would mind because it tastes so good!
Nutritionally, lentils contain lots of iron, potassium, and vitamin B6. They're also a great source of protein for us plant-based folk. Just 1 cup of lentils will give us about 18g of protein. Tell that to the people who ask, "where do you get your protein?".
Beans are also a great source of fiber (about 15g/cup). Lentils have been shown to aid in weight loss, improve/maintain heart health, and combat blood sugar fluctuations that can lead to lowered energy and Type 2 Diabetes. These impressive beans can improve digestive health too.
If you want some more plant-based protein, try adding some of my tempeh crumbles too!
Spaghetti Squash - The Healthy Spaghetti
I was going to throw the Lentil Bolognese on some spaghetti because that's how I've usually seen the dish served at restaurants but I try not to go overboard with pasta too often (no matter how much I love it).
By using spaghetti squash the meal is fully whole food based which is always a plus in my book.
If you're not into spaghetti squash, feel free to use regular spaghetti or any other kind of pasta. I think this would also be a great topping for a baked potato.
Meal Prep Tip: Bake the spaghetti squash the weekend before you make this meal so it's even quicker!
If you make this Lentil Bolognese recipe, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below.
Lentil Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 cup lentils
- 3 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 carrots grated
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vegan worcheshire sauce (optional but tasty)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley
- Vegan Parmesan
For the Spaghetti Squash
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut spaghetti squash in half (not lengthwise) so you have basically 2 cup shapes and cut out the seeds.
- Place the halves cut-side down in a roasting pan..
- Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until you can easily pierce a fork through the flesh all the way to the peel.
- Gently pull out strands of squash so they resemble spaghetti.
For the Sauce:
- While the spaghetti squash is baking, add 1 cup of lentils to a pot with 3 cups of water. Cook until lentils are tender (about 15-20 mins). Drain lentils and discard any extra water left in the pot.
- Heat oil, onion, garlic in large pan/pot for 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, paprika, apple cider vinegar, vegan worcheshire sauce, salt & pepper and cook for about 10 mins.
- Add lentils and cook 5 more minutes or until carrots are fully tender.
- Add spaghetti squash to bowls, top with lentil bolognese, parsley and some Vegan Parmesan
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel confident in creating sustainable habits that align with their values and health goals. She shares easy gluten-free plant-powered food to nourish your body + satisfy your tastebuds. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition info have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.