Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese | Lentil Ragu Recipe

Suppose you are looking for a healthy and meat-free alternative to your next bolognese recipe. In that case, you need to give this vegan red lentil bolognese a try.

It’s packed with so much flavor, low in calories (room for more spaghetti), budget-friendly and is very straightforward to make. It’s perfect for batch cooking or meal prep because lentils are one of those ingredients that reheat so well.

What is vegan red lentil bolognese?

Red lentil bolognese is simply a vegetarian and vegan substitute for bolognese sauce.

Red lentils are a fantastic ingredient that you can purchase in bulk and keep stored in your pantry all year long.

You only need to buy the fresh ingredients to make this red lentil bolognese, which is exceptionally budget-friendly.

This recipe is family-friendly and perfect for meal prep because you can easily divide this into plenty of portions that freezes well and stays fresh in the fridge for the week ahead.

Recipe ingredients

  • Dried Red Lentils: This recipe’s primary source of protein will come from the lentils, a delicious ingredient packed with nutrients. Here I used red lentils; however, you can use any type. Just ensure you give them a rinse and allow them to soak in water for a while. The main benefit of using lentils is that you can often buy these in bulk which is inexpensive and very healthy. There are plenty of fantastic lentil recipes, and here is an example of how it can be used for a vegan bolognese.
  • Celery Sticks & Carrots: Finely chopped celery sticks and carrots are traditionally used in a bolognese. They certainly are a crucial addition to this vegan bolognese because of the flavor and crunchiness. You can also use these to make a red lentil soup.
  • Chopped Tomatoes: I use chopped tomatoes from two cans, which saves time, and I also include 2 teaspoons of tomato purée.
  • Red Chili Powder: Without any chilies, this recipe will be very bland and the tomatoes will be overpowering. The solution is red chili powder! Or if you want it mild, add in green chilies or paprika. I would start off with two teaspoons of red chili powder which is enough to keep it balanced.
  • Mixed Herb Seasoning: You can just add 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, dried oregano, and dried basil for this recipe, which would be enough, but I use a mixed herb blend at home which is essentially all the major herbs combined.

How to make a Vegan Red Lentil bolognese?

Vegan bolognese is a simple dish to cook because it can be done in one-pan or an instant pot, which you can cover to cook in low heat for the most part. You can follow the same process below can cook it in a slow cooker or instant pot, which is more convenient.

As a result, you can enjoy cooking this recipe for your meal prep because it is easy for portion control. You can leave this running in the background while cooking another meal.

Demonstration of celery, carrots and onions cooking in a pan
  • Step one: This step involves cooking the onions, garlic, celery and carrots which takes around 15 minutes.
Demonstration of red lentils and spices in a pan
  • Step two: Add the red lentils, spices and herbs.
Demonstration of adding chopped tomatoes to the pan
  • Step three: Now it is time for the fun part. Simply add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. You can cover and leave it cooking on low heat which is why it is also a good slow cooker recipe for lentil bolognese. Before you sit down, it would be a good time to cook the spaghetti in the background to time it perfectly.
Demonstration of end result
  • Step four: Remove from cover and stir to combine. It will be ready to serve, or you can make it for meal prep for the week ahead.

Frequently asked questions

How many calories are in a red lentil bolognese?

If you count only the red lentil bolognese sauce for this recipe, each serving is around 181 calories (kcal). This is very light which means you can control the portion of the pasta or spaghetti accordingly.

How to make this recipe low-Carb?

I made this with spaghetti and the macros were: 405 calories (68.2g carbs, 16.5g protein, 6.2g fat). Depending on your diet, this may be too high in carbohydrates, but you can dramatically reduce this by combining the bolognese with zucchini noodles or just reducing the grams of spaghetti.

Why su003cstrongu003eoak the lentilsu003c/strongu003e?

I make it a habit to soak the lentils overnight or at least in the morning before cooking a lentil recipe because u003ca href=u0022https://www.drmonavand.com/blog/2017/10/12/soaking-lentilsu0022u003eit is so much better for digestion and I find it cooks faster too.u003c/au003e

Can you freeze red lentil bolognese?

Yes, it will freeze well up to 6 months which is perfect for batch cooking or meal prep. Allow thawing overnight in the refrigerator or keep it at room temperature during the day. If you are following a plant-based diet, this habit can help you save time because it freezes so well and tastes just as good when reheated.

Can you reheat red lentil bolognese?

This does last up to 4 days in the fridge, and you can freeze the lentil bolognese for up to 6 months (but do it without the spaghetti). For more information about reheating lentils and the best method, u003ca href=u0022https://spicymealprep.com/how-to-reheat-lentils/u0022u003eread this guideu003c/au003e. This is a versatile dish because you can serve it for a family on a night and eat it fresh. If you are going to meal prep this vegan bolognese, you can either mix it with the spaghetti or keep it separately layered.

Love this vegan red lentil bolognese recipe? Why not try these!

Bowl of red lentil bolognese

Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese Recipe

Suppose you are looking for a healthy and meat-free alternative to your next bolognese recipe. In that case, you need to give this vegan red lentil bolognese a try.
It's packed with so much flavor, low in calories (room for more spaghetti), budget-friendly and is very straightforward to make. It's perfect for batch cooking or meal prep.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 181 kcal


  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Celery Sticks finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 200 g red lentils
  • 800 g Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp mixed herb seasoning see notes
  • 2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes


Prepare Lentils

  • Soak the dried red lentils in hot water as this will speed up the cooking time, and they will taste better. I usually do this overnight, but you can let it soak for a few hours. If you do not have time or forgot to soak, then ensure you at least rinse the lentils in water before-hand.


  • In your large saucepan, add olive oil and ensure it is on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until it feels soft and fragrant.
  • Add the red lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, mixed herb seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir combine and add water before stirring again to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Cover pan on low heat for 25-30 minutes. Feel free to add more water if you feel the bolognese is thickening up too much.
  • Serve with spaghetti or your preferred side dish. When serving this fresh, top up with red chili flakes.


  • For meal prep purposes, refrigerate up to 4 days and reheat in the microwave until piping hot.
  • You can freeze this vegan bolognese for up to 6 months.
  • Soak the lentils before cooking for the best results.
  • Mixed Herbs = 1 tsp each of dried thyme, dried oregano & dried basil
  • The nutritional value below reflects the lentil bolognese only (does not include spaghetti but for the meal prep in my photo, the macros were: 405 calories (68.2g carbs, 16.5g protein, 6.2g fat)


Serving: 1servingCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 22.2gProtein: 10gFat: 5.3gSodium: 1448.6mgFiber: 8.1gSugar: 10.4g
Keyword Lentil Bolognese, Red Lentil Bolognese, Vegan Bolognese, Vegan Bolognese Red Lentils
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Leftover vegan bolognese in meal prep containers

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating