Pasta With Lentil Bolognese

This is a really hearty pasta dish that uses lentils in place of meat and is a great option for “meatless Monday”. I learned to love lentils after living in Umbria, and prefer to use the small beige or green lentils in my kitchen. Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse, and are high in fiber, are an excellent source of six important minerals, two B vitamins, and protein. Best of all they are fat free!

This sauce has a deep, rich flavor, and when tossed with pasta will please everyone in the family and no one will even miss the meat. Simply add a mixed green salad and a loaf of crusty Italian bread to create a complete meal.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Pasta With Lentil Bolognese

Pasta With Lentil Bolognese

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Carrot
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 (16 Ounce) Cans Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1 1/3 Cups Small Green Or Beige Lentils
  • 1 Pound Pasta of Choice

To Serve:

  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
  2. Cook over medium low heat until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and wine and increase the heat to medium high.
  4. Cook, stirring often until the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano. water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the lentils.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the lentils used.
  8. If the sauce begins to dry out, add additional water as needed.
  9. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain.
  10. Toss the pasta with the sauce then serve immediately, offering grated cheese at the table.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I absolutely agree with you about the Casteluccio lentils! When I had them for lunch in Norcia I was hooked! Impossible to find here so have to bring them home from Italy! We try and have at least 2 or more meatless meals a week. The texture of the sauce is quite “meaty” and rich! Yum…can hardly wait!

  2. Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.

  3. This was a super delicious recipe! I made it once with a bunch of small substitutions (salsa for the tomato paste, about 1/3 cup oranges lentils with the rest green, bay leaf and oregano are the herbs I had handy, and Meyer lemon juice with water for the vinegar) and it was still excellent!

    I’m an at home mom of 2 with one on the way and always looking for easy meals the whole family loves that can stretch longer than 1 night and this is definitely a winner! Highly recommended!

    I’m making this again tonight. Only subbing the lemon juice and herbs this time and REALLY looking forward to it!

    Don’t miss this recipe!

  4. Thanks Deborah, I just found your lovely blog and made this sauce this weekend. There is hardly any difference between this and regular bologonaise sauce – genius!

  5. Thanks for your beautiful blog. I made this on the weekend – we could hardly tell that there was no meat in the recipe. You have inspired me to cook more Italian food.

  6. I’m so pleasently surprised! this sause is truly a delicious and innovative way to eat lentils and we didn’t miss the meat! I didn’t add the zuccini or mushrooms but will definitely add them both next time . Delicious! Simple! kid friendly! will be making this again!

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