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close-up of vegan lentil bolognese sauce over spaghetti

Vegan Bolognese

This Vegan Bolognese is a hearty and flavorful dish that’s easy to toss together. Made with your run of the mill pantry items, this savory sauce is composed of simple ingredients. A dinner dish bursting with flavor and chock-full of vegetables, for one very satisfying meal.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 medium (52 g) stalk celery finely diced (1/2 cup)
  • 10 oz fresh (280 g) mushrooms finely diced (or 1 oz dried)
  • 2 medium (200 g) carrots finely grated
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced or crushed
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning or use 1 tsp each of dried oregano and basil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes or to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) red wine or use more vegetable broth
  • 3 cups (750 g) crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce or tomato sauce
  • 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (200 g) dry lentils I used brown, soaked
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce gluten-free if needed or tamari
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 8 oz (225 g) spaghetti gluten-free if needed or pasta of choice
  • Vegan parmesan or nutritonal yeast to garnish (optional)


  • I recommend soaking the lentils in lukewarm water if you are using green or brown lentils. This step is optional, however, the lentils cook faster and are furthermore better digested when soaked. You can skip this step if using red lentils.
  • Heat oil in a pan or pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, mushrooms, and carrots. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic, sweetener, and all spices. Sauté for a further one minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add red wine (or vegetable broth), crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, the bay leaf, and the drained lentils. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender (depending on the variety it can take shorter or longer).
  • Meanwhile, cook your favorite pasta (e.g. spaghetti) as per package instructions.
  • Add soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Mix the plant-based milk and cornstarch in a small bowl and add the mixture to the pan.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more salt/pepper/spices to taste. Also, add more vegetable broth if needed.
  • Serve the lentil bolognese in bowls over pasta and sprinkle vegan Parmesan on top (optional). Enjoy! Store bolognese sauce leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


  • Use your favorite pasta - Feel free to use any pasta of choice, regular, gluten-free, or even grain-free pasta. Besides pasta, you can also use gnocchi. Check out my gluten-free vegan gnocchi recipe.
  • Lentil alternative - You can use textured soy protein instead of lentils. Simply soak 1 to 1 1/2 cups of soy curls in warm water for a few minutes and then add them to the pan in place of the lentils.
  • Add more veggies - You can add more vegetables of choice. Some great suggestions would be eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, etc.
  • Check out more helpful tips and the step-by-step photos in the blog post above.
  • Recipe serves 4. Nutrition facts are for one serving (including pasta).
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Bolognese
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.