November 30, 2021

Recipe: Lentil Bolognese

A delicious dinner that won’t weigh you down!

Lentil Bolognese

Whether you’re a pasta Bolognese devotee or a lifelong vegetarian, you’re going to love our latest version of the dish.


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Our lentil Bolognese — yes, you read that right — is delicious and filling, with nary a drop of animal protein. With a traditional base of onion, carrot, celery, tomato, garlic and white wine, compelling flavors abound in this dish. And instead of beef or pork, French lentils give it heft and “meatiness.”

This dish is highly nutritious, with plenty of vitamins and minerals, beneficial plant chemicals, fiber and protein.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup French green lentils
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat pasta


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, until softened. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and let it simmer for 1 minute, until it has cooked away.
  3. Add the tomatoes, black pepper, red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup of water and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover the pot with a lid. Let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until the flavors have developed.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Add the lentils and simmer gently for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and shake out excess water.
  5. Stir the lentils (about 1 1/4 cups) and parsley into the sauce.
  6. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with the sauce.

Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes 4 servings


Calories: 564
Total fat: 13 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Protein: 18 g
Carbohydrate: 90 g
Dietary fiber: 20 g
Sugar: 12 g
Added sugar: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 632 mg

— Developed by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness.

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