At its simplest, bolognese is ground beef in a thick tomato sauce. It’s traditionally served over wide noodles like tagliatelle, but I think I’ve had it most often over spaghetti. In fact, the sauce mom used to make was a version of bolognese. I grew up on bolognese and never knew it! Ah, fond memories. But today I’m going to try a meatless version of that sauce I love with this vegetarian Lentil Bolognese recipe since I’m trying to make healthier choices these days. This vegetarian bolognese looks and sounds wonderful, but will I miss the meat? Let’s find out!
This lentil bolognese is incredible! Super hearty, loaded with vegetables, saucy, rich and decadent. You won’t even miss the meat!
Not surprisingly, this recipe is packed with vegetables. The lentils were no surprise, nor were the tomatoes, onion, garlic, or mushroom. The zucchini was, but I’m game—I love zucchini!
By the way, the recipe calls for two 14-ounce cans of lentils. I was only able to find 15.5-ounce cans. But more lentils can’t be a bad thing.
I even splurged on a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of the pre-grated stuff I usually buy. This recipe didn’t use much of it, but this hard cheese keeps for a long time. I almost always use the entire wedges when I buy them. It’s a great excuse to make more Italian food!
Since there was a good amount of chopping to do, I decided to prep everything before I started cooking. The prep time listed for this recipe was 15 minutes, and I had everything ready in 14 minutes. Right on time!
A 5-quart Dutch oven was the perfect size for this bolognese sauce, and I cooked everything but the pasta in it. A 4.5-quart pot on another burner while I prepped the sauce was perfect for a package of linguine I had in my pantry. It was finished long before the sauce, but draining it and drizzling some olive oil over it kept it at the ready.
But back to the bolognese sauce! The recipe is broken down into easy to follow steps, and I had no problems at all. In fact, everything went very smoothly since I did all of the prep work beforehand.
The total time for this recipe was a little under the 1 hour 15 minutes listed. I had it ready in 59 minutes, and I have to say it was beautiful. And needless to say, it smelled wonderful!