Lentil bolognese is a hearty, healthy red sauce with lentils, mushrooms and all the rich flavor of traditional bolognese. An easy high-protein vegan meal, made in your Instant Pot!
When you're in the mood for a hearty pasta sauce, like bolognese, but you're not in the mood for the heaviness of meat, then this lentil bolognese pasta sauce is for you. It's flavorful, versatile, plant-based and easy to make in your Instant Pot.
Lentil bolognese is lighter than meat sauce, but has all the rich flavors and ingredients of traditional Italian bolognese, like tomato, garlic, oregano and mushrooms. It's delicious with a mountain of parmesan (or vegan cheese) sprinkled on top and lots of fresh basil!
How to Serve Vegan Bolognese
You'll love this lentil bolognese over your favorite pasta, but this versatile sauce can be served in many different ways.
Serve lentil bolognese over:
- Quinoa, barley or farro
- Spaghetti squash
- Baked potatoes
- Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
- Cauliflower rice
Red or Brown Lentils?
I use brown (or green) lentils for this recipe. They hold their shape and give the sauce more texture.
How Much Water Should I Add to the Instant Pot?
Some Instant Pot lentil bolognese recipes add less water than I do. However, I've found that using less water makes the sauce too thick and dry, and the sauce doesn't blend well into pasta. And, you're more likely to get a "burn notice" if there isn't enough liquid in the Instant pot.
Also, lentils continue to absorb liquid after cooking so the sauce will naturally thicken the longer it sits. This is especially true with leftover lentil bolognese that you keep in the fridge for several days.
However, if you like a thicker sauce you can add less water or simmer the sauce after it's cooked to thicken it up.
Can I Freeze Cooked Lentils?
Absolutely, this sauce freezes really well. I love that this recipe feeds a crowd (8 servings) or you can bank on leftovers.
You can freeze a large portion or smaller individual portions that can be heated up for lunch.
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