A hearty, yet healthy twist on the classic.

This rich and hearty vegan bolognese is made with protein-packed lentils, getting its depth of flavor from a combination of sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a splash of red wine. Serve it over your favorite pasta for an easy weeknight dinner.

This recipe is inspired by Sylvia Fountaine's Feasting at Home blog.

YIELDS: 6 servings

TOTAL TIME: 0 hours 50 mins


2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups) 

1 1/2 cup small diced carrots

1 1/2 cups diced celery

4-6 cloves garlic, chopped 

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. chili flakes (optional)

1 tbsp. fresh oregano or thyme (or 2 tsp. dried Italian herbs)

1/3 cup tomato paste

A hearty splash of red wine (optional) 1/4 cup-ish

1 1/4 cup black caviar lentils (or French green lentils)

3 medium tomatoes, diced with their juices (or sub in a 14 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes)

3 1/2 cups veggie stock or broth

3/4 cup hemp seeds (or crushed, toasted walnuts or pecans)

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, chili flakes (if using), and oregano or thyme. Sauté until veggies are all soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

  1. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in red wine (if using) and let cook until absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed, add in the diced tomatoes with their juices and bring to a low simmer.

  1. Rinse and drain the lentils, then add them to the pot along with the veggie broth. 

  1. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and cooked through, about 30 minutes. (If you're using the french green lentils, they'll take a few minutes longer to cook.) 

  1. Stir in the hemp seeds (or chopped nuts) and balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes until heated through.

  1. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve over your favorite pasta with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil, if desired.


  • The caviar lentils hold their shape really well in this recipe, but feel free to use any type of smallish lentils you have on hand. If you can't find them, French green lentils or even brown or red lentils will work just fine.

  • If you're not into alcohol, you can omit the red wine and add an extra splash of balsamic vinegar instead.

  • If you don't have fresh oregano or thyme on hand, feel free to use 2 teaspoons of dried Italian herbs instead.

  • Dried tomato flakes or sun-dried tomatoes can be used in place of fresh diced tomatoes. If using, add them along with the veggie broth and rehydrate according to package instructions before proceeding with the recipe.

  • This recipe can be prepared in advance and reheated as needed. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving): 

About 268 calories, 11.5 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 14 g protein, 481 mg sodium, 30.9 g carbohydrates, 626 g fiber

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