Vegan Pasta Bolognese with Lentils is a family favorite, and the ultimate comfort food. Rich, creamy sauce packed with protein—all the ingredients you’ll need come straight from your pantry!
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So, it seems like we are all playing a giant game of Chopped these days! What’s in your mystery basket? Here in Seattle we’ve been in self-isolation mode for 16 days. Irving has made a couple of grocery runs, but we have mostly been working out of our pantry, and adding in whatever fresh produce we have on hand. I’m being really mindful to not waste food and to use up open foods before opening something new—something I will need to keep up when we get out of this current mess! One of our favorite dinners right now is Vegan Pasta Bolognese with Lentils. Rich and creamy sauce, packed with protein—it’s ultimate comfort food. I think we can all agree that a hug in the form of a bowl of pasta is always welcomed!
Vegan Pasta Bolognese with Lentils
I’ve actually been thinking about this recipe since the fall, but I was originally testing it with riced cauliflower instead of lentils. I thought the cauliflower might take on a sort of ground meat feel—you know, since cauliflower can be anything, right? But it just wasn’t right, and I certainly wasn’t fooling Jonny, our resident cauliflower hater. So I switched to protein packed lentils. And then the world fell apart and I started brainstorming pantry staple recipes, and this delicious pasta dish came together!
Rich and Creamy Pasta Sauce
I really wanted to take jarred pasta sauce to the next level, but also wanted to keep things simple. I thought about making my cream sauce like I do in my Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce , using a homemade hemp cream, but it was more complicated than I wanted this to be. Then I remembered using canned coconut milk in Yummy Mummy’s Zuppa Toscana, and how much I liked that. I remember wondering if it would taste like coconut, but it really didn’t! So I gave it a try in this recipe. My real test was on Irving—he doesn’t like coconut in dishes where coconut “doesn’t belong.” But he immediately said “this is really good—how did you get it so creamy?” Ah ha! My trick worked!
More Pantry Staple Recipes You Will Love
- Instant Pot Arroz con Gandules (Pantry Staple Recipe)
- Chickpea Stir Fry with Pineapple (15 Minute Meal!)
- Pumpkin Curry Soup
- Oil Free Vegan Refried Black Beans — Frijoles de Cabo
- Chickpea Salad with Lemon and Shallots + a Trip to Brooklyn
Some of my Favorite Pasta Recipes
- Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce — Nut Free!
- Mac and Cheese with Pumpkin
- Uncle Jon’s Pasta Salad
- Almond Butter Red Curry Noodles
- Homemade Vegan Boxed Mac and Cheese
and don’t forget….
Let’s Make Vegan Pasta Bolognese with Lentils!
Are you ready? Let’s make some pasta! Pair this yummy bolognese with some Easy Vegan Garlic Bread for a perfect cozy comfort food dinner! Leave a note in the comments below and let me know how you like it! Or if you’re having trouble working with your mystery basket, let me know and I can try to help you think of what you can make!
Vegan Pasta Bolognese with Lentils
- 1 pound pasta (I like short cut pastas for this, like Rigatoni, use gluten free pasta if needed)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (can sub 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic powder if out of fresh)
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (or use dried oregano)
- 1 15 ounce can lentils (see notes)
- 1 jar marinara sauce (choose your favorite brand!)
- 1 15 ounce can coconut milk, cream only (refrigerate overnight and separate the cream from the water)
- fresh herbs for garnish
- vegan parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet (large enough to hold the pasta if possible).
- Heat over medium low heat and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, but not brown.
- Add the Italian seasoning and stir well while continuing to heat.
- Drained and rinse the lentils, and add them to the garlic mixture. Mix well.
- Pour the marinara sauce on top and stir again.
- Carefully open the coconut milk, and skim off the separated firm white cream. (you can save the water for a smoothie!)
- Add the coconut cream to the marinara sauce and mix well, and heat until slightly bubbling.
- Add cooked pasta to the sauce and mix well to fully incorporate.
- Serve! Garnish with vegan parmesan and whatever fresh herbs you have!