This easy lentil bolognese is a pour and cook recipe made using pantry ingredients!
This is definitely the easiest vegan lentil “meat” sauce ever. This recipe requires three main ingredients: brown lentils, marinara sauce and water.
Chubby brown lentils are meant to mimic the meat in bolognese. I like using brown lentils because (as I discussed in this brown lentil dal post), they keep their shape even after you pressure cook them.
A few years ago, I’d be hesitant about sharing a recipe like this on the blog. I mean, can you be a (respectable) food blogger who shares a recipe that calls for a jar of store-bought marinara? Aren’t I supposed to make marinara sauce from scratch and insist you do the same?
Now I’m a mom. Of two. And have zero time to care about such things. Please give me all the store-bought marinara. Rao’s, please.
At the risk of coming across as a marinara snob… I have yet to find an easily accessible store-bought marinara sauce that I enjoy more than Rao’s Homemade (not sponsored). I actually haven’t bought another brand in years… but if there’s another brand you recommend, let me know. As someone who needs a lot of food variety in life, I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to the ingredients that I use.
how to prevent tomato sauce from burning:
The first few times I made this lentil sauce, there was some marinara burnt at the bottom of my pot. I’ve since figured out how to prevent any burning. You have to first press the sauté button and once the display says “hot” pour oil into the pot. Swirl it around to completely coat the bottom of the pot, then add lentils, marinara and water. I’m adding these directions to the recipe card but wanted to explain the reasoning behind step 1.
This is one of those recipes you can keep in your “need to make dinner but don’t want to cook dinner” brain folder. And yes, “brain folder” is a thing. I have several filing cabinets in this mind of mine. Other recipes in this folder include coconut chicken curry and Thai chicken curry.
Serve this sauce over the pasta of your choice and top with parmesan and fresh basil. Maybe throw a little crushed red pepper on top too.
- 1 tablespoon oil I use avocado oil
- 1 cup brown lentils soak for 3-4 hours
- 1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce (highly recommend Rao’s Homemade)
- ¾ cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red chili pepper flakes to taste
- Basil leaves
- Fresh parmesan
- Soak lentils for 3-4 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Press sauté and once the display says hot, add oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pot (this will prevent burning).
- Add the lentils, marinara and water and mix well (fyi, I first empty the jar of marinara into the pot then add the water to the jar and swirl it around to make sure I don’t miss a drop of sauce!).
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 15 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure.
- Taste and add/adjust salt and pepper if needed.
- Top with fresh basil, red chili flakes and parmesan if desired. Serve over pasta.