This Easy French Lentil Bolognese will blow you away. With a few humble ingredients, lentils are transformed into a magical and flavorful vegan "meat sauce". It's heavy on flavor, high in protein and easy to make. Since meat sauce is a favorite of most people, especially kids this vegan version is sure to be a hit.
I chose French lentils for this vegan "meat sauce". I have never met a lentil I don't like, but the French variety has a slightly less earthy taste than other varieties. They hold their shape better and are firmer in texture. Since French lentils give this lentil bolo a meatier texture, this is one of my favorite vegan meat sauce recipes ever!
The other ingredients in this Easy French Lentil Bolognese are very basic. Aromatic onions and garlic give the sauce some amazing flavor. Carrots lend a little sweetness. Crushed tomatoes bring some tang. I love adding smoked paprika to almost everything and here it lends a welcome smoky undertone which adds to the meatiness. I add crushed red pepper because I like a little bite but if you do not, simply omit that ingredient.
To add some depth to the sauce I use a vegan beef base. I used Mushroom brainiac from Mala Girl, my favorite broth company. You may use any dried or canned beef boulion that you like. Just be sure it is of the lower sodium variety or the sauce will be too salty. Perhaps wait until the end to add any salt until you taste it first. Food tends to get saltier as it cooks so waiting until the end to add it is good practice.
For this French Lentil Bolognese I chose a high protein lentil penne pasta because it is preferable to choose a whole grain version. They contain more protein and complex carbohydrates. Therefore they are better for you and keep you full longer. Serve this pasta with roasted cauliflower and wilted spinach for the ideal balanced bowl!
Easy French Lentil Bolognese
- 1 onion small dice
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 carrot peeled and cubed
- 1 cup dry French lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 tbsp Vegan Beef Bouillon Mala Girl Mushroom Brainiac or any brand that you like
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 3 bay leaves
- 22 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper
- 16 oz Whole Grain Pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Put on water to boil and cook the pasta in the background while you make the sauce.
- Heat a large and deep skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, onion and carrots and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant.
- Add water, bouillon, bay leaves, smoked paprika and lentils and bring to the boil. Cook for about 20 minutes until lentils are soft.
- Add crushed tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper and simmer to meld the flavors. The sauce will be thick and hearty and lentils will be soft yet hold their shape when it is finished.
- Toss Cooked pasta in the sauce.