Mushroom and lentil bolognese

Lentil and mushroom bolognese on a white plate.

Mushroom and lentil bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is one of our weeknight favourites. This mushroom and lentil bolognese is a hearty, vegetarian take on the classic beef version. We like it because it’s filling and wholesome, and because mushroom goes so incredibly well with pasta. This dish is lower in calories compared to your typical bolognese, and if you choose wholemeal pasta it’s rich in fiber as well.

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Lentil and mushroom bolognese on a white plate, with a fork lifting it up.

Which lentils to use for bolognese

This recipe uses canned brown lentils. You can also recreate it with precooked brown lentils. Red lentils turn a bit mushy after cooking, and will work but is not recommended for this recipe. You can buy lentils at most grocery stores, or you can find them online here.

Ingredients for mushroom and lentil bolognese laid out on a marble table.

How to make an incredible mushroom and lentil bolognese

First, cook spaghetti or pasta of your choice according to the package instructions. The pasta will finish cooking before the sauce. When it has cooked, drain off the pasta water, and leave it on the side until the sauce is done.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, heat some one calorie cooking spray. Finely dice onion, and sauté until they turn soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add finely minced garlic and cook for another minute, then add finely diced mushroom and celery. Cook until the mushrooms have reduced in size, about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add all the dried herbs, and cook for another minute while stirring.

Mushrooms and onions cooking in a large pot.

Drain a tin of cooked lentils, and rinse them thoroughly. Add to the pot, along with tomato passata, tomato puree, and some salt and pepper. Place the lid on top, and leave the sauce to cook for 5-10 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the pasta. Allow the pasta to heat back up for a minute. Finally, serve the mushroom and lentil bolognese in pasta bowls.

Optionally, you can top the dish with grated parmesan or freshly ground black pepper.

Mushroom and lentil bolognese on a white plate.

How to make vegetarian bolognese taste meaty

There are many ways to make a filling and tasty, vegetarian version of spaghetti bolognese. This version with mushroom and lentils is my personal favourite. The lentils make the dish more hearty, and adds some protein. The mushrooms add a meaty umami flavour. You can also make bolognese with grated carrots and courgettes, with soy mince, or with chestnuts and lentils or beans.

What goes with lentil bolognese

Mushroom and lentil bolognese in white pasta bowls with a bowl of spinach and a white napkin on a marble table.

More delicious pasta dishes:

Mushroom and lentil bolognese

This mushroom and lentil bolognese is a hearty, vegetarian take on the classic beef version. We like it because it’s filling and wholesome, and lower in calories compared to your typical bolognese.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: International
Keyword: bolognese, lentils, mushroom, pasta, spaghetti, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4
Calories: 386kcal
Cost: Cheap

Ingredients

  • 300 g pasta
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400 g size)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 celery stick
  • 250 g white mushrooms
  • 1 tin cooked brown lentils (400 g size)
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Instructions

  • First, cook spaghetti or pasta of your choice according to the package instructions. The pasta will finish cooking before the sauce. When it has cooked, drain off the pasta water, and leave it on the side until the sauce is done.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate pot, heat some one calorie cooking spray. Finely dice onion, and sauté until they turn soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add finely minced garlic and cook for another minute, then add finely diced mushroom and celery. Cook until the mushrooms have reduced in size, about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add all the dried herbs, and cook for another minute while stirring.
  • Drain a tin of cooked lentils, and rinse them thoroughly. Add to the pot, along with tomato passata, tomato puree, and some salt and pepper. Place the lid on top, and leave the sauce to cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add more salt and pepper to taste, then pour the drained pasta into the sauce. Allow the pasta to heat back up for a minute. Finally, serve the mushroom and lentil bolognese in pasta bowls.
  • Optionally, you can top the dish with grated parmesan or freshly ground black pepper.

Notes

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. I would not recommend freezing this dish as the pasta will be a bit mushy after reheating. You can freeze the sauce without the pasta added for up to 3 months.
This recipe uses canned brown lentils. You can also recreate it with precooked brown lentils. Red lentils turn a bit mushy after cooking, and will work but is not recommended for this recipe. You can buy lentils at most grocery stores, or you can find them online here.
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