How to Make a Delicious Vegetarian Bolognese

Vegetarian Bolognese

Vegetarian Bolognese is a delicious twist on the classic Italian meat sauce. This version uses lentils, mushrooms, and carrots to create a rich and flavorful sauce that is hearty and satisfying. The lentils provide a great source of protein and fiber, making it a great vegetarian option for those looking for a meatless alternative. The sauce is simmered for a long time, allowing the flavors to develop and meld together, resulting in a comforting and delicious meal.

To make this vegetarian bolognese, you start by sautéing onion, garlic, and carrots in olive oil until softened. Then, you add chopped mushrooms and lentils, along with canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and a variety of herbs and spices. The sauce simmers on low heat for about an hour, allowing the lentils to cook until tender and the flavors to develop. Serve the sauce over your favorite pasta, such as spaghetti or penne, and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a delicious and comforting meal.

Vegetarian Bolognese is a meatless version of the classic Italian pasta sauce, made with a hearty combination of vegetables, herbs, and spices. This recipe typically features meat substitutes like textured vegetable protein, lentils, or mushrooms, which give it a rich, meaty texture and flavor. It is a perfect dish for those looking for a meat-free option without sacrificing taste and nutrition.


Before you get started, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of spaghetti or any pasta of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup of red wine (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

3. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

4. Add the carrot, celery, and mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms have released their moisture.

5. Add the crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine.

6. If using red wine, pour it into the skillet and stir to combine.

7. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until it has thickened and the flavors have melded together.

8. Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta, and top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.


  • If you want a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender to puree the sauce once it has cooked.
  • If you’re short on time, you can use canned diced tomatoes instead of whole mushrooms and reduce the cooking time by half.
  • This recipe makes a large batch of sauce, so you can freeze any leftovers for future meals.


If you’re vegan, you can skip the Parmesan cheese or use a vegan alternative.
You can also add other vegetables to the sauce, such as zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers.
For a spicy kick, you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Benefits of Vegetarian Bolognese:

Vegetarian Bolognese is not only delicious but also offers a range of health benefits. Since it’s made with vegetables, it’s a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also lower in calories and saturated fat than traditional meat-based Bolognese, making it a great option for anyone looking to maintain a healthy weight or reduce their intake of animal products.


Vegetarian Bolognese is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional meat-based sauces. With its rich flavor and hearty texture, it’s sure to become a family favorite. Give this recipe a try, and see for yourself how easy it is to create a satisfying and nutritious meal that everyone will love.


1. Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?
Yes, you can use any type of pasta that you prefer. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions.

2. Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned?
Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer. Just make sure to chop them finely and remove the seeds before adding them to the sauce.

3. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Just make sure to reheat it before serving.

4. Can I add meat to this recipe?
If you’re not vegetarian, you can certainly add meat to this recipe. Simply brown some ground beef or turkey and add it to the sauce along with the vegetables.

5. Can I use vegetable broth instead of red wine?
Yes, you can use vegetable broth instead of red wine if you prefer. This will still add flavor to the sauce without the alcohol.

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