Budget-Friendly Lentil Bolognese

  • Ready In:
  • Makes 2-3 servings

A tasty Lentil Bolognese is a must for your recipe arsenal, and this one passes the test for a busy student—or anyone in a hurry or on a budget. Made in a pressure cooker, this Lentil Bolognese is a quick and healthy spin on a traditionally meat-based sauce.


  • 1 (28-ounce) can salt-free diced tomatoes or tomato purée
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cup black beluga lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder and onion powder
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar


Pressure Cooker Method

  1. Place the tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, water, onions, garlic, carrots, Italian and poultry seasonings, pepper flakes, and ¼ cup chopped basil into a pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
  2. After releasing pressure, mix well, then season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste. Finish with the remaining fresh basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar.
  3. If you’d prefer a smoother consistency, transfer 2 to 3 cups of the sauce to a blender with a tight-fitting lid covered with a towel and puree until smooth.
  4. Serve over whole-grain pasta, zucchini noodles, or roasted sweet potatoes.

Stovetop Method

  1. Cook all ingredients for 30 to 40 minutes over high heat until the lentils are soft.
  2. Optional: Saute the onions and garlic first.

Note: You can replace the black beluga lentils with another variety, but be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

about the author

Andrew Beauchesne

Andrew Beauchesne is a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. He received his master’s in Nutritional Epidemiology from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and has worked on several nutrition research teams investigating the effect of diet quality on various health outcomes. Andrew has a BA in Biochemistry from Colby College and is originally from Midcoast Maine.
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