Technically, this isn’t a bolognese because there’s no meat but trickery is an underrated tool when it comes to getting kids to eat, so in our families, we label it ‘bolognese’.

It’s made with mainly pantry ingredients and requires very little preparation. In order to get the onion, carrot, and celery in deceptively small pieces (and because it’s quicker), we use a food processor but a plain old knife will do the trick too.

We always make a double batch for the freezer. It also keeps well in the fridge for a good few days so leftovers can be used for new dishes like spooned over jacket potatoes or by topping with mashed potatoes and a sprinkle of grated cheese to make this cottage pie.


The recipe serves 4-6 people when tossed through your favourite short on long pasta. Serve with grated parmesan and fresh basil or chopped parsley. Add fresh or dried chilli if you like it spicy.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tins of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomato pesto
  • 1 x 400g tin brown lentils, drained
  • Parmesan, to serve
  • Fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley, to serve (optional)


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until it starts to soften. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and pesto, bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes or until the carrot is softened and the sauce has reduced slightly. Serve over pasta, topped with parmesan and fresh basil or parsley.

We think you’ll love it but if you prefer your bolognese meaty, try our best bolognese sauce recipe.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. […] For another sneaky way to get lentils into a meal, try our lentil bolognese. […]



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Dinner, One Pot, Pasta & Noodles, Rice, Grains & Pulses, Vegetables, Vegetarian


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