• 1 cup dried black lentils, rinsed and picked through for debris, or about 2 1/2 cups cooked
  • 10 oz finely chopped crimini mushrooms, or baby bell
  • 1 large yellow, or 2 medium onions, finely chopped*
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped*
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped*
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
  • 1/2 cup red wine, like cabernet, OR sub vegetable broth
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups vegetable broth, use for oil-free saute, and based on how fluid you want your sauce
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt, if needed, to taste
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • Parsley and vegan parmesan for garnish if desired

Vegan & Oil Free

The meaty mouth feel of black lentils gives this Bolognese an authentic texture, and the mushrooms add umami and a nutritional boost.  This is a robust and richly flavored sauce that goes well with any sturdy pasta. In the demo, I used gluten-free tagliatelle spirals—very pretty and delicious. Serve with vegan parmesan and chopped parsley if desired. This sauce freezes well, so doubling or even tripling the recipe makes sense.

Makes 9-10 cups sauce

Cook the dried black lentils in 4 cups water for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked but still firm.  Drain and set aside until ready to use.

Heat a large pot to medium/high. When hot add the onion and dry saute until slightly translucent, adding a tablespoon or so of broth as needed to deglaze and prevent sticking.

Stir in the mushrooms. Cook until most liquid is cooked away, 3-4 minutes.

Add carrots, celery and garlic. Turn down the heat a bit and cook about 8-10 minutes to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally. The mixture should be slightly golden and most liquid should be cooked off.

Stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce, miso, and wine or equivalent broth. Stir and cook about 2-3 minutes. Let the tomato paste come in contact with the pan to intensify its flavor.

Add the crushed tomato, 3/4 cup broth (to start), nutritional yeast, dried basil, dried thyme, and bay leaf. Turn heat to low, cover, and leaving the lid ajar, simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked lentils, chopped fresh rosemary, and freshly ground pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent burning. At this point, and depending on your preference, add more broth for the consistency you prefer in a thick pasta sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve of hot pasta. Sauce is even better the next day. Freeze for future use.


Serve the Bolognese on pasta, or anywhere that you like a thick, rich, robust sauce, like your favorite pizza.