4 portions. Approximate cost: £7.60 to £15.60 – £5.60 for basic ingredients + £2 for a mini bottle of wine or £10 for a decent full size bottle, 

Skill level: Easy,

Total cooking time: 1 hour, 

  • Prep time: 15 minutes (maximum), 
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes if using canned lentils, 1 hour + if using dried, 

Equipment used: 1 large casserole pot with lid, 1 saucepan, kitchen roll, food processor (optional), 

Original recipe: Blue Apron – Lentil Bolognese (a really beautiful blog post if I do say so myself)


It was only mid way through preparing this that I realised that the original recipe does not contain tomatoes (!) Loyal to the original, I followed suit and the end result is surprisingly saucy – I would however advocate adding in any spare tomatoes you have after adding wine and water in the interest of using up leftover veg. 

If you love a mince based Bolognese dish, don’t be put off by the “meat free” label here – the addition of a generous sized glass of red wine, a decent amount of garlic and crispy rosemary leaves makes up for the lack of beef in this vegetarian dish.

To go the whole (vegan) hog, buy vegan wine and celebrate being smug with an extra portion 🙂


To prep: 

(Original recipe in bold font)

  • Pick the leaves from a small bunch of rosemary and discard the stems.
  • Peel and mince 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Peel and small dice 2 carrots and 1 onion.
  • Small dice 2 celery stalks.
  • If you have peppers, leeks, courgettes or similar veg you wish to use up, dice these and add with the garlic, carrots, celery and onion. (Even broccoli florets could work here) 

The original blog post pictures all veg diced in perfect little cubes. My veg did not look like this. Ever lazy, I used 2 attachments on the food processor which allowed me to chop 2 sticks of celery, 2 carrots, an onion and 3 cloves of garlic in under 20 seconds – Use the slicing disc attachment  to thinly slice the veg and then use the main blade to dice / chop / obliterate the slices. The end result may not be pretty but this will cook down anyway and it all looks the same in the end. 


To cook:

If using canned lentils, drain and set aside

If using dried or unprepared lentils – Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the lentils. Cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly and set aside.

Fry the rosemary:  Whilst the lentils are cooking; in a large, high-sided pan (or pot), heat a thin layer of oil on medium until hot. Add the rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until crispy and fragrant.

Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the fried rosemary to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the oil in the pan.

Make the sauce: Once the lentils have cooked for about 10 minutes, heat the pan of reserved oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.

Add the tomato paste; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant. Add the cooked lentils, wine and 1 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. If you want to add chopped tomatoes, do so now. Cherry toms are always a welcome addition. 

Simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened and saucy.

Cook the pasta: While the sauce cooks, add the pasta to the pot of the boiling water, stirring gently. Cook 9 to 11 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the cooked pasta thoroughly.

Finish & plate your dish: Add the cooked pasta, butter (or oil) and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan of sauce. Cook, stirring frequently for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.)

Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the cheese and fried rosemary. Enjoy!



  • 500g pasta (I prefer penne but fettuccine works well here) (£2)
  • 1 can of cooked green lentils – like these (55p)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (50p for a bulb)
  • 2 carrots (20p)
  • 2 stalks of celery (£1 for a bunch)
  • 1 white onion (20p)
  • 1 bunch of rosemary (70p for a packet)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (or rapeseed oil)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (£1) OR use blended sun-dried tomatoes if you have them
  • a small glass of red wine (vegan wine available) (£8 for a bottle)
  • a small handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (50p)

View other vegetarian  recipes

View vegan recipes