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Spaghetti is a weekly staple in our house, but I often turn to canned sauces like Prego or Barilla to save time. However, this Bolognese sauce is really easy to make and it tastes delicious. Best of all, it’s a frugal, protein-packed version of the canned tomato sauce (it also doesn’t contain all the salt and preservatives that come in canned versions).

If you’re looking for a healthier or vegetarian alternative to your usual spaghetti or Bolognese sauce, you’ll fall in love with this recipe, especially since it contains a lot of hidden vegetables – perfect for kids who are picky eaters but still need to eat their veggies.

While the recipe calls for grated carrots, I often cheat and just chop the carrots as thin as possible. My brother recommended this chopper and grater to make meal prep go a little faster. ?

If you love freezer cooking or batch cooking, this sauce is also great to make ahead. You can even double or triple the batch to create a stockpile and freeze it for quick, easy weeknight dinners.

For more easy vegetarian dinners, read this list of meatless meals. They’re perfect to add to your meal plan if you’re trying to incorporate more meatless dishes or plan for a holiday like Lent.

Lentil Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 celery sticks thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots grated or finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian spices or 1 drop of Taste of Italy essential oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (I often skip the salt, especially if the broth isn't low sodium)

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the carrots, onion, garlic, and celery until they are tender, about 5 minutes. 

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

  3. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the lentils are soft and the sauce has thickened.

Recipe Notes

Serve over hot pasta with a generous helping of Parmesan cheese.