You'll love this hearty slow cooker lentil Bolognese. This vegan version of the ever- popular spaghetti Bolognese contains veggies, lentils, tomato sauce and a combination of aromatic spices.
You might also want to check out my vegan spaghetti recipe for another protein packed vegan pasta recipe.
This slow cooker lentil Bolognese really ticks all the boxes. It's comforting, warming, nourishing, and the smell of it slow cooking fills your whole house with the most wonderful aroma.
Top Tip: If you love vegan comfort food, check out my vegan baked ziti.
Reasons You'll Love This Recipe
- It's high protein and packed with fiber.
- It's high fiber. For more high fiber vegan foods see The Ultimate High Fiber Food List - Printable.
- It's great for batch cooking and meal prep.
- You can freeze it and defrost it later for a healthy meal on the fly.
- It's flexible - You can add any veggies you like to slow cooker lentil Bolognese.
- It's super easy to make with under 15 minutes hands-on cooking time. The slow cooker does all the work.
- The aroma of this dish cooking in your slow cooker is heavenly!
- You can serve it over any kind of pasta, or even rice.
- It's easy to make this recipe oil free. Simply saute the veggies in a few tablespoons of water as opposed to the olive oil in the recipe.
- You can make it gluten free by using gluten free pasta. There's no gluten in the lentil Bolognese.
How To Make Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese
- Firstly, put your dried green lentils in a bowl and cover them with water. Leave them to soak for 30 minutes. This will shorten the amount of cooking time.
- Now, saute your onion, carrots and celery for 5 minutes. Add your garlic and saute for 1 more minute. If your slow cooker has an insert, saute the veggies there. If not, saute your veggies and garlic in a saute pan and transfer them to your slow cooker afterwards.
- Drain and rinse your lentils. Dispose of the water, and add your lentils to the slow cooker along with the chopped tomatoes (if you can find San Marzano tomatoes, I highly recommend them), tomato paste, vegetable broth, oregano, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and tuck the bay leaves into the ragu. Put the lid on your slow cooker and set the heat to high. Slow cook your lentil Bolognese for 2 hours.
- Take the bay leaves out of the slow cooker, and stir in the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.
- Serve over pasta. Enjoy!
Did You Make This Recipe?
Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
There's a few reasons this can happen. 1) Did you add the vinegar to the ragu too early? When cooking lentils, any acidic ingredient (such as vinegar) should get stirred in at the end of cooking. Vinegar prevents the lentils from softening as they cook.
2) Did you check the expiration on your packet of dried lentils? Dried lentils that are too old will require a much longer cooking time.
3) Did you soak the lentils for 30 minutes before cooking time? Without soaking they will need a much longer cooking time.
Absolutely! This is the perfect batch cooking recipe. Allow the lentil Bolognese to fully cool. Transfer individual portions to freezer safe airtight containers and freeze for for up to two months. To reheat, defrost in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop.
The lentil Bolognese sauce is gluten free. However, if you use traditional pasta, it won't be. Choose a gluten free pasta, and you're good to go!
Craving More Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes?
Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 carrots finely diced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1½ cups dried green lentils
- 1 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- In a large bowl, cover the lentils with water. Soak for 30 minutes. Preheat your slow cooker if it requires pre-heating.
- In a saute pan (or your slow cooker insert), saute the onions, carrots and celery for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 additional minute.
- Tip the sauteed veggies into the slow cooker (if you sauteed them in a saute pan). If you sauteed them directly in your slow cooker insert, you can skip this step.
- Drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the slow cooker along with the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 3 hours on high.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Remove the bay leaves and serve over pasta or rice.
- Please note that the nutritional information is only for the lentil Bolognese sauce, and does not include the pasta.
- For an oil free version of this recipe, simply omit the olive oil and substitute with 2 tablespoons of water.
- Please note that the lentil Bolognese sauce is gluten free, but you will need to use gluten free pasta to keep this dish gluten free.