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  • Writer's pictureSophie Zuckerman

Lentil "Bolognese" Sauce

My all-time favorite savory comfort food is a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese. One of my favorites in Dallas is at Bugatti Ristorante, a cute little Italian eatery near Love Field that has an airplane theme. It's a vibe, and Eric and I love it! Sometimes I crave the bolognese flavor but without the calories, and thus this lentil sauce was created!

You can serve this sauce over zucchini noodles, sweet potato noodles, hearts of palm linguini, Banza chickpea pasta, good old fashioned spaghetti, the possibilities are endless!

Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 1 onion, minced

  • 3 medium carrots, diced

  • 2 celery ribs, diced

  • Kosher salt

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 jar of Rao's marinara sauce

  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes

  • 2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup of vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon of basil pesto. You can make this homemade but for enhancing the flavor of this sauce, a scoop from a pre-made jar will work just fine. If you're local to Dallas I highly recommend Central Market's freshly made pesto!

  • 1 Parmesan rind

  • 3/4 cup of dry lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan for garnish

  • Noodles of your choice, prepare according to package instructions


  1. Heat a large rimmed skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are translucent.

  2. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Add the marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, vegetable broth, pesto, the parmesan rind, and lentils. Increase heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, about 25-30 minutes until lentils are cooked through. If the mixture gets too thick, add more broth or water to thin it out.

  4. Once the lentils are cooked, taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.

  5. Remove the parmesan rind and then add your pasta to the sauce. Top with freshly grated parmesan and serve. Enjoy!

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