Last Updated on January 18, 2021
No matter if you are looking for a red lentil pasta recipe or a pasta based on legumes you've come to the right place. You'll get here information on both. Let's start with the delicious recipe first. I've also included a stap-by-step video for you. If you need info on lentil pasta nutrition, please jump to the end of this blog post.
A great tasting vegan pasta sauce
This is a very simple but super yummy whole grain pasta recipe with a delicious legume sauce. I've cooked it already before my daughter started to live vegan and I'm still amazed how incredibly tasty this plant-based “Bolognese” sauce is.
Although I love to experiment and vary my plant-based meals regularly, this pasta is one of those recipes I cook again and again. Most of its ingredients are sitting in my pantry anyway.
A very flexible red lentils recipe
The veggies in the sauce can also be easily varied according to your own taste and pantry/fridge contents. Great additions are for example celery, zucchini or fennel.
I love to combine wholegrain spaghetti with this aromatic sauce, but you can use any noodles you want in this pasta dish. To prevent blood sugar spikes I highly recommend whole grain pasta, legume pasta or even brown rice.
That's what you'll need
- red lentils
- tomato cubes
- vegetable broth
- olive oil (optional)
- Italian herbs like thyme and oregano
- whole grain pasta
3 reasons why I use red lentils
For a vegan, legume-based Bolognese sauce you could probably use any lentil type, but I have good reasons to stick with my preferred red lentils:
- no need to be soaked, precooked, etc.
- very short cooking time (depending on lentil type: 15-25 minutes)
- a very delicate and light nutty flavor, which harmonizes perfectly with the fruity tomato sauce.
Furthermore, I find it a nice way to improve the quality of a rather simple tomato and vegetable sauce by increasing the satiating protein and fiber value.
Before I present to you the detailed recipe, check out in the following the 6 most important steps.
Step 1: Sweat diced onions and minced garlic in a bit of oil for 2-3 minutes. For a more intense taste you may want to roast them at higher heat.
Step 2: Add hacked carrots and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You can seat with water instead of oil but especially carrots need to be eaten with some fat to absorb the beta carotene.
Step 3: Cover the mix with red lentils.
Step 4: Add the tomato cubes.
Step 5: Pour in the vegetable broth.
Step 6: At last add the herbs and let it simmer for 25 minutes.
So here you have this fiber-rich one-pot-meal needs just 6 simple steps.
All summed up, this is a fine, tasty and filling sauce, which is inexpensive and quite quick to prepare.Print
Easy red lentil pasta recipe, clean and vegan
a flavorful plant-based Bolognese sauce
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 35
- Yield: 3-4 1x
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 3 onions, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium carrots, finely grated
- 150 g red lentils
- 600 ml vegetable broth
- 400 grams/ 14 0z. tinned chopped tomatoes (BPA-free)
- 2 tablespoon oregano
- 2 tablespoon thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh basil
- 500 grams whole grain Spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
- Cook your whole grain pasta in a large pot with salted water according to package instructions.
- Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large pan (or Thermomix) and add the onions and garlic. Sweat for 2-3 minutes over medium heat and then add the carrots. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the lentils, tomatoes, vegetable stock, oregano and thyme, stir to combine and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 25 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are soft. (stir in between occasionally).
- Taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately with cooked whole grain spaghetti or other pasta and garnish with some fresh basil.
- If you want to intensify the tomato taste you can add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- Sprinkle some red pepper flakes for a spicier taste
- If you prefer your red lentils al dente, then cook them not longer than 15 – 20 minutes
What is so special about lentils?
Lentils are high in protein and fiber and also contain many complex carbohydrates. Due to their high roughage content, these legumes have a low glycemic index (GLYX).
In consequence they raise the blood sugar level only slowly (similar to whole grains) and thus trigger only a slight release of insulin. A brand new study confirms that lentils significantly reduce blood glucose levels. (1)
The dietary fibers also promote long-lasting satiation and a good digestion. It's also great to know that lentils support the immune system by absorbing and removing toxins from the digestive tract.
Lose weight with pulses
With all this in mind, it probably doesn't surprise that lentils, peas, chickpeas, and beans – in short pulses – can contribute to a moderate weight loss. This is also the result of a review by the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital in Ontario, Canada. The analysis of 21 clinical studies revealed a data pool of 940 men and women. (2)
They found out that a portion of about 130 grams of legumes per day led to an average weight loss of 0.34 kilograms – in a study period of six weeks. Although 0.34 kilograms doesn't sound like a lot at first, it gets relevant when you know that the participants weren't encouraged to reduce other foods.
If you calculate the annual weight loss with the consumption of legumes, you get a notable loss of about 2.5 kilos! What is even more important, a regular pulse consumption prevents you from gaining it back after you lose it.
So if weight loss is your goal, then I gave you another reason to include simple red lentil recipes more often into your nutrition.
OTHER LENTIL RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY
Pasta based on legumes like red lentils or peas
Another smart way to include more lentils in your nutrition would be to use lentil based pasta instead of whole grain noodles. The list of ingredients for legume pasta is usually very short. Most gluten-free products consist of 100 percent lentil, pea or chickpea flour. This makes them just as “clean” as conventional whole grain pasta.
But in one aspect, legume pasta is one step ahead. While both pasta types contain many dietary fibers and slowly digestible carbohydrates, red lentil and bean pasta contain high-quality plant-based proteins.
Visually they are hardly distinguishable from classic noodles and also the preparation is just as simple. The short cooking time of four to six minutes is another advantage.
Legume noodles: Any objections?
What looks like noodles does not necessarily taste like noodles. The flavor of gluten-free pasta made from lentils and peas reminds a bit of the basic ingredient. Moreover, being a bit floury and crumbly, you can't fool your mouth feeling. That's why they taste best with a strong sauce (see recipe above). In that combination, the strong taste of its own is no longer so important.
Even if the red lentil rotini, black bean penne, and other noodles have great nutritional values, they cost e.g. at Trader Joe up to four times more than regular whole grain noodles. This raises the question of whether we should not put legumes on the table in their regular form, instead of pasta made from pulses. You may want to start with my recipe.
28 thoughts on “Easy red lentil pasta recipe (plant-based)”
I just had lentil pasta for the firs time recently and loved it! The sauce you made for on top sounds delicious!
I can imagine that combining lentil pasta with a red lentil sauce must be heaven:)
Sounds yummy! I’ve never made a sauce with lentils!
Thanks! You really should try it Michelle, cooking with these simple legumes will boost your creativity and please your taste buds:)
I love simple and delicious meals like this! Lentils are one of my favourite legumes for sure. Thanks for sharing 🙂
You are very welcome Maria:) For me especially the red ones are my absolute favorites as they can be ready within 20 minutes and you don’t need any overnight soaking.
Lentils are a great way to add some veggie protein to a meal. This looks delicious!
Thank you Danielle:) Yes, that’s true. The best, no need to rush to the grocery store – you have them always sitting in your pantry:)
I’ve been meaning to eat more lentils, and you just inspired me. This is perfect recipe to start with!
Sounds great, Lisa. Yes, with this legume based meal your really can’t go wrong. It’s easy, quick and so delicious:)
This looks delicious! I make a similar sauce using brown or green lentils. Never thought to use red, but I’ll definitely try it next time. Yum!
Thank you Jen, I love brown lentils too. But the challenge with them is that they need to be either soaked or you have to cook them much longer for a similar sauce
I LOVE lentils! This looks so filling and healthy!
Yes Kelly, thanks to the fact that lentils are high in fiber it is really a meal with an impressive satiation effect:)
I am always looking for new way to make clean eating easy and delicious, and this looks like a winner! Thank you for sharing!
It is really a winner Jessie, and a healthier variation to the typical Bolognese sauce.
Love this healthy pasta recipe – and lentils are a mainstay in my pantry, so I can’t wait to try this!
thank you! Yes, lentils is a must in any pantry. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this yummy lentil dish.
Clean eating made easy! This is delicious!
That’s what I love Cindy, tasty fiber rich recipes that are quick and easy!
Yumm! This looks so tasty – bonus that it’s also healthy. A great alternative to regular marinara sauce!
Thank you Danielle. Yes, it is a great variation to marinara sauce and at least as yummy:)
I love lentils and pasta together! Looks like an easy and healthy recipe. Thanks for sharing!
You are very welcome Tracy. That’s what I love most – it’s healthy, easy and tasty!
I love red lentils, they sound perfect with pasta!
They are Amy, just give them a try!
Sounds like a tasty and very healthy meal. I need to cook with lentils more often.
Yes Jill, it is tasty and healthy – a great alternative to traditional Bolognese:)