The Best Vegan Bolognese Sauce (with Lentils, Mushrooms & Walnuts)

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This vegan bolognese sauce is a twist on an authentic classic! With an Italian soffrito, lentils, mushrooms, and walnuts as the base, this sauce bursts with rich flavors and textures. This is the best vegan bolognese! You are going to love cooking pastas, gnocchi, lasagna, and even shepherd’s pie with this sauce. 


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots (200g or 7oz), minced
  • 4 stalks celery (175g or 6 oz), minced
  • 1 red onion (200g or 7 oz), minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1525 crimini/Swiss brown mushrooms (300g or 10 oz), minced
  • 1 cup roasted walnuts (125g or 4.5 oz), minced*
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (like Chianti Classico)
  • 1 large can (800g or 28oz) San Marzano tomatoes, puréed
  • 1 can (425g or 15oz) brown lentils, drained (or 2 cups pre-cooked brown lentils)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or filtered water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Chili flakes, to taste


  1. Heat a large, thick-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven) on the stove over medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the minced onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season with a little crackling of salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of red chili flakes. Stirring often, sauté until the veggies are golden brown and softened.
  2. Stir in the minced mushrooms and roasted walnuts. Stirring occasionally, allow everything to cook down for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms shrink down to half their original size.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste well, ensuring it reaches the bottom of the pot. Cook down for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  4. Stir in the wine. With your wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to reincorporate any flavorful brown bits stuck there. Allow the alcohol to cook out for a further 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the puréed San Marzano tomatoes, lentils, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, and dried herbs. Season a big crackling of salt and pepper, and another sprinkle of red chili flakes. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low heat to simmer for three hours. Put the lid on.
  6. When the time is up, turn off the heat. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, sugar, more salt and pepper, and perhaps more chili flakes. Adjust these elements to suit your taste, and remember not to be shy with the salt because this is a huge pot of sauce. Feel free to drizzle in some black truffle oil too!
  7. Enjoy the sauce with pasta or gnocchi, inside lasagna bolognese, or get creative with other dishes, such as shepherd’s pie!


*If you are allergic to nuts, use extra mushrooms and lentils.

*You may freeze the leftover sauce for up to three months. 

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