March 19, 2022

Vegan Recipe Review: Lentil Bolognese

If you get this in your inbox today, I apologize! I accidentally unpublished it and then when I republished it, I'm afraid it'll go to inboxes tonight. Sorry!

I've gotten pretty lucky so far since starting these vegan recipe taste tests--just finding a vegan recipe online and making it, then writing about it--because I've really enjoyed the recipes so far. Last week's brownies were so amazing!

I have a Pinterest board with more recipes than I'll probably ever make, but I use it for inspiration when figuring out new recipes to try. That is where I found this recipe for Lentil Bolognese, found at i heart eating.

I love lentils and have been eating them for years. I even have a couple of accidentally-vegan recipes with lentils posted on my blog ("accidentally" means that they just so happened to be vegan). Two of my favorites are this super simple four-ingredient Lemon Lentil Soup and the almost-as-easy Lentil Chili. One of Jerry's all-time favorite dishes is the Lentil Chili.

I haven't eaten much pasta this year because I've been working on eating a lot of fiber and pasta just doesn't have much at all. (I've tried some of the pastas that are made out of other grains and I didn't care for the taste and/or texture.) This Lentil Bolognese recipe sounded good to make for Jerry and me while the kids were in Hilton Head (they don't love lentils).

Since I like to follow the new recipe exactly as written, I actually bought celery for this. I am NOT a celery fan--I really hate the stringy texture--so it was tempting to skip it, but bolognese always starts with onions, carrots, and celery. While I don't like to eat celery, I *do* love to chop it! I slice the ribs lengthwise into a few pieces and then crosscut into little slices. There is something really satisfying about slicing celery--so weird, I know.

The ingredients are pretty straight-forward--nothing weird ;)  It calls for red lentils, which I thought would be a nice texture because they get softer and creamier than brown or green lentils. After sautéing the carrots, celery, and onion, you basically just dump the rest of the ingredients into the pot and let it cook for 20-30 minutes until lentils are soft.

It made a HUGE amount, so I figured I'd be eating leftovers for days. I was surprised at how thick it got. It was almost like mashed potatoes-thick, so I added some extra water to thin it out a little, but it was still a thick sauce. This is what it looked like before I added a little water:

At first, I cooked one of the pastas that is made out of quinoa and a couple of other things, just to get in more fiber. However, it was terrible and Jerry and I both agreed to just dump it in the trash and use good old white pasta.

I wish I could say I loved this recipe, but honestly, I didn't even eat the leftovers. Jerry didn't care for it, either. The sauce was extremely thick, like I said, but it didn't really coat the pasta once I mixed it together; it kind of clumped up around the pasta instead. The flavor was kind of underwhelming, too, which surprised me because there is a large amount of dried basil and oregano in it, as well as seven cloves of garlic.

It looked delicious!

It smelled good and made the house smell good while it was cooking. It's possible I did something wrong, but I've made pasta sauce 10,000 times in my life and I am confident that I didn't make a mistake following the recipe ;)  I may try making another "lentil bolognese" by adding lentils to my homemade marinara--I like the idea of a lentil sauce!

Reading the reviews of the recipe, I'm clearly in the minority on this one--most people seemed to love it--so if it interests you, give it a try and let me know what you think! Here is the recipe link: Lentil Bolognese from i heart eating.

Here is a (probably controversial) random fact of the day!

I've been saying this for years (that you can lose weight while eating junk food as long as you don't eat too many calories). But we all know that weight loss is different from health. I believe you can eat nothing but junk and lose weight (as this guy did); but I also believe that the consequences of eating like this for the long-term would make your health suffer.

Also... I would feel SO crappy eating like that day after day. Even after going on vacation and eating more junk than usual I feel gross and bloated and I just crave healthy foods.

I read an article about Haub--which you can find here--and there is more to the story than just what the random fact states:

"Low calorie" is relative to his previous consumption; on this junk food diet, he was eating 1,800 calories a day. Two-thirds of his calories came from junk food; he also took a daily multivitamin, drank a protein shake, and ate a serving or two of vegetables. He was supposed to do the diet for just four weeks, but when he saw that he was losing weight, he continued until he reached a normal BMI. Finally, once he added meat back into his diet, his cholesterol went back up.

I think it was a cool experiment, but I don't like that he continued the diet past the four-week experiment phase. He's a nutrition professor teaching students about nutrition, but when he saw that he was losing weight by eating nothing but junk, he continued and said "it's unhealthy but the data doesn't say that". His agenda became more about personal weight loss than teaching his students about nutrition--because what did they really learn?

Anyway, that's just my two cents!


  1. This was a weird but interesting article. Thanks for posting a link. As a fellow calorie counter I was curious about his thoughts on this experiment.

  2. Bummer. I have made both of the last two vegan recipes you've posted based on your reviews and both were successful. Looking forward to the next good one you come across. Thanks for sharing them as well as your honest reviews.

  3. I love chopping celery too! 😂

  4. I'm in the minority here on the celery chopping. Nope. I like eating it though!


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