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Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

This smokey, almost meaty and very healthy red lentil pasta sauce can be made with or without the use of oil. And to be honest telling the difference is near impossible.

Red lentils are full of healthy protein. They contain loads of fiber, minerals and vitamins, not to mention flavor. I personally try to squeeze them in wherever I can. No reason not to.

This red lentil pasta sauce cooks in half and hour and it freezes very well. So go ahead and double up!

I always use whole grain pasta. I also often add very finely sliced heart or regular white cabbage at the very end of the cooking process. This little trick not only adds some lovely crunch to the dish, it also ups the fiber content helping to keep your important microbiome in tip top shape. Another option is to mix in some spiralized zucchini instead of cabbage. This will also increase the fiber content but zucchini is not very crunchy when cooked. So my personal preference is to use cabbage, and ideally heart cabbage because of its mild flavor.

Looking for other red lentil recipes? Try my Spicy Red Lentils & Pumpkin Soup or how about a lovely Indian Dahl Tadka.

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Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

Dea Zoffmann
Smokey, almost meaty, full-on flavor. A regular in my plant based kitchen.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people


  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil optional
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 14 oz / 400 g can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast


If using oil:

  • In a pot with a fitting lid heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until the onion turns translucent.
  • Add the lentils, water, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and the salt and pepper to taste. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils turn to mush.
  • Stir in the nutritional yeast, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve with your favorite pasta.

If opting for the no oil version:

  • Combine the onion, garlic, lentils, water, tomatoes, herbs, and spices in a pot with a fitting lid. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the lentils have turned mushy.
  • Stir in the nutritional yeast and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve with your favorite pasta.

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