Spicy Red Pasta with Lentils

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Two plates of our Spicy Red Pasta with Lentils and GF Pasta for a plant-based dinner

Sometimes, you just need a hearty, comforting pasta dish, especially in the midst of winter.

This recipe does the trick, delivering on flavor, simplicity and heartiness.

This red sauce is spicy, bold, and infused with red lentils for added protein.

Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free, and it comes together in just 30 minutes. Shall we?Cooking our Spicy Red Lentil Pasta recipe in a cast-iron skillet

This recipe is inspired by my Simple Chickpea Bolognese. If you haven’t tried that recipe yet, you must! It’s hearty, filling, and a new spin on classic bolognese. Plus, carrot noodles for the win!

I’ve wanted to make a dish with red lentils for a while now, because they’re tender, slightly sweet, cook quickly, and pair especially well with sauces and soups. Not to mention, they’re rich with health benefits, including iron, fiber, folate, and protein.

The sauce itself is incredibly simple, relying on a base of garlic, carrots, and tomatoes for flavor and texture. Next comes tomato paste and sauce for rich tomato flavor. And spices like red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and sea salt bring it to life. Serve with gluten free pasta for a seriously delicious and hearty plant-based meal.

Cast-iron skillet filled with our recipe for Spicy Red Pasta with Lentils

I hope you love this pasta! It’s:

Hearty
Rich
Flavorful
Spicy
Quick
Healthy
& Delicious

This would make the perfect meal when you’re craving something quick, healthy, and filling, making it ideal for weeknight meals. And because it’s so flavorful and protein-packed (33 grams protein per serving!), vegans and meat-eaters alike will love it.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Plate filled with our Spicy Red Pasta with Lentils for a healthy gluten-free vegan meal

Spicy Red Pasta with Lentils

Simple, 30-minute spicy red pasta sauce with red lentils for added protein and fiber. Serve over gluten-free pasta for a delicious and hearty plant-based meal!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Big plate of Spicy Red Pasta made with lentils
4.9 from 79 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

LENTILS

  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils (rinsed in cool water for 1 minute)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pinch sea salt

PASTA SAUCE

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup carrots (very finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce*
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pinch sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh basil
  • 1-2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as organic cane sugar or coconut sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (optional // plus more to taste)

FOR SERVING

  • 8 ounces gluten-free pasta (I like Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Fussili, or sub carrot noodles)

Instructions

  • Add lentils and water to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly to achieve a mild simmer (not boil).
  • Cook lentils to preferred doneness - 15 minutes for a slight bite, 20-22 minutes for more tender lentils. For this dish, I prefer 'al dente' so they don't become mushy.
  • When lentils are finished cooking, drain off any excess cooking liquid, season with a pinch of salt, and set aside.
  • While lentils are cooking, heat a large, rimmed metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic, carrots and tomato (optional). Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • To prevent splattering, remove skillet from heat and add tomato sauce, tomato paste, pinch sea salt, chili flake, oregano, basil, sweetener, and vegan parmesan cheese (optional), and stir to combine.
  • Place back over heat and bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • If serving with pasta, cook according to package instructions at this time. Then drain and set aside.
  • Sample pasta sauce and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more sweetener to balance and enhance the flavors: chili flake for heat, salt for saltiness, or more herbs for depth of flavor. If too thick, thin with a little water.
  • Add the cooked, drained lentils to the sauce and stir to combine. To serve, either spoon sauce over noodles, or add pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
  • Serve with any additional toppings, such as red pepper flakes, vegan parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat sauce in the microwave or saucepan. Add a little water to thin if too thick. I've found gluten free pasta doesn't keep well, so cook fresh for each batch.

Notes

*Tomato sauce is pureed tomatoes that are pre-seasoned with spices like garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano, and is different than plain puréed tomatoes. Adjust the sauce if using crushed tomatoes or purée by adding more seasonings to taste (i.e. garlic powder, dried or fresh basil and oregano, sea salt and sweetener of choice)
*Recipe adapted from my Simple Chickpea Bolognese.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with gluten-free pasta and without additional toppings.

Nutrition (1 of 2 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 778 Carbohydrates: 138.6 g Protein: 33.3 g Fat: 11.3 g Saturated Fat: 2.2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1100 mg Fiber: 30.9 g Sugar: 20.8 g

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  1. Jennifer says

    This was simple, quick, delicious and very nourishing/satisfying! I pretty much followed the recipe as directed except I used Swerve brown instead of sugar and I add some finely chopped brown mushrooms with the carrots and tomatoes. I served it over Banza chickpea cavatappi for extra plant based protein. This will definitely become a regular part of my rotation. Thank you for sharing. P.S. This fueled me for an excellent run the next morning! :-)

    • Dannielle says

      This is my go to, haven’t been shopping, don’t feel like cooking recipe. I always have all the ingredients on hand, so it’s easy and it always tastes amazing. I use a can of chopped tomatoes instead of a tomato sauce and I use honey as the sweetener. So good!

  2. Katie says

    Really great meal! I omitted the carrots and added a shallot but otherwise made it as is. Family loved it and appreciated the “hidden” protein.

  3. Brittany says

    Delicious! My husband (omni) and I (vegan) both loved it! Added a little garlic granules and onion powder (and snuck in a couple plant-based sausages), paired with roasted lemon garlic broccoli and, OMG, it was divine! I wish I would’ve made some vegan parm to go with it, but definitely will next time. Thank you for such simple, flavorful and healthy recipes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you both enjoyed it, Brittany! Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  4. Ana says

    I adore this recipe! If using basil and oregano leaves do you put them in the sauce whole or do you chop them? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Laila. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  5. Amy says

    I made this awhile ago (and loved it!) and am revisiting with a question – I know this is rated as not freezer friendly, but does that apply to both the entire meal and the sauce, separately? I’m looking into more meal-prepping due to reduced grocery store trips and am wondering if just the sauce would freeze OK. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amy, we haven’t tried it, but we think the sauce should freeze well. Let us know if you try it!

  6. Dana says

    I made this a while ago and loved it! I added more garlic and used regular parmesan cheese. It froze really well for amazing leftovers. I am back on this page to make the recipe again, and had to share my feedback! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!

    My only question is due to how versatile this delicious sauce is- have you tried serving it on any lower-carb options than pasta? I would eat this recipe more often if it didnt mean eating pasta regularly instead of as a treat.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Dana! I think you could serve it over zucchini noodles, roasted broccoli, or roasted sweet potato!

  7. Lindsey says

    This was a perfect meal with ingredients I had on hand. It was spicy, flavorful and best of all EASY! I’m pretty full and my husband says it’s a repeat. Yum!

  8. Peggy O'Donnell says

    Great recipe! I seriously cheated and added only a little bit of finely sliced beef, diced onions, mushrooms, diced red bell peppers and, of course red wine! But all fundamentals of this recipe really sound. Thanks!

    • Nilesh Patel says

      Today i made muung bean pasta. When i cooked the pasta in water, i did not waste the water. I poured it in to a mug. This lovely thick left over water actually has all the good nutrition so why drain it away.
      You can use this as a soup by adding more veggies into it, or just have it on its own (muung bean soup)…nothing wrong with that! You can season it as per your taste.
      Try it out!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      It won’t be as flavorful, but it might still work. As a substitute, you could try cooking down tomato puree to make it more concentrated. Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Preetha. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  9. NMWeaver says

    This was delicious! Hearty and satisfying. It will definitely be a regular part of our dinner lineup. Thank you so much!

    I didn’t have tomato paste, so added another 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (for a total of 1/2 cup). I used dried basil and oregano and so did 1 tsp of each. Otherwise, I made exactly as written.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      So strange! Happy to help troubleshoot. Was it the flavor or the texture that was off? Did you modify anything?

    • Kara says

      Dear Kate, this is a very unhelpful review. Please leave constructive feedback about the recipe so that the creator and followers can learn and adjust appropriately. I’m a faithful follower and avid believer in helpful reviews on this platform and others! Nothing is worse than scrolling through the reviews and seeing a comment like this….. rant over.

      Question about the recipe: can I leave out the carrots if I don’t have any?! Thank you!

        • Kara says

          Made it without the carrots and it still tasted delicious! Next time I’ll try it with carrots. I’m a huge fan of the texture of lentils (my husband, not so much, but he still ate it) and thought the flavor was great. I think adding fennel seeds could be a nice way to switch up the flavor! Might try that next time too!

          • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

            Lovely, thanks, Kara! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

        • Kara says

          Sorry Dana, forgot to leave a rating! Resubmitting this comment because I wanted to make sure you got some more love on this recipe! Made this last night without carrots and it turned out delicious! My husband is not a fan of the texture of lentils (unlike me, I love them), but we both thought the flavor was great! Next time I’ll try to stay true to the recipe and add carrots or maybe even change it up and add fennel seeds, just to give it a little sausage-like flavor. Thanks for the delicious and easy recipe!

          • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

            Love the fennel seeds idea! Thanks so much for the updated review, Kara! xo

  10. Sandy says

    Hi from Toronto!

    I just made this for dinner tonight and it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.

    Its savory and packed full of flavor! I omitted the sugar since I thought the carrots provided enough sweetness and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference :) Its now going to be a staple meal at my home. I’ve been searching your website for more lentil dishes I can incorporate into my dinner meals. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Sandy. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Catherine. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  11. Caitlin says

    I love this recipe!! So quick and so so tasty!! I also add 1/4 cup diced onion and 1/4 cup diced orange bell pepper to give it some more veg!! I serve it over chickpea noodles too which adds even more protein!!! Best marinara ever!!!!!

  12. Anna says

    Made it literally just a second ago… and god! This was incredible! The sauce is truly brilliant but I added some peas, pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast to it too to make it even more healthier. This was a serious mouthwatering dish and quick, which is always a plus for me.
    Now my stomach is overly full and happy :)

  13. kay says

    My just about to leave his teenage years behind son asked for a vegetarian pasta for dinner and suggested lentils for a meat substitute. I had red lentils in the cupboard so a quick “Lentil pasta” search later here I was. I added onion and celery to the carrot, used fresh basil, oregano and parsley from my garden. Maybe increased the chili flakes because he likes it hot. My son was back to scrape the pot for seconds before I was half way through mine. Delicious. Yum and two thumbs up from us in New Zealand.

  14. Laura Johnson says

    Sooo delicious! I love how nutrient-packed this pasta dish is. I added veggies that I had on hand, cauliflower and red bell pepper. Will definitely be making this again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Laura! Love your veggie additions! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  15. Emma says

    Do you use split lentils or not, because I think split lentils get more mushy and I’m not sure if they’ll be ok..

  16. Kerstin says

    Great sauce! I left out the chili flakes because of the kids and added some cashew cheese sauce instead of the vegan parmesan. We are not vegan so I added about 5 anchovies. Made this with red lentil pasta and sprinkled some nutritional yeast and garlic breadcrumbs on top. The whole family really enjoyed it.

  17. Heather says

    Just made this pasta for supper, and it was SO STINKIN’ GOOD!! Only substitution that I made was adding half of a red pepper, half of a yellow pepper, and quarter of a Spanish onion. I also like (ie. LOVE) heat, so I also added a dash of cayenne and extra chilli flakes. Will most DEFINITELY be making this again! Even my 9yo son (who hates all food but PB sandwiches lol) loved it… And had seconds! Thank you for sharing!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad to hear you and your son both enjoyed it! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  18. Egofus says

    I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the metric button. Those units are really a pain in the ass for non Americans.

    Cheers!

  19. Rachel M says

    My boyfriend and I made this for dinner and we both loved it – it will definitely be our new go-to pasta sauce! We added some chickpeas for even more protein!

  20. Elijah W Campbell says

    I have made this today and it was like heaven to my taste buds. It was perfect for me because i’m vegan.

  21. Lisa Manning says

    I made this yesterday, exactly as the recipe stated and it was so good I just had to comment. I used coconut sugar for the sweetener and cooked the lentils for 15 minutes. I tasted it just after making & it was good. I served it for a late dinner over penne pasta so it sat for about 6 hours & it got even better! Just excellent. Thanks for the best pasta sauce recipe that I will be making again & again.

  22. Heeyoung Park says

    Considering there was no meat involved, this was a surprisingly delicious dish! Hearty and flavorful :) I think I will try reducing the lentils just a little bit next time since I think it takes away from the sauce, but I’m thrilled to have found a pasta recipe that’s more nutritious than usual! Thank you for sharing!

  23. Vegan4life says

    I found this sweet enough, because of the carrots, that I didn’t need any sugar, or sugar substitute.

    I generally can’t stand sugar or things made sweet with it.

    I don’t eat cookies, candy, or drink sodas at all, or juice with sugar in it.

    If sugar is called for in a recipe, I use pureed apples, pears, apple or other fruit juices instead.

  24. Jillian T Pius says

    The recipe tastes really good. I am not quite sure I understand where the 700+ calories per serving are coming from (if it makes two servings, each serving would have 1/4 c. of lentils which is about 200 calories).
    Three changes to the recipe:
    1) I added an extra 1/2 onion that I had in my fridge.
    2) Instead of the suggested sweeteners, I used 1 packet of stevia.
    3) Instead of regular noodles, I used spaghetti squash.
    All changes ended up tasting really good!

  25. Raquel says

    Oh, Dana, this recipe is the bomb! So hearty and filling… how could anyone miss the meat? Some vegan Parmesan took this to a whole new level. I like this recipe as a staple because it’s super high in protein and will fill my picky husband up. As a bonus, these are mostly ingredients I have on hand in the cupboard so it’s a great recipe when groceries are dwindling and I can’t get to the store. Thank you!

  26. Georgia says

    Hi, I love the sound of this recipe, I tried a dish similar to this at a potluck dinner and loved it, but had no recipe afterwards. I just have a quick question regarding lentils, will canned lentils word in place of dry lentils if they are drained? Thanks

  27. DJ says

    I found this recipe a little while ago, and gave it to my husband to try – he likes cooking easy meals that don’t take too much time/effort! This is now one of his go-to recipes and we both love it!

    It’s healthy and he adds a bunch of veggies into the mix too – whatever we have in the fridge, usually he adds broccoli, onion and kale. It’s really yum! It’s super customizable too in terms of spices and extra ingredients.

  28. Jen says

    Oh my goodness. I came across this recipe while searching for a recipe to satisfy my recent lentil craving. The reviews are not lying – this recipe is AMAZING! Absolutely divine. It’s my new favourite pasta dish. So easy to make, so hearty, sweet and spicy and just damn delicious.

    I only had plain tomato sauce, so I added an extra sprinkle of oregano and chilli flakes plus a pinch of onion and garlic powder too.

    Thank you for making my Friday night a whole lot better! YUM! x

  29. Cat says

    Really enjoyed this, will be adding lentils into spaghetti sauce from now on. Did a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes instead of sauce and paste as that’s what I had on hand. Otherwise no changes. Delish!

  30. Randall Shepherd says

    I make variations of pasta and legumes and thought that I was a freak. Not anymore. Keep them coming. Better than most baked meats!

  31. Julia says

    So delicious! I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I was looking for a recipe to use my red lentils and I LOVE pasta. I did not include the crushed tomatoes, and I added some mushrooms (because they are about to go bad). I served it over super green pasta (a new variety of rotini pasta which has different green veggies in it). I also served with some roasted cauliflower because I have been craving them. My new go-to pasta sauce. I wonder if I can add some more tomato sauce and cook the lentils in the pot.

  32. Sigga says

    I make this all the time and everybody loves it! It’s filling, flavour full and easy :D Love adding a sprinkle of this and that, like fresh spinach, some nuts, mushrooms, anything I can think of. A staple in my house and a good one. Keep it coming!

  33. Corey says

    Made this tonight! Had a hunch I’d want more, so doubled the recipe. I omitted the sweetener and it turned out great! Served with Jovial brand gluten free rice pasta. The lentil sauce made five servings (what I would consider anyway). Thanks for this recipe!!

  34. Danielle says

    I’m talking to the meat eaters now. And the people trying to leave meat in their past. This is the recipe you need to try. It is healthy and satisfying and feels indulgent. And you won’t miss the meat! Also teenager approved!

  35. Carlos says

    Fantastic, I will be making this a lot, thank you!

    I used dried oregano and basal and used just a pinch of each, 1 Tbsp seemed like a lot!

  36. Patryk says

    A really nice variation on pasta with tomato sauce. Added some toasted sunflower seeds and they were a great addition.

  37. SaraS says

    This recipe is forgiving – I multiplied it by approximation and just dumped in a can of tomato paste (no tomato sauce) and added water. Came out delicious! Great in its own, over pasta, or scooped up with (gluten free) bread

  38. Lisa says

    Such a delicious recipe Dana, like always! :) It even worked with green lentils, sooo yummy. Definitely planning to make such a recipe for my blog as well. Love your blog and as well your food photography school. I recently started my own blog using your photography school and tips you provide on your blog. I’m so thankful, it’s really helping a lot. Maybe you have time to check it out.

  39. Lacey says

    I made this tonight for dinner and it turned out great. I used green lentils, and next time I would definitely cook them longer before adding to the sauce. But overall it was easy to make and very delicious! It is also very filling.

  40. Jessi Summers says

    If you use Stevia as the sweetener of choice, how much would you recommend? Has anyone tried this? Going to take a stab at it using Stevia this weekend. :)

    • Jessi Summers says

      It ended up being -next- weekend instead, but this was very good! I used baker’s Stevia as a straight substitute and used brown rice pasta. Would definitely make again!

  41. Hannah says

    I’ve made this a couple of times… and will definitely make it again. It’s very tasty, easy, cheap and filling! I also added some smoked paprika in the sauce and my boyfriend asked me whether there’s sausage in it….

  42. Nancy says

    This looks like a meal I can make in a hurry; both for camping but also on an upcoming disaster recovery trip. due to food allergies, I will just leave out the cheese

      • wayne says

        red lentils have 1.1. gram of protein per tablespoon…so 1/2 of this recipe (one serving) would have 4 tablespoons (one quarter cup) of protein…. equaling 4.4 grams of protein. No?

  43. Miriam Bridges says

    The first time I made this, I was multi-tasking toooo much and added 3 TBSP salt instead of sugar to the double recipe I was making. Totally inedible!!!! But I tried again, and it was well worth it! It was great! No salt this time :) -plenty of saltiness from the tomato sauce, and less chili flakes to keep it mild for the kids. My 1 and 3 year olds both loved it and so did my husband and I! Thanks for the great recipe.

  44. C.R.W. says

    I made this with crushed tomatoes and added extra diced tomatoes. I loved it. It was so filling and leftovers were great. I will definitely make it again.

  45. Amy says

    Do you think I could make this as a cassserole? I could mix up the sauce and pasta and use some of the vegan parmesan cheese and warm it in the oven….thoughts? I LOVE your new book. :)

  46. Ida says

    Just made this, and it was amazing. Substituted dried lentils for tinnes (cause lazyness) and omitted a thing or two but in any case a great recipe, will make again soon!

  47. Maria says

    Made this today for thanksgiving (Canadian one) and it was pretty good! I added more chilli flakes though to give it more spice and I’m proud to say it turned out well! It’s definitely a dish that makes you full pretty fast and I think it’s due to the addition of the lentils. But this is fine since it means you’re consuming less carbs in one go ;)

  48. Laura says

    Yet ANOTHER WINNER from Minimalist Baker! My 13 year old daughter texed me to ‘cook something vegan’ for her and her vegan friend, so I knew just where to go for ideas. I made this with Trader Joe’s rice and quinoa pasta and it was a hit. I made it non-spicy for the girls, so the only change I made was leaving out the red pepper flakes. I will be making this again for sure!

  49. Karine says

    Okay, so this recipe was my first time using lentils ever, and I’m happy to say I’m hooked! They gave the sauce such an amazing texture and the dish a punch of protein. I also initially sauteed some broccoli and mushrooms with the garlic before adding in the tomato sauce, and wilted in some kale towards the end for some more veg. I was heavy-handed with the red chili flakes, but I enjoyed the kick! Thanks for the great recipe; it’s gonna be a definite staple.

  50. Leaf says

    Think I may have already voiced my opinion on this pasta but just in case, it’s the yummiest stuff in the world. 5 stars. I’m working on memorizing the recipe.

  51. LMC says

    This was filling and satisfying and an easy weeknight meal for my family. The only thing I changed was toning the heat down and using TJ’s whole wheat rotini instead of gluten free pasta.

  52. Danna says

    I was really impressed by this. Admittedly I had low expectations since lentils in pasta sounded slightly unappealing. But decided to give it a try and WOW, was so delicious, husband and three year old agreed!

  53. KayT says

    My husband and I loved this recipe! I’ve never put lentils in tomato sauce before. I like the meatiness it gives to the dish. Glad I doubled it, so we could eat delicious leftovers the next day. I used whole wheat pasta because I’m not gluten free. Instead of the sugar, I mixed in about a cup of frozen peas in the last minutes of cooking, I’ve found this works to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

  54. Madelyn says

    So warming, comforting, and filling. My husband said this was the best pasta I’ve ever made! It’ll definitely be on regular rotation from now on.

  55. Laura says

    This has quickly become my favourite meal. I make it at least once a week! It is so filling and the lentils really take on a bolognese texture and taste. It is deeeeelish.

    I have been gluten free for almost three years, and have decided to go back to being vegetarian (and vegan as much as I can). Your blog has been amazing and I use it daily. Thank you so much for making the transition back to vegetarian so simple Dana. I can’t wait to try everything on here!

  56. Sarah says

    Made this last night for a quick after church meal! The whole family loved it. Teamed it with a GF pasta. We skipped the crushed red pepper in the sauce because my tot doesn’t like things too spicy but we sprinkled a bit in top of our own plates. So delicious.

  57. Ana @ Ana's Rocket Ship says

    I love how:

    1. I have everything in to make this
    2. When I’ve made it so many times that I’ve used up all of the ingrediants- they’re all cheap enough that I don’t have to even think about getting more in
    3. I don’t have to worry about soaking/cooking beans
    4. It’s got a natural source of vegan protein
    5. It’s so good for you
    6. It’s perfect for all year round

    I do not love about this:

    1. I might not eat pasta any other way again
    2. I might not eat dinner any other way again

  58. Hannah says

    I love this!!! AH. I am so excited you made a spicy red pasta sauce recipe!!! NOMZ. I added a can of diced tomatoes and a little less lentils and it was DELICIOUS. This will definitely be a staple recipe for me. I also highly recommend trying with spaghetti squash, It was great :)

  59. Amberley says

    imply Uh-maz-ing! I’m a time crunched engineering student living in a tiny four person apartment, with an awkward little kitchen. And yet meal prep Sunday rolled around and I said to myself, “I need something SPICY this week!”. Low and behold, Dana came through for me ❤. As always!
    I followed the recipe, except I ended up doubling the chili flakes at the end (yummmm). I did use chopped grape tomatoes, and only 1tbsp of maple syrup. I nearly omitted it due to sugar sensitivity, but I’m glad I added it! It really helps balance all the wonderful flavors. I highly recommend including it if you can tolerate it. I accidentally overcooked my lentils :( my calc was all consuming I guess! But the recipe is very forgiving and it was still so full of texture. In the end I topped Costco’s Edamame spaghetti noodles with 1/3rd of the recipe and it was wonderful! So much protein! Which is always a struggle for me. Thank you for your wonderful blog xoxo

  60. Marie Oyegun says

    Hi Dana,
    I made this recipe and it is simply delicious, filling, comforting… Loved it and will make it again! Your website is so so so awesome. Thank you and keep up the good work :)

  61. Maggie D says

    Made this dish with my boyfriend (a serious carnivore and spice aficionado) last night. We were both extremely satisfied and full after eating much less than the serving size. The spice level was perfect for both of us! Thanks for sharing!

  62. Cate says

    Another delicious recipe!

    I used half roasted cauliflower and half noodles for the pasta base and it was amazing. I will start using lentils in all my pasta sauces, thanks Dana!

  63. Jeanine says

    This sauce is soooo delicious! I can’t wait to make it with fresh tomatoes from the garden this summer. #veganlove

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Absolutely! I swap those in when I’m out of red. They just take a little longer to cook in my experience. Good luck!

  64. Krista says

    I just made this and it was sooooo good! I used organic edamame noodles and I loved it. I also used a 15 oz. can of organic fire roasted tomatoes instead of the tomato sauce. I added more water to adjust the sauce; it came out chunky and still great.

    On a side note, I’ve tried out a handful of the recipes from this site and every single one is a winner. Thank you, Dana for making my vegan transition so easy!

  65. Danielle says

    Ooookay. This is amazing. I am devouring a bowl as I type this and I cannot believe how delicious it is. Wow!! Thank you!

  66. Kerstin says

    I came, I saw, I loved!
    Thank you for this recipe. I made it for my tea tonight and it turned out great (maybe a bit heavy on the chili flakes but that’s what you get for letting your 12-yo measure the spices :-D )
    I did put in a bit more tomato sauce than in the recipe but then I like my pasta nice and saucy.

    Will have to try more of your recipes – thanks for sharing with us.

    :-)

  67. Jeff @ Savvy Oven says

    Haven’t thought to combine pasta with lentils, because I supposed it will be a bit too heavy. I’ve never been more wrong! It was damn delicious!

  68. Gemma says

    Just (semi*) made this and it was amazing! I can’t believe I never added lentils to red sauce before!

    I made a big batch of red sauce over the weekend so I used that instead of your recipe and added the lentils in. Amazing! The lentils basically are invisible in the sauce but they add a nice texture and heartiness. I am not a mom but I could see this recipe would be great for parents of picky kids – it is so hard to tell the lentils are there.

  69. Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade says

    Ooooh my, Dana! My love for all things lentil will never expire. You’re a genius! I can’t wait to make this for dinner tonight. Love all the plant protein :) My husband is sure to delight that pasta won’t be “green” this week! … might have to add red chard though, hehe.

      • Rob says

        Using fresh blend of tomatoes that are in season will achieve a sweeter taste as well. As opposed to just using canned tomato sauce.

      • Stephen Barry says

        Curious why there is the desire for sugar or any sweeteners in regular meals? It seems as though everything has sugar now. It’s even difficult to buy bread without sugar. Great recipe BTW.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Sugar balances both salty and sour flavors in dishes and brings out, but if you’d prefer, leave it out (or use coconut sugar as I suggest). We’re with you on choosing healthier options, and we have a variety of recipes that have low or no sugar!

        • Vegan4life says

          For people wanting to balance flavors without sugar, they could use 100% apple juice, or a bit of applesauce. Perhaps even buzzed up sweet corn. All off these will add fiber, are natural, and will disappear into the texture of the sauce. Adding sweet peppers might help too. Maple syrup, could be substituted for sugar as well. If only a TBS is used, only shouldn’t taste a maple flavor.

          This is my go to pasta recipe. :)

          I use Italian Seasoning,, instead of the separate Basil, Oregano, etc.

    • Lil says

      A little sugar is good for the brain. I know these recipes will be GREAT! I scan the internet for recipes that I can easily make changes, for my family can’t take hot spices, and these are good without meat. I use a little sugar and ACV. Sugar does not cause diabetes. Neither does what a person eat effects everyone alike, such as diabetics. Anyone can overdo it, but in a recipe like this, it just makes them more taste. Though I grow stevia, I do use sugar or other sweeteners at times.
      Your doing a good job, Dana. I don’t usually make comments. But this type of recipe is what I’m searching for. Thank you!

  70. Emilie @ Emilie Eats says

    Red lentils are the best! I love just cooking them down plain or over quinoa, but over pasta sounds so comforting. That sauce tho!!!

  71. amy_lynn14@hotmail.com says

    Definitely trying this!! Already have all the ingredients at home :) While I don’t follow a gluten free diet, I find when I eat gluten free pasta (brown rice is my fav) my tummy doesn’t get “bloaty” and I don’t feel tired and sluggish afterwards!

  72. Samantha says

    This looks delicious and if it is anything like your Simple Chickpea Bolognese recipe, my boyfriend and I will be sure to love this one just as much! Can’t wait to try it :)

  73. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says

    I’m hyperglycemic so if I just eat pasta, my blood sugar plummets and I plop to the floor. You get shaky and are miserable. But the lentils, that helps regulate my crazy blood sugar and allows me to eat something like pasta! And you have loaded flavor in here although with your permission, I’ll add a few more garlic cloves to keep me healthy. Great recipe as always, you make eating vegan seem easy!!

    • Bruce B. A. West says

      Hi Laura,
      Try changing your pasta noodles, too. If there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, they have awesome quinoa spiral pasta noodles, and even red lentil penne and black bean noodles, too. They’re all great. They might help.