Veal + Lentil Bolognese

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Do you have a few hours with nowhere to go? Grab your biggest pot and make this Bolognese – you’ll be glad you did!

I wish I had a story to tell you about this recipe, but I really don’t.

I made it last Saturday, which was rainy and cold. We stayed in and let it simmer all afternoon while we did work around the house – Bolognese is simple to make, but it needs to cook for a few hours in order to thicken up and let the flavors develop.

It smelled absolutely amazing while it cooked; we kept wandering into the kitchen to check up on it. It felt like an eternity had passed by the time we sat down to eat, but it was well worth it.

Bolognese has a reputation for being indulgent, but I lightened it up by replacing some of the meat with lentils. It might seem weird to eat lentils with pasta since both are starchy, but trust me… they have the perfect texture and earthy taste to make this dish work.

If you close your eyes while you eat, you might even forget they’re there.

And if you want an even healthier bolognese sauce, check out this mushroom and lentil bolognese.

This recipe makes a ton, so go ahead and clear out some space in your freezer. I divided the leftovers into smaller portions to use for quick weeknight meals when I’m too tired to cook. I’m also planning to use some of it in a lasagna!


Veal + Lentil Bolognese 1

Veal + Lentil Bolognese

This lighter take on Bolognese is perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It makes a huge pot (about 10 cups of sauce), but the leftovers can be frozen for a quick weeknight meal. Serve over thick noodles, with a sprinkle of parmesan and a glass of good red wine. If you don't like veal, substitute lean ground pork.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 1 Carrot diced
  • 2 Celery Ribs finely chopped
  • 1 pound Ground Veal
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Green Lentils dry
  • 2 28 ounce cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Skim Milk

Salt and Pepper

  • Pasta for serving


  • Melt the butter in a 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot set over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery; cook until they begin to release their liquid – about 8 minutes.
  • Add the veal. Cook, stirring to help break the meat up, until it is no longer pink – about 5 minutes. Add the broth; scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the lentils and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If the sauce begins to thicken too much, loosely cover with a lid for the second hour.)
  • Warm the milk, either in a second pot or by microwaving it for 45 seconds. Stir into the sauce; season with salt and pepper. Simmer an additional 30 minutes.
  • To serve, gently ladle 3/4 cup sauce over each serving of pasta.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!



Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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4 thoughts on “Veal + Lentil Bolognese”

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was wonderful! It had a great earthy flavor, the texture was amazing, and it smelled so good all afternoon. My hubby has a cold, so he needed something warm and comforting. Thanks for another great recipe!

  2. I truly enjoy your sight. I want to stat a cooking blog. Give me any ideas. I love the things you put out there and I have made many of the. Wouold love to get in contact with other foodies.

  3. Lauren,
    I swear lentils multiply like rabbits when I put them in a dish. I’m glad to see a mere cup is called for in your Bolognese, because if it makes a lot, then in my house it will make a metric ton. I’m not sure what it is with me and lentils.


5 from 1 vote

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