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Hearty Lentil Spaghetti

“You won't miss any meat in this spaghetti sauce,” writes Marie Bender of Henderson, Nevada. Packed full of lentils and Italian flavors, this sauce is thick, hearty and zesty.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Cook: 70 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups dried lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  • In a large saucepan coated with cooking spray, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the lentils, broth, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, basil and oregano. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Serve with lentil sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup: 362 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 2mg cholesterol, 764mg sodium, 65g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 14g fiber), 19g protein.

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  • Rachel
    Jul 23, 2020

    I've made this twice now. My grandson loved it! We used some of the leftovers for nachos. This is in my "make again" file. Maybe I'll feel adventurous one day and try it Linda's way, with the ground cloves.

  • Mike
    Dec 29, 2019

    Very average sauce, was expecting something different, the acidity of the tomatoes is very intense and over powers every other flavour in the sauce, recommend using a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to take the acidity out. Very disappointed

  • Linda
    Sep 18, 2017

    I've been making this recipe (or close to it) since my vegetarian hippie days in the late 60s. I don't usually measure and sometimes add various spices and a bit of grated carrot in with the onion). The other things I do is: I add 1/2-1 tsp. ground cloves. There is a crazy story behind this addition. My mom didn't teach me to cook and if she ever used garlic, it was powdered. So when I saw "garlic clove," I had no idea what they meant. I knew about garlic and I knew about the cloves one uses in baking, but i had no idea what a garlic clove was. So, I just added both! Later, I discovered what a "clove of garlic" was but I liked the recipe with clove in it, lol, so I kept it. The other thing I do unless I'm in a real hurry is that I put the tomato/lentil combo (after cooking) in the blender and so that it turns into a kind of sauce. It must be cooled first. My husband prefers I only puree part of it; I prefer it all blended. Finally, I use egg noodles. The original recipe I saw called this "Lentil Sauce over Noodles."This is one of the few vegetarian recipes I've continued to use frequently through the years since going back to eating some meat. It is also my "go to" recipe for vegetarian house guests, and although admittedly, it isn't very fancy,, vegetarian friends always like it although I've had to use macaroni or other noodles fro those who don't eat eggs.BTW, I have frozen the sauce many times and it was fine. I assume the whole lentils would be fine frozen as well.

  • hkpepin
    Jan 20, 2017

    The sauce is delicious and incredibly filling. I added a few things to my portion, including capers, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. So tasty! My kids both ate their spagetti without complaint with a little parmesan cheese on top. I would definitely make this again. I also wonder how it would work if frozen.

  • mdbull4
    Jan 13, 2017

    This is delicious! I did alter it a bit by adding a small amount of fennel, sage, rosemary, garlic powder, & onion powder. These seasonings give it a sausage flavor. Even my picky eater liked it & had seconds!

  • Briadona
    Jan 3, 2014

    Made this today. Good flavor. After you add the tomatoes only needs to cook about 25 minutes more. Otherwise it would be too dry even with the covered cook time. Also added about 1 1/2 cups pasta water to thin out slightly after combining with the pasta.

  • bmlink627
    Nov 23, 2013

    This was easy and surprisingly tasty as heck. I highly suggest this meal.

  • jmarschel
    Jan 9, 2012

    Fantastic recipe! My whole family loves it including my 6 year old son. It is one of his favorite dishes.

  • vbange
    Jan 5, 2012

    This is a good homecooked recipe. We eat a lot of lentils and this was a welcomed change to our typical recipes. Not something I would serve to company, but hearty and tasty on a cold January night. Kids liked it too!

  • agnes24
    Jan 28, 2011

    I never cared for lentils until I found this recipe while searching for some meatless meals. Even my picky husband loves it! I have made it 3 times so far and definitely will make again. We serve it with whole-wheat thick spaghetti or linguini because it is a heavy sauce.