Test Kitchen: Lentil Bolognese

Easy, healthy recipes tested for you weekly at the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen

Kelley Magill, Graduate Dietetics Student, SAR ’20

About the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen: We’re all about making healthy taste delicious here at Sargent Choice.  That’s why we’ve teamed up with faculty-in-residence Dr. Karen Jacobs to offer students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to trial and taste-test new Sargent Choice healthy recipes each week at the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen.  Dr. Karen Jacobs invites students of all majors (not just nutrition) into her home on Boston University’s campus to cook up a recipe developed by Sargent Choice Registered Dietitian, Jennifer Culbert.  Feedback from the weekly Test Kitchen gets incorporated into future Sargent Choice recipes and helps shape the face of healthy dining at BU.

The Sargent Choice Test Kitchen met for the second week this semester and prepared some delicious, savory vegetarian lentil bolognese. It’s even entirely plant-based, healthy, and hearty!

What we liked:

  • The texture of the bolognese was similar to meat bolognese that we’re all familiar with
  • The spices and flavors
  • Very quick and simple preparation
  • Delicious way to enjoy lentils, especially if you’ve never tried them before!

What we would change:

  • Longer cook-time for the lentils to make them softer (although some people loved them crunchy)
  • Less shredded carrots! When multiplying the recipe by 8, we used about 16 large carrots
  • Omit the sugar because it was not needed

Nutrients that you’re getting from this recipe:

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B6 (and other B’s too)
  • Selenium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Sargent Choice Lentil Bolognese

Recipe modified from https://minimalistbaker.com
Yield: Approximately 4 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium shallot (minced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2-3 medium carrots (finely shredded, ~1 cup)
½ teaspoon salt
26 ounces favorite low-sodium marinara sauce
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar — we omitted this!
½ cup water
¾ cup RED lentils (important to use red)
4 ounces whole wheat pasta


  1. Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, shallot, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly softened and fragrant. Turn down heat if browning.
  2. Add carrots and salt and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add marinara sauce and stir to coat.
  3. Add red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, sugar, water, and lentils. Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low/medium-low and continue until lentils are tender – stirring occasionally – about 20 minutes. Add a bit more water if mixtures gets too thick.
  4. Once lentils are cooked, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste, sugar for sweetness, red pepper flake for heat, or herbs for flavor balance.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, cooking, prepare noodles of choice.
  6. Serve over whole wheat pasta. Enjoy!