Lentil Pasta

This easy lentil pasta recipe is a satisfying, comforting vegetarian meal. A rich tomato and lentil sauce coats chewy ribbons of al dente pasta.

Lentil pasta

Ok, pasta lovers, you need this lentil pasta recipe in your winter rotation! It’s budget-friendly, easy to make, and comforting in the way that only pasta with red sauce can be.

Though this lentil pasta recipe is full of Italian flavors (marinara! balsamic! Parmesan!), it’s not a take on any specific Italian pasta dish. Rather, it’s something I love to cook when I want a hearty, flavorful pasta dinner, but I don’t want to go to the store or spend hours in the kitchen. This lentil pasta recipe comes together with basic pantry ingredients, and you can have it on the table in right around 30 minutes. I think you’re going to love it!

Lentil pasta recipe ingredients

Lentil Pasta Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this lentil pasta recipe:

  • Lentils, of course! They pack this pasta with nutrients like fiber and plant-based protein. I like to use French green lentils for this recipe because they retain a nice bite when cooked. In a pinch, regular green or brown lentils will work here too. DON’T sub red lentils–their texture is too soft and mushy for this recipe.
  • Pasta – Pappardelle is my noodle of choice. I love the wide, chewy ribbons in the hearty lentil pasta sauce. If you can’t find it, tagliatelle is a great sub. Or, if you’re vegan, and you need to use egg-free pasta, swap in fettuccine or linguine. Gluten-free? Use your favorite gluten-free pasta!
  • Onion, carrots, and garlic – They create the sauce’s flavorful base.
  • Cremini mushrooms – For rich, savory complexity.
  • Tamari and balsamic vinegar – They bring out the mushrooms’ umami flavor.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil –  For sautéing the veggies.
  • Marinara sauce – I like to make my own with simple ingredients like crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes. In a pinch, store-bought works too.
  • Parmesan cheese – For topping the pasta. It adds nutty, salty richness to the final dish. If you’re vegan, use my vegan Parmesan cheese instead!
  • Fresh parsley – Sprinkle it over the pasta for a fresh, vibrant finish!
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Sauteing mushrooms, carrots, and onions in white skillet

How to Make Lentil Pasta

This lentil pasta recipe is so simple to make! Here are a couple tips to make it especially quick and easy:

  • Use pre-made marinara. As much as I love to make my marinara sauce from scratch, doing so adds a whole 30 minutes to this recipe…NOT what I want on a busy weeknight. If I’m lucky, I’ll have some leftover marinara on hand in the freezer, but if I don’t, I use store-bought here. Rao’s is my favorite brand. It makes this recipe super flavorful and amazingly fast!
  • Keep cooked lentils on hand in the freezer. They’ll come in handy not only for this lentil pasta recipe, but for grain bowls and salads as well! If you don’t have cooked lentils handy, start this recipe by cooking 1/2 cup dry lentils according to this instructions in this post.

With these components ready, the rest of the recipe is straightforward:

Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and toss it with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

Next, sauté the veggies. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are tender, another 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer. Stir in the balsamic and tamari, followed by the lentils and marinara. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is well combined and heated through, 2 minutes or so.

Finally, mix in the pasta. Add it to the skillet and toss to coat in the sauce. Season to taste…

…and serve with parsley and Parmesan cheese!

Lentil pasta in bowl with fork

What to Serve with Lentil Pasta

We often enjoy this lentil pasta recipe for dinner on its own. But, if you’re craving a larger meal, you’re in luck! It pairs perfectly with all sorts of side dishes. Lean into the comfort food factor and serve it with garlic bread or focaccia, or add some color to your plate with a veggie side dish. It would go nicely with any of these:

Enjoy!

Lentil pasta recipe

More Easy Pasta Recipes

If you love this lentil pasta, try one of these easy pasta dishes next:

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Lentil Pasta

rate this recipe:
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4
This easy lentil pasta recipe is a hearty, delicious vegetarian dinner! A flavorful tomato and lentil sauce coats chewy ribbons of al dente pasta.

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • cups cooked green or French green lentils, from ½ cup dry
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese or vegan Parmesan, for serving
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, and several grinds of pepper and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mushrooms are tender.
  • Stir in the balsamic and tamari, then add the lentils and marinara. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is well-combined and heated through.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to combine. Portion onto plates and serve with Parmesan and fresh parsley for garnish.

27 comments

5 from 21 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Rebecca
    07.07.2024

    5 stars
    Just made this tonight and it was amazing. I didn’t have any balsamic or tamari but still came out super flavorful! For sure adding this to the rotation!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      07.12.2024

      Hi Rebecca, I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Meghan
    06.16.2024

    I love this recipe but it made a huge portion for what we need, is this something that will freeze well?

  3. Barb
    04.28.2024

    I have just cooked and already ate it and it was lovely. One of the best pastas I ever tried. My other half was sceptical due to lack of meat but he almost ate the whole thing and was extremely disappointed it tasted so well 😂😂😂 thank you so much for this recipe. It’s going to be a regular meal for us now.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.29.2024

      Hi Barb, I’m so glad it was such a hit!

  4. Kayla
    02.16.2024

    Can I use soy sauce instead of tamari?

  5. Cindy
    01.10.2024

    Is there nutrition calorie info on this?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.12.2024

      Hi Cindy, we don’t calculate nutrition facts for our recipes unfortunately. To get an estimate, I recommend using an online nutrition calculator like MyFitnessPal.

  6. Oliver
    10.13.2023

    Could I use yellow lentils instead?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      10.13.2023

      Hi Oliver, I recommend using green, French green, or black lentils for this recipe because they’ll hold their shape best in the sauce.

  7. Megan
    08.07.2023

    5 stars
    I made this exactly as written and it was such a great dinner! It is a large amount of food, and will probably be 5-6 servings for us if you’re meal planning.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      08.11.2023

      Hi Megan, I’m so glad you loved the pasta!

  8. Julie
    07.03.2023

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, I also made your marinara recipe. So good, so much flavor 😋

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.03.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  9. Laura
    03.03.2023

    5 stars
    Delicious! Satisfied both my meat eater and my vegan!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.09.2023

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  10. Babz
    02.27.2023

    5 stars
    This is a wonderful, meatless, high protein pasta dish. I may never make a Bolognese sauce again. Works well with any size pasta, thank you for another great recipe.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.03.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  11. Jan G.
    02.24.2023

    5 stars
    My husband and I both loved this dish! I made it with homemade marinara, and topped it with a homemade vegan Parmesan. It was oh, so good! Thank you for another winner!

  12. Candice T.
    02.08.2023

    5 stars
    This was so good! I used Rao’s Marinara to speed things up. We don’t eat pasta often, but it reminded us of lasagna.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2023

      Hi Candice, I’m so glad you loved the pasta!

  13. Tracie T.
    02.05.2023

    So good! I added some walnuts for a little texture. My kid declared it one of the best meals I’ve made! Definitely a keeper!

  14. Maribeth Colberg
    02.02.2023

    5 stars
    Saw this on your IG post this morning and made it for dinner tonight. It’s really delicious! Loved how thick and flavorful the sauce is. It really mimicks an all day Bolognese, but in a healthy, vegan (used dairy free cheese), hearty way. Definitely going into our pasta night rotation!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!!

  15. Jack
    01.25.2023

    5 stars
    This delicious Lentil Pasta recipe is a great way to enjoy a healthy, protein-packed meal! The lentils provide a hearty, earthy flavor that is balanced out by the creamy sauce. Loved your recipe!!

    – Jack from Skilletguy.com

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.27.2023

      Hi Jack, I’m so glad you enjoyed the pasta!

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.