Zucchini Pasta with Lentil Bolognese (30 minutes!)

Raise your hand if you’re always three years behind trends like me (wave it around, girl).

I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s cool or not to wear flare jeans. Please advise in the comments.

Veggie noodles have been a “thing” since like 2007, but I’m just now getting on board.

Who wants to spiralize things with me?!

Here’s the thing about spiralized noodles. It requires a tool, as in another thing to have lying around your kitchen and we tend to be anti “stuff.” We like to keep our kitchen minimal, as you might’ve guessed. (Get it, Minimalist Baker? Sensing a trend? You’re quick, I knew you’d get it.)

However, when your pal sends you her new cookbook and your very own spiralizer to try out, you kind of sort of have to use it. And since the rest of the free world seems to have one in their kitchen – including my mom, my sister, and probably all of my aunts – it’s about time I get on board.

The cool thing about spiralizing noodles – besides vegetables morphing into curly q’s – is that there are options:

You can buy a countertop spiralizer,
A handheld spiralizer,
Or use a good old-fashioned vegetable peeler like I’ve done for the past several years.

And when in doubt, just use pasta. You simply can’t lose with pasta.

Origins of Bolognese

Apparently, spaghetti bolognese is not authentically Italian (source). Who knew!? But a similar dish, Ragù alla Bolognese, is from Italy and is served on noodles such as tagliatelle rather than spaghetti.

It’s thought that Ragù alla Bolognese was created in the 1700s by a chef named Alberto Alvisi. Then in the 1800s, it began appearing in cookbooks from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. But the official recipe was not registered until 1982. You can read more about the history of bolognese here.

Zucchini Pasta with Lentil Bolognese

This recipe comes together in 30 minutes, you guys. That’s big! Just think: a flavorful, hearty, protein- and fiber-rich dinner on the table in half an hour.

Anyone can do it! Even you. Yes, you. You know I’m talking to you.

The marinara is hearty and rich, and includes carrots for texture and natural sweetness and lentils for plant-based protein (nearly 17 g protein per serving!). Serve over fresh or lightly sautéed zucchini noodles and you’re good to go.

I hope you all LOVE this meal! It’s:

Vegetable forward
& Crazy delicious

Make this on nights when you need something hearty and healthy on the table when you don’t have a ton of time to spare. Or when you’re hosting folks with sensitive diets and need to please a crowd. Or just because. This dish is so good it’s likely going to become a mainstay in our dinner rotation.

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!

Zucchini Pasta with Lentil Bolognese

A hearty red sauce with lentils and carrots over zucchini noodles! A flavorful, healthy, 30-minute plant-based meal.Author Minimalist Baker Print SAVE SAVED

4.86 from 107 votes Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Servings 3 (Servings)Course EntreeCuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, VeganFreezer Friendly 1 monthDoes it keep? 3 Days

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US Customary – Metric


1 Tbsp olive oil1 medium shallot (minced // or sub 1/3 cup diced onion)4 cloves garlic (minced)2-3 medium carrots (finely shredded // 1 cup or 110 g as original recipe is written // I use the grater attachment on a food processor)1 pinch sea salt (plus more to taste)26 ounces favorite marinara sauce (or sub tomato sauce* // I prefer Trader Joe’s brand Tomato Basil)1 pinch red pepper flake1 tsp dried basil1 tsp dried oregano1 Tbsp coconut sugar (for sweetness // plus more to taste // or sub stevia)1/2 cup water3/4 cup dry split red lentils* (rinsed and drained)2 medium zucchini (rinsed and both ends sliced off)

FOR SERVING optional

Vegan parmesan Cheese


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.Add carrots and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add marinara sauce and stir to coat.Add red pepper flake, basil, oregano, coconut sugar, water, and lentils. Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low/medium-low, cover, and continue cooking until lentils are tender – stirring occasionally – about 17-20 minutes. Add a bit more water if mixture gets too thick.Once lentils are cooked, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, red pepper flake for heat, or herbs for flavor balance.While the sauce is cooking, spiralize your zucchini into noodles using a tool such as this or this. Alternatively you can use a mandolin or vegetable peeler, or simply cook up your favorite pasta.Serve the pasta over noodles of choice (I opted for raw zucchini noodles – so good!) and garnish with desired toppings – I prefer Vegan Parmesan Cheese and red pepper flake.Sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in the freezer 1 month.


*4 cloves garlic yield ~2-Tbsp minced garlic
*Tomato sauce is generally pureed tomatoes with garlic, salt, and Italian spices.
*For extra tender lentils, you can soak them in cool water overnight or quick soak in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Then drain and proceed with the recipe.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*This recipe is not a traditional preparation of bolognese. It is our inspired, plant-based version served on zucchini noodles.

Nutrition (1 of 3 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 423 Carbohydrates: 60.7 g Protein: 16.9 g Fat: 15.4 g Saturated Fat: 2.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 5.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 945 mg Potassium: 1461 mg Fiber: 13.2 g Sugar: 19 g Vitamin A: 8095 IU Vitamin C: 70.8 mg Calcium: 157 mg Iron: 6.8 mg

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