Joe Wicks’ lentil Bolognese recipe

(1440 ratings)

This lentil Bolognese recipe by Joe Wicks takes only 45 minutes to make and serves two.

joe wicks lentil bolognese
(Image credit: Maja Smend)
  • Vegetarian
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories1124 Kcal56%
Sugar34.8 g39%
Fat37.9 g54%
Saturated Fat4.6 g23%
Salt0.51 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein45.9 g92%
Carbohydrates139.1 g54%
Salt0.51 gRow 7 - Cell 2

Joe Wicks’ lentil Bolognese is a hearty meat-free dinner the whole family will love and it only takes 15 minutes to prepare. 

Our collection of Joe Wicks recipes is full of family friendly meal inspiration and this pasta dish is sure to be a big hit with your little ones. You can batch cook it and freeze leftovers for another day. Joe serves it with thick ribbons of pappardelle pasta but you can use your favourite shapes.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 200g dried green lentils
  • Glass of red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 60g walnuts
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Cooked pasta of your choice
  • Grated cheese, to serve – optional




  1. Add the oil to a saucepan over a low heat. Tip in the chopped onion and carrots, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 6 minutes until mostly softened. Stir in the garlic and rosemary sprigs. Cook for another minute until it smells fragrant, then tip in the lentils.
  2. Give everything a good stir, then pour in the red wine. When most of the wine has bubbled off, chuck in the chopped tomatoes, then re-fill one of the tins with water and pour it in. Stir in the tomato puree then leave to cook for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the lentils are soft.
  3. When the lentils are nearly cooked, toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until lightly browned and smelling nutty. Allow to cool and roughly chop, then add them to the pan. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and season your Bolognese to taste, removing the rosemary sprigs.
  4. Serve with cooked pasta and, if you’re like me, loads of grated cheese on top!   This recipe was taken from Veggie Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks which is out now (Bluebird)

Top tip for making Joe Wicks’ lentil Bolognese

You can make the recipe ahead and store it in the fridge for two to three days. Reheat until piping hot before serving with your choice of pasta. Alternatively, you could use the Bolognese as a delicious jacket potato topping.

Continue reading below for more tips and tricks. 

Can I bulk out Bolognese with lentils?

If you’re not ready to go 100 per cent veggie, a good alternative is to use half meat and half lentils. You can also bulk out the mixture with lots of chopped veggies. Mushrooms are a great option because they have a meaty texture.

Can I use green lentils instead of red?

This recipe calls for green lentils but you could use red or brown lentils instead. Red and brown lentils will provide a different colour to the final dish and will likely take less time to cook. You can also use tinned lentils for an even quicker recipe but the flavour of the sauce may not be as intense as if cooking for the original time. 

What is a vegetarian substitute for Parmesan cheese?

Traditional Parmesan is made with animal rennet making it unsuitable for vegetarians. However, lots of supermarkets sell Italian-style hard cheeses which are suitable for vegetarians, so always check the label. Alternatively, although not very traditional, something like a grated mature cheddar also tastes great according to food writer, Jessica Ransom. 

Profile picture of Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom

"If you don't want to go fully meat-free. A good option is to use half mince and have lentils. You still get the meaty flavour but the lentils help to bulk it out and reduce the fat while still hitting your protein needs." 

Veggie Lean in 15: 15-minute Veggie Meals with Workouts View at Amazon

Veggie Lean in 15: 15-minute Veggie Meals with Workouts by Joe Wicks (Bluebird Main Market edition, £10.99) - View at Amazon

There are 99 more delicious flavour-packed veggie recipes in this book. Explore options like Smoky Sweet Potato Curry to speedy Green Turkish eggs. There’s longer recipes for when you have more time to cook and some sweet inspiration too. 

This this Joe Wicks chicken pie for an alternative Sunday feast or hearty mid-week option. If you fancy some more meat-free ideas, this Joe Wicks vegan chickpea curry is a cheap but delicious option. You might also want to read our tips on how to cook mince meat.  

This recipe was taken from Veggie Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks which is out now (Bluebird)

Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks aka ‘The Body Coach’ rose to fame after his Instagram videos started to go viral. With 15-minute recipes and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts to do at home, Joe quickly became one of the most followed personal trainers in the country.

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