Red Lentil Marinara Sauce

My dad's words to me after his first bite: "JANIE THIS IS INCREDIBLE! --Pause/in awe-- Seriously Janie this is phenom!" And FYI he doesn't say that about every dinner. If he didn't like it, he would politely eat it of course, but those words won't come out of him!

During my family's 10 day plant-based eating, this was one of the very successful and well-liked-by-all dishes that I prepared for us. Plus pasta is just da bomb diggity. My parents even said they felt like they were eating a meat pasta! This sauce is packed with lentils for a protein source and veggies that make it a great thick & chunky tomato sauce that will actually really fill you up! Lots of fiber goin on in this dish. Fabulous for those colons.

Yields about 6-8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (plain diced tomatoes will work fine too)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I used no salt added)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional...but highly recommended :D)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Pasta for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, green peppers, and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for one more minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth, wine, lentils, and honey. Stir to incorporate. Heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer sauce for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  3. Stir in the parsley and basil. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve with any kind of pasta or zucchini noodles (AKA Zoodles!) Zoodles are just spiralized zucchinis FYI that can be used as a pasta replacement.
  4. Keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

{Recipe adapted from Kitchen Treaty)