Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese Sauce

This Lentil Bolognese Sauce can be made in no time with the help of your Instant Pot.

 

Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese Sauce can be made in no time with the help of your electric pressure cooker. Plus, it’s vegetarian and packed with protein & fiber.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to eat more pasta while still keeping my nutrition a bit on track too… That’s because I could seriously eat pasta every single day of my life…

I recently passed by a question on Facebook where someone asked: “If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?”

I started off on the right foot:

  1. Poke
  2. Ceviche

And then, my carb-loving, half Italian-blooded self came through:

3.   Pasta 

Seriously, I think I lived my entire high-school life eating pasta every day… My nana lived next door, and every day after school she would walk us over some of her pasta with sauce. So it’s only habit…

Here’s a pasta recipe that makes me feel a little better about things. It’s vegetarian, packed with fiber and nutrients, and even the pasta is gluten free. And, I made it all with the help of my Instant Pot. It seems whenever I’m cooking bean-based dishes lately, I always use the Instant Pot – It saves so much time, and I love how hands-free it makes the cooking process.

Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese Sauce can be made in no time with the help of your electric pressure cooker. It's vegetarian and packed with protein & fiber.

Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese Sauce can be made in no time with the help of your electric pressure cooker. It's vegetarian and packed with protein & fiber.

This Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese is loaded with veggies – Crimini mushrooms, carrots, celery, and tomatoes… And of course, I had to a glug or two of red wine…

Even though the Instant Pot makes things quicker, this lentil bolognese sauce will still take about 40 minutes from start to finish… Leaving you plenty of time to drink remaining red wine and start your pasta…

I like to serve this Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese over the pasta in big bowls topped with plenty of fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese and a sprinkling of fresh basil. Highly suggested for not only Meatless Monday, but any day of the week..

This Lentil Bolognese Sauce can be made in no time with the help of your Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese Sauce

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: instant pot lentil bolognese, lentil bolognese, vegetarian bolognese sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 400 kcal
Author: Erin

This Lentil Bolognese Sauce can be made in no time with the help of your Instant Pot.

Print

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 stalk celery finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped Crimini mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 cup dried lentils rinsed
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Barilla Gluten Free Penne cooked
  • Pecorino Romano cheese grated or shaved
  • Fresh basil chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Press the Sauté function key on your Instant Pot and heat the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Keep the lid off and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onions are clear and the vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and have released some liquid and the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate, let brown for 2-3 minutes. Add the red wine and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, let evaporate.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, water, and spices to the Instant Pot, close the steam release knob and set to manual for 20 minutes. Now is a good time to cook your pasta. When the Lentil Bolognese sauce is done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked pasta and top with grated cheese and fresh basil.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 400
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Wine Pairings for Lentil Bolognese Sauce: 

  • Try an authentic Italian red wine with this hearty lentil bolognese –  Chianti, Barolo and Teroldego are all great options.

 

 

 

More Instant Pot Recipes:

 

 

39 comments

  1. Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama

    As a mostly vegetarian, I like lentils, though 95% of the time I use them in soup. I should mix it up and try this – sounds like a delicious sauce!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Thanks Catherine – I’m a huge fan of lentils and have noticed that this blog is become overwhelmed with all the lentil recipes lately!!! Do you have any favorite soup recipes that you enjoy with them?

      Reply

  2. Meg

    4 stars
    This makes me want to get an Instant Pot! Love the idea of a bolognese made with lentils – such a great vegetarian option. I’m going to keep this in mind for the future.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I absolutely LOVE my Instant Pot and find myself using it so much more than I thought I would.

      Reply

  3. Renee @ The Good Hearted Woman

    It is finally starting to cool off, and I’m ready to pull my Instant Pot off the pantry shelf again. This looks delicious, Erin,

    Reply

  4. Jasmine

    3 stars
    I don’t have an instant pot, so I made this recipe on the stove. The flavor was right on, but for some reason, my lentils never became fully tender ( I bought the lentils today and ended up simmering the sauce for an hour). When I make this recipe again, I will increase the amount of mushrooms and minimize or eliminate the lentils.. I enjoyed the excuse to open a bottle of wine when the recipe only called for 1/3 cup 😉

    Reply

    1. Jan

      This was absolutely because you didn’t use the Instant Pot. Her timing on the recipes are because of the pressure cooker.

      Reply

  5. Catherine

    This looks amazing! I was curious if you had any suggestions for a mushroom substitute? Thank you!

    Reply

  6. PATRICIA GROVENGER

    5 stars
    As a Weight Watchers, I seem to love all the recipes, but wish you had nutritional counter menu..

    Reply

  7. Christina

    1 star
    I was very disappointed, I took all the time to prepare the meal and then got the “burn” error message on my instant pot. Thought maybe it was b/c I didn’t quite scrape everything off the bottom initially. Scraped it, added 1 cup broth to make sure there was enough liquid, tried again, and got the “burn” error message again. What a waste of 90 minutes.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so sorry to hear that Christina! I’ve never gotten a “burn” message on my Instant Pot… I’ve heard of others having this problem too though. No idea what might be causing it… I’m going to do some research!

      Reply

      1. Katelynn

        3 stars
        Exact same thing happened to me yesterday, and I was cooking for 15 people at a team retreat. Dinner was delayed by over an hour as I got the burn notice three times, and then eventually just simmered for 20minutes. Very frustrating. Flavours were amazing, but proportions did not work in the instant pot.

        Reply

        1. Erin

          I’m so sorry to hear that you and others are having this issue Katelynn. I’ve made this recipe several times and have had no issues. I’m going to test this out again very soon and see if I can figure out what may be happening. Thank you for the feedback.

          Reply

  8. Vicki

    5 stars
    Delicioso! I didn’t have any celery, tomato paste or basil (used dried oregano), but this still turned out very well. (No burning. I have the impression that Instant Pots may not all be calibrated equally.) I will certainly check out your other IP recipes.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So happy to hear that Vicki! I’m in love with my IP!

      Reply

    2. Deirdre

      4 stars
      I had this happen as well. Any idea about what could be happening? Thanks!

      Reply

  9. Jacqueline

    1 star
    I’m also frustrated. I have a brand new pressure cooker and I got a burn warning as well. It made a huge mess and I had to cook it on the stove. What kind of lentils did you use? They are many kinds maybe that’s the error?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so sorry Jacqueline – I used brown lentils. I’m definitely going to re-test this recipe. I’m so sorry that so many people are having issues with it.

      Reply

  10. Libby

    5 stars
    This was so good! I did get the burn notice once but opened the lid, really scraped the bottom well and pushed the bay leaf to the top so it wasn’t touching, it came right to presssure after that and cooked with no issues. Served with grated cheese over zucchini noodles. Will definitely go in the regular weekly dinner rotation!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that it worked out for you Libby! I’m still a bit confused by the burn error though. That shouldn’t be happening. I will be giving it another test out soon!

      Reply

  11. LAURA R.

    5 stars
    This has become a regular in our household. It’s so easy to make and oh so delicious. Family fave! Thank you Erin for sharing it with us.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that you liked it Laura! Cheers!

      Reply

  12. Brianna

    I would not recommend making this in a insta pot you will get the burn notification repeatedly huge waste of time

    Reply

  13. Viviana

    5 stars
    Hi Erin!

    I have made this recipe multiple times in my Instant Pot to great success! 🙂 I love lentils! 🙂

    Those getting a burn notice may have be not be adding enough “thin” liquid so when things are boiling, it thickens up too much and the IP shuts down. I do add more thin liquid (water/broth) myself to avoid this, Tomato paste thickens things up and once lentils start cooking, they also thicken the sauce. Also, deglazing needs a thin liquid. You use red wine and then specify that it be evaporated. I don’t drink alcohol so I use water. Evaporating a thin liquid will create a “dry” bottom leading to a burn notice. A couple of suggestions.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy that it worked for you Viviana – I definitely need to test it again, because I didn’t get the burn notice in my Instant Pot. Thanks for these tips!

      Reply

  14. Adri

    I got the burn notice also but I didn’t follow the recipe exact. I added 3/4 broth instead of wine to deglaze and then 700g of Passata. I didn’t add the additional liquid as I though it was enough. I stirred and the lentils got stuck on the bottom. I scraped them and I’m trying again. Fingers crossed!

    Reply

  15. Claire

    5 stars
    I’ve just made this as a lasagna filling and it turned out absolutely delicious! This will be my go to recipe from now on.
    I did notice that after 20 minutes on high pressure, the lentils were not as soft as I wanted them, so I added another ten minutes, but that’s just my preference.

    Reply

  16. Chaya

    5 stars
    I made this as a filling for lasagna, but replaced the thyme with basil, since I didn’t have any, and OMG it came out absolutely heavenly!!! This will be my go-to recipe from now on for bolognese and meat sauce.
    One thing I did notice, was that after cooking the lentils on high pressure for 20 minutes, they weren’t as soft as I thought they would be, but maybe that’s just personal preference. I added 10 more minutes, and it was wonderful.
    Love it!

    Reply

  17. Silke

    4 stars
    Just made this tonight, planning on freezing half the batch for next week. I used green lentils as that’s all I had and they cooked perfectly. I didn’t have mushrooms but the flavour came out great. No burn message but I did scrape the bottom well before adding the tomato sauce.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I think that’s definitely an important step – Thanks for the feedback Silke!

      Reply

  18. Raquel

    5 stars
    What a fantastic recipe! I got a few brown bits, but nothing major. My MIL always said: never cook the lentils with salt because they won’t soften, so I suggest adding salt after the lentils are cooked. I omitted thyme but added fennel. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    1. Michelle

      I added salt and my lentils were perfectly cooked so I think that’s a myth

      Reply

  19. Michelle

    4 stars
    I have advice for everyone getting the burn notice. I’ve found with sauce and tomato based recipes, DO NOT STIR THE INGREDIENTS. Add the lentils to the bottom of the pot with the veggies, add your liquid, then put the tomato products on top and do not stir it at all. I managed to get it to cook on the first go with no burn notice.

    I also replaced the red wine with water (I didn’t want to crack an entire bottle for just that and I’m not a drinker I keep wine for guests only) and this was still delicious.

    Reply

    1. LEANN DIXON

      This is the secret – put the tomato based items on top and do not stir until the end!

      Reply

  20. Cara M

    5 stars
    Made this tonight when we were having friends over for dinner. I was a little hesitant due to all the comments about the burn warning, but I didn’t seem to have that problem. I added a little more water than the recipe called for (about 1 1/4 cups total) just to be on the safe side and it turned out perfectly.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that Cara – Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply

  21. DC

    I don’t cook in an Instant Pot because it is metal which gets into all of the food cooked in it and especially acidic foods. I use Chantal cookware that is top quality porcelain on steel/ with also copper fusion instead. I won’t touch a coated pan of any type. I thew out all of my stainless steel and never have or will us aluminum pans. I began this 30 years ago and it is the only way to go. I never need to be in so much of a hurry that I have to cook anything that is instant. So I thew out my microwave 25 years ago. When one makes the decision to cook clean ousting coated or metal utensils, there arises so many options to cook well that were long forgotten. For indoor steaks I use cast-iron skillet. there are so many who are working hard toward good health but they don’t really understand their foundational needs.

    Reply

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