This easy lentil pasta recipe is a satisfying, comforting vegetarian dish. A rich tomato and lentil sauce envelops chewy ribbons of al dente pasta.
Ok, pasta lovers, you need this lentil pasta recipe in your winter rotation! It’s budget-friendly, easy to make, and comforting in a way that only pasta with red sauce can.
Even this lentil pasta recipe is full of Italian flavors (marinara! balsamic! Parmesan!), it shouldn’t be made with any particular Italian pasta dish. Instead, it’s something I love to cook when I want a nice, hearty pasta dinner, but I don’t likes to go to the store or spend time in the kitchen. This lentil pasta recipe comes with basic pantry ingredients, and you can have it on the table in about 30 minutes. I think you will like it!
Lentil Pasta Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this lentil pasta recipe:
- lentils, of course! They infuse this pasta with nutrients like fiber and plant-based protein. I want 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. DO NOT sub red lentils–their texture is too soft and mushy for this recipe.
- Pasta – Pappardelle is my choice of noodles. I love the wide, chewy ribbons in the rich lentil pasta sauce. If you can’t find it, tagliatelle is a great sub. Or, if you’re vegan, and you must use egg-free pasta, substitute fettuccine or linguine. Gluten free? Use your favorite gluten-free pasta!
- Onions, carrots, and garlic – They create a flavorful sauce base.
- Cremini mushrooms – For rich, delicious complexity.
- Tamari and balsamic vinegar – They bring out the umami flavor of mushrooms.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – For sauteing vegetables.
- Marinara sauce – I like make my own with simple ingredients like crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes. In a pinch, store-bought works just as well.
- Parmesan cheese – For topping pasta. It adds a nutty, salty richness to the final dish. If you are vegan, use mine vegan Parmesan cheese instead!
- Fresh parsley – Sprinkle it over pasta for a fresh, colorful finish!
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Lentil Pasta
This lentil pasta recipe is so simple to make! Here are some tips to make it faster and easier:
- Use pre-made marinara. As long as I want to do my marinara sauce from scratch, doing this adds a full 30 minutes to this recipe…NOT what I want on a busy weeknight. If I’m lucky, I have leftover marinara in the freezer, but otherwise, I use store-bought here. Rao’s is my favorite brand. This makes the recipe so delicious and so quick!
- Keep cooked lentils on hand in the freezer. They can be used not only for this lentil pasta recipe, but for grain bowls and salads too! If you don’t have cooked lentils, start this recipe by cooking 1/2 cup dry lentils according to these instructions at this post.
With these ingredients ready, the rest of the recipe is straightforward:
Start cooking the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. When the pasta is al dente, drain the water and toss it with a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
Next, saute the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 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 rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. 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 the pasta. Add it to the pan and toss in the sauce. Season to taste…
…and serve with parsley and Parmesan cheese!
What to Serve with Lentil Pasta
We often enjoy this lentil pasta recipe for dinner by itself. But, if you’re craving a bigger meal, you’re in luck! It pairs perfectly with all kinds of side dishes. Lean into the comfort food factor and serve with it garlic bread o focaccia, or add some color to your plate with a vegetable side dish. It would be great with any of these:
More Easy Pasta Recipes
If you love this lentil pasta, try one of these easy pasta dishes next:
This easy lentil pasta recipe is a hearty, delicious vegetarian dinner! Fragrant tomato and lentil sauce envelops chewy ribbons of al dente pasta.
- 10 ounces pappardelle pasta
- 2 spoon extra-virgin olive oil, extra for misting
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, stem and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 1½ cups cooked green or French green lentils, from ½ cup dry
- 24 ounces marinara sauce
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese or Vegan Parmesan, for delivery
- Fresh parsley, for decoration
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to package instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain and toss in a light 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 a few 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 pan and toss to combine. Place on plates and serve with Parmesan and fresh parsley for garnish.