This easy lentil pasta recipe is a satisfying, comforting vegetarian meal. A rich tomato and lentil sauce coats 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 the way that only pasta with red sauce can be.
Though this lentil pasta recipe is full of Italian flavors (marinara! balsamic! Parmesan!), it’s not a take on any specific Italian pasta dish. Rather, it’s something I love to cook when I want a hearty, flavorful pasta dinner, but I don’t want to go to the store or spend hours in the kitchen. This lentil pasta recipe comes together with basic pantry ingredients, and you can have it on the table in right around 30 minutes. I think you’re going to love it!
Lentil Pasta Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this lentil pasta recipe:
- Lentils, of course! They pack this pasta with nutrients like fiber and plant-based protein. I like 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. DON’T sub red lentils–their texture is too soft and mushy for this recipe.
- Pasta – Pappardelle is my noodle of choice. I love the wide, chewy ribbons in the hearty lentil pasta sauce. If you can’t find it, tagliatelle is a great sub. Or, if you’re vegan, and you need to use egg-free pasta, swap in fettuccine or linguine. Gluten-free? Use your favorite gluten-free pasta!
- Onion, carrots, and garlic – They create the sauce’s flavorful base.
- Cremini mushrooms – For rich, savory complexity.
- Tamari and balsamic vinegar – They bring out the mushrooms’ umami flavor.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – For sautéing the veggies.
- Marinara sauce – I like to make my own with simple ingredients like crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes. In a pinch, store-bought works too.
- Parmesan cheese – For topping the pasta. It adds nutty, salty richness to the final dish. If you’re vegan, use my vegan Parmesan cheese instead!
- Fresh parsley – Sprinkle it over the pasta for a fresh, vibrant 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 a couple tips to make it especially quick and easy:
- Use pre-made marinara. As much as I love to make my marinara sauce from scratch, doing so adds a whole 30 minutes to this recipe…NOT what I want on a busy weeknight. If I’m lucky, I’ll have some leftover marinara on hand in the freezer, but if I don’t, I use store-bought here. Rao’s is my favorite brand. It makes this recipe super flavorful and amazingly fast!
- Keep cooked lentils on hand in the freezer. They’ll come in handy not only for this lentil pasta recipe, but for grain bowls and salads as well! If you don’t have cooked lentils handy, start this recipe by cooking 1/2 cup dry lentils according to this instructions in this post.
With these components ready, the rest of the recipe is straightforward:
Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and toss it with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
Next, sauté the veggies. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, 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 remaining sauce ingredients and simmer. 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 in the pasta. Add it to the skillet and toss to coat 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 on its own. But, if you’re craving a larger meal, you’re in luck! It pairs perfectly with all sorts of side dishes. Lean into the comfort food factor and serve it with garlic bread or focaccia, or add some color to your plate with a veggie side dish. It would go nicely with any of these:
- Sautéed Spinach
- Simple Green Salad
- Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Sautéed Green Beans
- Steamed Broccoli
More Easy Pasta Recipes
If you love this lentil pasta, try one of these easy pasta dishes next:
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Easy Pesto Pasta
- Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Peas
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
- Cherry Tomato Pasta
- Pasta Primavera
- Cauliflower Pasta
- Or any of these 25 Easy Pasta Recipes!
- 10 ounces pappardelle pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed 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 serving
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain and toss with a 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 several 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 skillet and toss to combine. Portion onto plates and serve with Parmesan and fresh parsley for garnish.