Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash & Lentil Bolognese

If you’re an Instant Pot fan, get pumped.

I’m excited to share this new recipe for Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash and Lentil Bolognese with you guys today!

This lentil bolognese is rich, thick and meaty, but it’s vegan – and gluten free, too.

instant pot lentil bolognese

Had to have the wine in the photo because this looks like such a fun and fancy dinner! 

Looks fancy but is actually easy = totally my jam recipe-wise.

This dish is comforting and cozy but also really light and fresh so you can eat the leftovers for lunch and not need a nap 5 minutes later. 

If you love bolognese sauce but want to eat less meat, or if you just want to rock some meatless Mondays, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

And if you don’t want to get on board with the fully meatless approach… you can always add some ground beef, chicken, or turkey into the mix here to have a more veggie-packed bolognese sauce than the usual. 

instant pot spaghetti squash lentil bolognese3

There are two especially exciting things about this recipe.

First, dried lentils (and other dried legumes) are awesome in the Instant Pot (<- I have the 6 quart version) because you don’t need to soak them first, and they cook so quickly! 

And second, I’m really excited to have discovered how well spaghetti squash does in the Instant Pot. 

If you love spaghetti squash but don’t love how long it takes to cook, and how hard it is to cut in half while raw, you will also love this recipe because the spaghetti squash is cooked whole – total win! 

Here’s what you’re working with for this veggie-packed feast:

instant pot lentil bolognese ingredients

To get this recipe going, you’ll want to start with the Instant Pot in “saute” mode.

Simply use it like a normal pan on the stove to saute your onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms in a little olive oil until soft and fragrant. 

instant pot lentil bolognese

Next, pour in the crushed tomatoes, water, and dry lentils.

instant pot lentil bolognese 2

Then in goes the spaghetti squash! 

As I mentioned, you leave it whole for now – just be sure to poke some slits in it with a knife or fork, though, so it doesn’t explode. :)

how to cook spaghetti squash in instant pot

Then set it and forget it! 

25 minutes on high pressure and your feast is ready. 

Release the steam, open the lid, remove the spaghetti squash, and cut it in half (way easier now vs. when it was totally raw). Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and save them if you want to roast them!

To roast the seeds, rinse them off, coat them in a little oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a sheet pan for 15 to 20 minutes at 275 degrees F for a yummy snack!

Use a fork to separate spaghetti-like strands of squash, then top it with the sauce and garnish with some parsley and parmesan if desired (and if not keeping this recipe vegan, obviously)!

To make this dish more hearty, you can always mix the spaghetti squash with some regular pasta – you do you, friends! 

instant pot spaghetti squash lentil bolognese4

Here’s the full recipe. 

Let me know what you think if you try it!

Yield: 4 servings

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash & Lentil Bolognese

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash & Lentil Bolognese

This rich and meaty lentil bolognese is surprisingly vegan, and cooking the squash whole saves you the tough job of cutting it in half while raw.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parsley and parmesan cheese for garnish, optional


  1. Set instant pot to the Saute function. Add olive oil, onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
  2. Add tomato paste and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute, until tomato paste is incorporated. 
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, water, and lentils, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Poke slits in the spaghetti squash all over with a knife, then place in the instant pot on top of the sauce. 
  5. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes, until squash is tender and sauce is thickened. Release steam immediately.
  6. Remove squash from instant pot and cut in half. Scoop out seeds with a spoon, then use a fork to separate spaghetti-like strands of squash. 
  7. Serve spaghetti squash topped with sauce and garnish with parsley and parmesan if desired.

Interested in more vegetarion comfort food? Check these recipes out:

Ready to make more Instant Pot creations?

Here are the previous Instant Pot recipes I’ve shared:


  1. 1

    Making this ASAP!!!!! We’ve been on a huge lentil kick in our house lately and this looks so, so good!

  2. 3

    Looks terrific, Anne, thanks. Cannot wait to try it!

  3. 4

    That recipe sounds awesome. Suggestion: you should add Sweet Potato Lentil Chili to the list of vegetarian comfort food. Totally my favorite thing to have stashed in the freezer.

  4. 6

    I made this last night to go with panko encrusted chicken breastes and it will definitely become a side dish in our meal rotation (when squash is available). Hubs and I meal prep Monday-Thursday and generally eat the same thing for dinner because we indulge on the weekends. This was a nice change up from side a salad and roasted vegetables. And +1 for the instapot! Thanks for giving me a new way to cook spaghetti squash

  5. 8

    What type of lentils did you use?

  6. 10

    Any ideas how to adapt this for the slow cooker? Recipe looks great!

    • 11

      I don’t know how to do the spaghetti squash part, but I would bet doing a standard 7 to 8 hour slow cook on low should do the trick for the bolognese! Let us know how it goes!

  7. 12

    We don’t do mushrooms.. would you sub with more lentils…. other veggies or maybe make that a meat substitution? I really cannot wait to try.

  8. 14

    Anne, I made this dish last night. It was super easy but more importantly it was delicious. Thank you for another great recipe.

  9. 16
    Fiona MacDonald says

    I made this for my toddler and my SIL when she was over this week and it was fantastic!!! I was weary ( mostly because I burnt the silly instapot some how) but I cleaned it out popped everything back in and man it was amazing!!!! We all went in for seconds!!! It’s going to be on my weekly rotation, I used regular noodles because I didn’t have squash and it still was great! Thank you!

    • 17

      Yay, so glad you all liked it! You can try adding a little extra liquid (water or veggie broth) next time to help with the burning situation — that happened to me once too!

  10. 18

    I made this last night. I was so excited to try it out. A true one pot dinner. All the flavors were there, but the lentils were undercooked as was the squash and it was burnt on the bottom. I did it in high pressure for 30 minutes, assuming that it would take longer. The steam had all gone out by 28 minutes, at which point I turned it off. I ended up having to slow cook it on the stove to try to finish the lentils and tried to steam the spaghetti on the stove too. We just said they were al dente. I’m hoping the leftovers will be better/softer today. I really loved the idea and the flavors.

    • 19

      That’s strange – I’m so sorry it didn’t work out for you! I’m wondering if maybe the squash you used was too large? I’m hoping the leftovers are better, too!


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