If you’re an Instant Pot fan, get pumped. I’m excited to share this amazing lentil vegan bolognese and spaghetti squash recipe with you today!
It’s rich, thick and meaty, but it’s vegan and gluten free, too. And because it’s made in the Instant Pot, it’s much quicker than a typical bolognese recipe. That’s definitely a reason to celebrate!
Had to have the wine in the photo because this looks like such a fun and fancy dinner! (And it is!)
What is bolognese?
Traditional bolognese is an Italian meat sauce, often served with pasta dishes. It’s a thick and creamy sauce with tomato, onions, and often other vegetables such as carrots and/or celery.
Fortunately, you don’t need the meat to make a similarly rich and flavorful bolognese sauce! Enter: this recipe. We’re adding lentils and mushrooms to our sauce to give it a meaty flavor and to make it ultra comforting (and nutritious!).
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Bolognese Sauce
Recipes that look fancy but are actually easy are totally my jam.
This dish is comforting and cozy, but also really light and fresh. 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. It’s like having a classic bolognese sauce, but just more veggie-packed than usual! (And a lot quicker to make).
There are two especially exciting things about this recipe.
First, dried lentils (and other dried legumes) are awesome in the Instant Pot (<- affiliate link for the one I have, the 6 quart version). 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, you will also love this recipe! Because the spaghetti squash is cooked whole, and it’s a total win. (No more struggling to cut the squash in half when it’s raw!)
Now, let’s get into how to make the recipe.
Vegan Bolognese Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’re working with for this veggie-packed feast:
- spaghetti squash (choose one that’s firm when squeezed, without any soft spots or cracks)
- crushed tomatoes
- tomato paste
- Italian seasoning
How to Make Spaghetti Squash & Vegan Bolognese in an Instant Pot
To get this vegan bolognese 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.
Next, pour in the crushed tomatoes, water, and dry lentils.
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. 🙂
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. (It should be 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!
Next, use a fork to separate spaghetti-like strands of squash. Then top it with the sauce, and garnish with some parsley if desired.
(If you’re not keeping this recipe vegan, feel free to add some parmesan, too)!
To make this dish more hearty, you can always mix the spaghetti squash with some regular pasta. You do you, friends!
How to Roast Spaghetti Squash Seeds
Don’t let those tasty spaghetti squash seeds go to waste!
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. Super easy, and makes for a yummy snack!
You can season them however you like. Feel free to drizzle them with maple syrup and a shake of cinnamon for a sweeter version, or give them a smoky flavor with cumin and/or paprika.
The full vegan bolognese recipe is at the bottom of this post. Let me know what you think if you try it!
Interested in more vegetarian comfort food? Check these recipes out:
- Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- “Cheesy” Mushroom Quinoa (vegan, gluten free)
- Shepherd’s Pie (vegan, gluten free)
- Walnut and Mushroom Vegetarian Enchiladas (vegan if omit cheese)
- Watermelon Rind Curry (vegan, gluten free)
- Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Enchiladas (vegan if omit cheese)
- Sweet Potato Lentil Chili (vegan, gluten free)
Ready to make more Instant Pot creations? Here are the previous Instant Pot recipes I’ve shared:
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup (gluten free)
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup (vegan, gluten free)
- Maple Mustard Chicken (Instant Pot) (gluten free)
- Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice (gluten free with GF soy sauce)
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup (gluten free)
- Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot (gluten free)
- Instant Pot Farro Risotto with Spring Veggies
- Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
And lastly, if you like this recipe but want to try a vegan meatball variation instead, here’s a recipe from a fellow blogger to try: easy vegan meatballs.
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash & Vegan 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Add tomato paste and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute, until tomato paste is incorporated.
- Add crushed tomatoes, water, and lentils, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Poke slits in the spaghetti squash all over with a knife, then place in the instant pot on top of the sauce.
- Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes, until squash is tender and sauce is thickened. Release steam immediately.
- 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.
- Serve spaghetti squash topped with sauce and garnish with parsley and parmesan if desired.