Homestyle “Meaty” Tomato Sauce with Lentils and Walnuts

  • Servings : 8-10
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 45m
  • Ready In : 55m

This sauce is a universal crowd pleaser, with few ingredients (and easy to find ones at that),  you simply set it on the stove and let it simmer away until serving. Earthy and hearty this is a go-to sauce for spaghetti, as a filling for vegan lasagna, or spooned over steamed veggies. The walnuts give a significant boost of healthy fats, oils and protein, while lending a “meatiness” and flavor that is unsurpassed. This recipe makes quite a large batch, so feel free to half it or freeze some for a later date.


  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, 28oz
  • 1 can of tomato paste, 6 oz
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp oregano (fresh or dried)
  • 1 Tbsp medium-high heat oil (canola, avocado, grape seed, etc)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste


Step 1

Heat the oil in a very deep skillet, or medium pot on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

Step 2

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, lentils, and brown sugar and stir well. Let simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are tender but still hold their shape.

Step 3

Add crushed walnuts, salt, pepper, and oregano and stir well. Serve over pasta of choice, or use as a sauce filling in your next veggie lasagna.


Renee Press is the founder of Fire and Earth Kitchen in Seattle WA. which offers cooking classes, food coaching, and chef services. She's on a mission to make vegan, gluten-free cooking easy, accessible, and delicious for everyone.

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Comments (13)

  1. posted by tomato on November 7, 2013

    if i substitute diced tomato and tomato paste fresh tomatoes with, approximately how many fresh tomatoes would i need?

  2. posted by tomato on November 7, 2013

    if i substitute diced tomato and tomato paste with fresh tomatoes, approximately how many fresh tomatoes would i need?

    • posted by Renee Press on November 7, 2013

      I would use around 3 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes. Just adjust the cooking time as needed to cook your tomatoes to the desired sauce consistency.


      • posted by tomato on November 8, 2013

        thanks! i’ll try this soon.

  3. posted by Bev Robb on November 10, 2013

    I would definitely use fresh organic tomatoes. There’s been a lot of bad talk using canned tomatoes. I try to stay from GMOs and use fresh organic produce 🙂 You’re recipes are great!

    • posted by Renee Press on November 13, 2013

      Yes, if fresh organic tomatoes are available and affordable, they are a great way to go! So happy you like my recipes

  4. posted by Marion on November 15, 2013

    I made this for our family meal this week, we had it over ww pasta. Made enough for 5 adult servings and 4 lunch sized servings. This is one recipe that is better the first day. I found the walnuts get chewy and lose their unique flavour when its leftovers.

  5. posted by Elaine on November 19, 2013

    Love this dish! The first night we ate a bowl of it like we would chilli and served it with cornbread. The second night was spaghetti. Looking forward to having it again soon!

    • posted by Renee Press on November 19, 2013

      So glad you liked it Elaine! Great idea to serve with cornbread. Enjoy!

  6. posted by Ruth on March 12, 2014

    I’m definitely going to try this. Had an idea for the lady who said it was not as good 2nd day due to walnuts getting mushy. Think I will only add the walnut mixture to what we plan to eat the first day, and reserve the rest for the next reheating. Do you think that would solve the problem of mushy walnuts maybe? Loving your recipes!

    • posted by Renee Press on March 12, 2014

      Absolutely Ruth! That’s what I would suggest as well. Glad you’re enjoying all the recipes.. Happy cooking!


  7. posted by Lynda on November 28, 2017

    Would anyone know what o could use instead of tomato’s! I am illergic


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