Two hoagie rolls on parchment paper filled with lentil bolognese sauce and topped with mozzarella slices and basil leaves

Lentil Bolognese Subs

Packed with protein-rich lentils, an array of aromatic spices, and nestled within a toasted sub roll, these Lentil Bolognese Subs are a vegan twist on a classic Italian favorite.

Table of Contents

two bolognese subs on parchment paper

This recipe was inspired by my son, who loves a meatball sub, (a great dinner idea for vegans in non vegan families BTW, because you can easily have two sets of meatballs at the ready to feed the whole family with the same meal.) I had made a big batch of Lentil Bolognese Sauce and was brainstorming other ways I could use the sauce before freezing a portion for future meals.


I experimented with this new and improved Italian sub with delicious results. Part sub, part sloppy Joe, the whole family agrees that this meal is a new “family favorite”.

Why I Love This Recipe

Instead of meatballs, the hearty and chunky Lentil Bolognese Sauce is your filling. It’s thick enough to hold in the sandwich roll, giving off a little bit of Sloppy Joe vibes. You can make and store the sauce in advance so that you can throw this meal together in 10 minutes during a busy weeknight.


I also love a no mess meal and this one fits the bill. Slice and spread your rolls on a baking sheet. Fill with the sauce and top with the cheeses before putting it all in the oven. That’s just one sheet pan to clean!


Another win for this recipe is that it’s so versatile for vegans and non vegans eating the same meal. Swap in dairy cheeses for non vegans. For the sauce, you can separate the portions and sprinkle in Italian sausage, cooked grown beef, or pour it over meatballs to satiate meat lovers while adapting the recipe with ease.

Ingredients & Substitutions for Lentil Bolognese Subs

The Vegan Dinner Club homemade recipe is outlined below. The sauce should be thick enough so it doesn’t run out of the roll with enough texture in each bite.


Hoagie Rolls

No meatball sub would be complete without this signature roll.


Marinara Sauce

Just a little dollop of sauce to spread along the inside of each roll for extra flavor.


Vegan Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese

I’m going big and layering in two types of vegan cheeses onto these subs. My mozzarella pick is Miyoko’s Vegan MozzThey have a smoked and regular variety, both delicious. For Parmesan, Violife’s Just Like Parm Wedge is hands down my favorite choice.


Fresh Basil

The fresh herb leaves add another layer of flavor and brighten everything up.



In the case of a gluten allergy, swap the hoagie roll with a gluten free alternative. You could also swap a roll with a sweet potato or zucchini boat.


Not a fan of lentils? Swap crumbled tempeh or your favorite meatless ground beef in the sauce instead.

How to Make Lentil Bolognese Subs

  1. Make your Lentil Bolognese Sauce:

    Prep and store your sauce ahead of time so you can just reheat when ready to assemble your subs.

  2. Prep your rolls:

    Slice and spread open the hoagie rolls.

  3. Stuff your rolls:

    Spread marinara sauce along the inside of the roll and fill generously with the Lentil Bolognese Sauce.

  4. Layer on the mozzarella:

    Top each roll with the cheese slices and place in the oven for about 10 minutes until toasty and melty.

  5. Add your toppings:

    Remove from the oven and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and top with the basil leaves.

Meal Prep & Storage Tips

Make and store the Lentil Bolognese Sauce:

  • Prepare the sauce ahead of time and store until ready to serve the pasta. It can also be frozen and thawed overnight in the refrigerator

Use airtight containers for storage:

  • Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for up to 6 months. I use Souper Cubes for storing my sauces in ready-to-use portions.

What to Serve with Lentil Bolognese Subs

two lentil bolognese subs on parchment paper


What are Lentil Bolognese Subs?

Lentil Bolognese Subs are a vegan take on the classic Italian Bolognese sauce, where lentils are used as a protein-rich meat substitute. This flavorful sauce is served in toasted sub rolls, creating a hearty and delicious sandwich.

Are lentils a good meat substitute in this recipe?

Yes, lentils work exceptionally well as a meat substitute. They provide a hearty texture and are packed with protein, making them a nutritious choice for this vegan Bolognese.

Can I use any type of lentils for this recipe?

While you can use various types of lentils, brown or green lentils are recommended for this recipe as they hold their shape well and have a satisfying texture. Red lentils tend to become too mushy.

What kind of bread or rolls should I use for the subs?

You can use your favorite sub rolls or baguette-style bread. Look for rolls with a nice crust and a soft interior that can hold up to the Bolognese sauce without getting soggy.

Can I make the Bolognese sauce in advance and freeze it?

Absolutely! The Bolognese sauce can be made in advance and frozen for future use. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container, leaving some room for expansion, and label it with the date.

What are some creative variations or toppings for Lentil Bolognese Subs?

You can get creative with toppings like vegan cheese, fresh basil, sliced olives, or a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Customizing the subs with your favorite ingredients is part of the fun!

Can I adjust the spiciness level of the Bolognese sauce?

Yes, you can easily control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes or other spices you add. Make it as mild or as spicy as you prefer.
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two sub sandwiches filled with tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese on parchment paper

Lentil Bolognese Subs

  • Author: Stephanie Dreyer
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Packed with protein-rich lentils, an array of aromatic spices, and nestled within a toasted sub roll, these Lentil Bolognese Subs are a vegan twist on a classic Italian favorite.



For the Lentil Bolognese Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

For the subs:

  • 4 hoagie rolls
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 cups Lentil Bolognese Sauce
  • 8 oz thinly sliced vegan mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup vegan grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


For the Lentil Bolognese Sauce:

  1. Saute the garlic and onion: Heat the oil or vegetable broth in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients: Stir in the lentils, Italian herb seasoning, marinara, vegetable stock, tomatoes, red wine (if using) and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 

For the subs:

  1. Heat the oven: Preheat to 350°.
  2. Prepare the rolls: Slice and spread open the hoagie rolls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Spread the marinara sauce generously along the inside of each roll. 
  3. Fill and bake the rolls: Spoon 1 cup of Lentil Bolognese Sauce into each roll. Top each roll evenly with the mozzarella slices. Place in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the rolls are toasted.
  4. Garnish: Remove from the oven and sprinkle the vegan Parmesan and fresh basil on top. Serve immediately.


  • Spoiler Alert: Lentil Bolognese Subs are best eaten when served, however the individual ingredients can be stored separately for up to a week.
  • Gluten Allergy? Use any gluten-free roll.
  • For non vegans: Set aside a portion of the Lentil Bolognese Sauce and stir in cooked ground beef or crumbled meatballs.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Main Meals
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

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