Lentil ragù

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr, 15 mins


Serves 6
Struggle to get your five-a-day? This superhealthy ragù will get you four steps closer and can be frozen for extra convenience

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal662
  • fat9g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs120g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre10g
  • protein33g
  • salt1.05g
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  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrot, finely chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 3 celery sticks, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 3 garlic clove, crushed
  • 500g bag dried red lentils
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp each dried oregano and thyme



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1l vegetable stock
  • 500g spaghetti, plus Parmesan or vegetarian cheese, grated, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook gently for 15-20 mins until everything is softened. Stir in the lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs and stock. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 40-50 mins until the lentils are tender and saucy – splash in water if you need. Season.

  2. If eating straight away, keep on a low heat while you cook the spaghetti, following pack instructions. Drain well, divide between pasta bowls or plates, spoon sauce over the top and grate over some cheese. Alternatively, cool the sauce and chill for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Simply defrost portions overnight at room temperature, then reheat gently to serve.

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Comments (95)

lucyn04's picture

Loved this, usually meat eaters but this was very tasty after a couple of additions from reading the comments. I just added a tsp smoked paprika and a chopped red chilli when cooking the onions at the beginning. Tasted better fresh than reheated so glad I only made half the quantities... Still made 4 large portions!

mbell25's picture

Just made this recipe- smells great! I halved the ingredients as many suggested and also added some extras such as paprika, a little sugar and balsamic. It has still made lots but thats fine as i'll freeze it.

RussianFitz's picture

Agree with others, less lentils needed and makes loads. This has quickly become a family favourite! It is super cheap to make and really very yummy! Ultimate comfort food...and this coming from a meat eater.

michelleharper's picture

I've just made this and it is fab! I read the comments first and added a couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika too. We're meat eaters usually but didn't find this bland at all. Agree as well that 30 minutes is long enough for the lentils.

saschlet's picture

Took on board others' comments and 250g of lentils and 1 tin of tomatoes would feed 6 if not 8 with pasta! Added a tablespoon smoked paprika and 200ml red wine with 800ml stock. Good alternative to meaty bolognese! Enough for leftovers with baked potatoes and freezing for kids portions. Makes loads!

mywinechannel's picture

i love the recipe but i would not add celery because it hides the flavor of the lentils

Jennyahurst's picture

I used sun dried tomato paste to give a bit more flavour, but still it was better with a dollop of green pesto mixed in - but definitely makes loads. I agree with comments about needing extra liquid!

sarahalister's picture

Lovely. Wasn't sure the texture worked with spaghetti that well, but actually the combination grew on me..... Often with spaghetti sauces they run through and pool in the bottom, but this coated the pasta nicely. Have enough for a good 6 to 8 portions so would half quantities next time.

Sairenity's picture

I made this with chicken stock (naughty I know but we're not vegetarian), added a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a generous grating of nutmeg. Full of flavour and went down really well with the whole family including a fussy 4 year old.

fpinsent's picture

Have cooked this a few times now. It makes loads - this recipe could easly serve 8-10 people rather than 6. Not being vegetarian I've found the way round the lack of flavour to be beef stock rather than vegetable. Even Hubby prefers it to meat bolognese so it's become a regular for us.

bonebabe's picture

Cooked this with extra garlic, leek and Worcester sauce in my pressure cooker in half quantities, it worked really well (10 mins full pressure, depressurise naturally). Added a handful of black olives before serving, nice. Would also be nice with a bit of cumin and minced jalapeños. Not the most delicious recipe in the world, but tasty enough, versatile and nutritious!

clgraham's picture

As per previous comments, makes loads and is very filling but a bit bland. I added 1 red chilli, chilli powder, paprika and worcester sauce but it's still missing something. Nice with spaghetti.

sarahjbayley's picture

Much nicer than some of the comments would lead you to believe. We enjoyed it as it was and it had loads of flavour, although I did cook out the tomato puree a little. Tasty, filling and cheap.

jesscalou's picture

Lovely flavour and healthy, but can be a little bit dry so add lots of liquid.

saffron9's picture

Added 1tsp of smoked paprika to the fried vegetables, very tasty and filling. I agree with other comments that 30 mins is probably long enough to cook the lentils if not it goes very mushy.

eleanorwalsh's picture

Added some chilli powder and paprika to give it some flavour as I only had dried mixed herbs available but this did not seem to matter! Think I might prefer it to 'the real deal' meaty style. Nice one!

helenokerika's picture

This is nice, but a bit bland. Will cook again but add some chilli powder next time, and maybe more herbs to give it a bit more flavour. Super healthy though.

abeebuzz1993's picture

Went down well with my meat-eating family! Super healthy too! Recipe serves about 8, not 6, and freezes well.

For extra goodness, try this on a baked sweet potato instead of pasta or rice.

memmarmite's picture

I've made this today as part of my current cook-ahead spree prior to having a baby. The recipe is easy enough to throw together, but I found the result to be a little "meh". I threw in various spices and whatnot to try and bring it to life but it's really nothing special. It's still edible though, I had some for my supper over wholemeal pasta and, topped with a generous helping of soya cheese, it's a filling and healthy meal.

I will make it once more and try some of the add-ins, I think this recipe has potential and it's very cost-effective to put together, but if it's still unexciting that will be the last time I do.


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