Lentil ragù

Lentil ragù

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(103 ratings)

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 carrots, 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 cloves, 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, questions and tips

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13th Jan, 2017
Made this with butter beans instead of lentils (we didn't have any) - and it worked well! Can recommend a healthy dose of parmesan on top.
11th Nov, 2016
Lovely. Mild and light but still hearty. The lentils break down to thicken the sauce, so it coats the pasta.
26th Aug, 2016
I used the full quantity of ingredients and wow - it's made loads! A super cheap, and healthy meal. I took the advice of other's and added 200ml red wine, and 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and it resulted in a real depth of flavour, close enough to match the meat version. I think next time I would halve the ingredients, and perhaps omit the celery for some chopped courgette.
14th Aug, 2016
I used 250g of lentils, 1 can of chopped tomatoes ,600ml of stock, 1/2 chilli, excluded the celery and bay leaves and added 2tsp vinegar, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp sugar 5min before adding the stock and lentils etc. I would really recommend the last addition as it adds to the flavour massively! This made 4/5 portions.
22nd Jul, 2016
It was ok. Like a good homemade soup with spaghetti. Nothing like a meat bol. It can really only be as good as the stock you use. Will do again, but not for a month or so.
30th Apr, 2016
Very tasty and great for baby led weaning too
11th Apr, 2016
My 11 year old had to make a vegetarian alterative to bolognaise at school and he chose to make this. Not much came home but with him, but he was more than happy to make it again. He added a small glass of red wine at home. Lovely, and his younger brothers also loved it
6th Jan, 2016
Absolutely lovely with a baked potato and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.
12th Dec, 2015
I make this recipe all the time and have made very few tweaks to the standard recipe. I usually make the same vegetable to half the lentils, stock and chopped tomatoes. I double it up for make 3 huge tupperwares worth plus dinner for two. Works well on its own, with rice or pasta.
15th Nov, 2015
Very simple, very tasty!! Made a massive amount, the slosh of good wine made all the difference, I added in secretly as my man does not like wine. He loved it!!! I used fresh thyme from my garden, but dried is fine. Had to add more water along the way to get the right consistancy. I froze two thirds of the yield. It is very filling, the perfect winter recipe! I will definatively make this again.


Cordelia Fox
5th Sep, 2016
Hi I only have split red lentils, can I use them instead? Thanks
15th Feb, 2014
Can this be cooked in a slow cooker?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Feb, 2014
Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. Yes, this recipe would work well in a slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Best wishes, BBC Good Food team
28th Jul, 2016
I made this last night for my family and boyfriend (first time cooking with lentils). Unfortunately, it wasn't for any of us. It was very earthy tasting, we added grated cheese on top to add some flavour. The thyme and oregano helped but I would have put more in personally had I have known. Sorry :( Glad we tried it though.
22nd Aug, 2014
Made this but didn't have carrots so added roasted herby mushrooms in at the end. Delicious. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1039647/roasted-herby-mushrooms
11th Jan, 2014
Done this ragu a couple of times now & once made a lasagne with the ragu as have a few vegetarians in the family. I also add fennel seeds to the mix when sweating down my onions, carrot & celery, adds a nice flavour to it. I find serving with steamed veg in place of pasta is lighter meal as I find lentils really filling.