Lentil ragu

Lentil ragu

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(122 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr, 15 mins


Serves 6

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

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian

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
  • parmesan or vegetarian cheese, grated, to serve



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  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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7th Oct, 2015
This is a great little recipe, quite basic with room for flexibility. The sort of recipe you can cook easily and without much effort with ingredients already in the house. I generally use whatever and how many vegetables are around and adjust accordingly with amount of lentils & sauce quantity. One thing I would definitely recommend adding a healthy amount of red wine to lentils before adding tomatoes & stock (allow to absorb for a couple of minutes).
24th Sep, 2015
Halved the recipe and omitted the tomato puree as I didn't have any. I added red wine, soy sauce and paprika as was worried about it being bland. It looks unappealingly when you first start cooking but starts to resemble a meat ragu. I did find that the lentils dried up quickly so had to add extra fluid. Very tasty result and got 6 decent portions out of the halved recipe. Will definitely make again.
6th Sep, 2015
Made half the recipe and it still made enough for 6 portions. I found a little bit of grated parmesan cheese hid the lentilly aftertaste and it tasted exactly like a normal bolognaise
LibrarianGoddess's picture
8th Aug, 2015
Very pleasantly surprised at how tasty this was (and how much it made!). I managed to forget to put garlic in - usually a staple for me - but added a tsp of blackstrap molasses, and the result was gorgeous. I also managed to make it in a too-small saucepan, so was only able to add .5 litre of stock - but still got 6 generous servings! Very happy with this recipe and it will be a regular on my menu plans now.
24th Jul, 2015
This went down well in my home. We had it over penne instead of spaghetti. I'm puzzled at some of the other comments saying it was bland, I didn't feel it was bland and it definitely doesn't need Worcestershire sauce! If you follow the quality of lentils then you will have a lots of leftovers. We had it on wraps for lunch the following day and froze some. Fantastic, more veggie recipes please
6th Jul, 2015
Thought I was pushing it a bit with this recipe as OH is a definite meat eater and not keen on meatless teas. ( I used to be a vegetarian and try to do a meatless meal a week) From my point of view I thought this was very good. I used 250g of lentils and one tin of toms and it has done 2 meals and 2 for my veggie daughter. I did add a chilli and chilli powder.
24th Apr, 2015
Having read all the comments I knew to expect a large quantity but that suited my plan because I wanted to freeze portions for easy suppers. I followed the recipe but as others suggested, I added some smoked paprika at the same time as the herbs and then a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to lift the flavours. It got a thumbs up from the family served with spaghetti and a salad on the side. Next time though I might try it over penne - not sure spaghetti was the right choice. But I will make this again and I recommend it as a base recipe to tweak to suit your family's preferences.
13th Apr, 2015
This was lovely, really tasty and the texture worked really well. Only issue was the portion sizes, I read other comments before so didnt do the recommanded amount of lentils, but I wasnt sure really whether it would work. I used 100g of lentils and that was for 2 people i felt like it was plenty for 2 people. It took longer than expected for the lentils to cook, about an hour but maybe that was just a one off for us. Next time I will make more and freeze it.
16th Mar, 2015
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!
10th Feb, 2015
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.


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