This lentil ragu is made with dried red lentils. Of all dried pulses and beans these are quickest and easiest to prepare and they’re rich in protein, folate and vitamin B1 not to mention high in fibre and hopefully readily available in the supermarket or from your local bulk-buy store (if you’re lucky enough to have one).

This dish can be served in many different ways as you’ll see below which is why I think it’s the perfect base for any family meal and it can be ready in less than 30-minutes.

Time: 25-30 mins | Easy | Vegan | Gluten-free

Ingredients – serves 6-8

Core Ingredients

  • 400g dried red lentils
  • 600ml stock – use whatever stock you want, I choose veg stock as we’re vegetarian but if you’re not you can use chicken or beef stock if you want a more meaty flavour.
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to season

Optional extras if you have them / can get them

  • 2 garlic cloves crushed or 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp dried herbs of choice (oregano/basil / mixed Italian herbs all work well)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1-2 tsp oil (if using vegetables)
  • Vegetables – below is what we used but obviously use what you have available to you, most veg will work in this dish. I grate veg like courgettes and carrots because they cook quicker that way.
    • 1 onion diced
    • 2 carrots grated
    • 1 courgette grated
    • 5 cup mushrooms sliced
    • 2 sticks of celery diced


  1. If using vegetables, heat the oil in a large pan (with lid) and add your vegetables and crushed garlic (if using) cook down for 5-10 mins (time will vary depending on the vegetables you’re using) until they are just starting to soften
  2. Add your lentils, stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic granules and dried herbs (if using), mix together, bring to the boil, reduce and simmer and cover for 18-20 minutes until lentils are softened – stir regularly and add more stock/water if necessary

Options to serve

  • Serve as is on top of pasta/rice
  • Turn into a lasagna – layer with pasta sheets, top with a white sauce (we make ours with butter, buckwheat flour and almond milk) and sprinkle with grated cheese before baking for 40-45mins
  • Serve on top of a baked potato
  • Place into an ovenproof dish and top with mashed root veg e.g potatoes, parsnips, swede and bake in the oven for 25-30 mins
  • Add a tin of red kidney beans, 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp ground cumin and a pinch of chilli flakes to make a chilli which you can serve with wraps, rice or roasted potato wedges

The opportunities are almost endless – and of course, don’t forget to add a side of green veg or salad to any dish you make. If you can’t get fresh veg try frozen – it’s just as nutritious – as long as your steam or roast the vegetables rather than boiling them.

If you try this dish please tag me in any photos @eat_breathe_believe


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