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Lentil ragu with vegan parmesan and chopped parsley in a black bowl.
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5 from 6 votes

Lentil Ragu

This lentil ragu tastes amazing! It's high in protein, easy to make and loaded with flavor. No one will miss the meat in this vegan take on a classic ragu sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian-Inspired
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 629kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion White, Yellow or Brown, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Large Carrot Finely Chopped
  • 1 Large Stalk Celery Finely Chopped
  • 2 ½ cups Cremini Mushrooms (240g) Finely Chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 cup Dried Red Lentils (200g)
  • 1 cup Red Wine (240ml)
  • 28 ounces Canned Crushed Tomatoes (800g)
  • 1 cup Vegan Beef Stock (240ml) or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce or Tamari
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
  • ½ cup Canned Coconut Cream (120ml) Unsweetened
  • 16 ounces Pappardelle Pasta (450g) Dry Weight

For Serving:

  • Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • Vegan Parmesan

Instructions

  • Cut the mushrooms into quarters and place them into a food processor with the S blade. Process them until they are finely chopped. You can pulse the processor and scrape down the sides to get the mushrooms evenly chopped. Don't over-process, you want them finely chopped, not processed into a paste.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions, carrot and celery and cook for around 5 minutes until the onions are softened.
  • Add the finely chopped mushrooms and cook for around 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have released most of their water.
  • Add crushed garlic, dried thyme, smoked paprika and red lentils and gently mix them in. Cook for around 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add red wine and cook for a minute until most of it has evaporated.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, vegan beef stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, salt and a bay leaf and mix in.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer and let it simmer for around 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little stock or water.
  • While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package instructions and then drain and rinse and set aside.
  • After about 30 minutes the sauce should have reduced and thickened up a bit.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and add in the coconut cream and light brown sugar and stir in. Let it simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to blend. Taste test and add extra salt or pepper as needed.
  • Add the cooked pasta to your ragu sauce and fold it in gently.
  • Serve topped with fresh chopped parsley and grated vegan parmesan.

Notes

  1. Cremini mushrooms - may also be called brown button mushrooms, portobellini mushrooms or baby bellas. You can also use white button mushrooms.
  2. Red lentils - dried red lentils or dried split red lentils are the right lentils for this recipe. If you use another color lentil then the cooking time will be longer. 
  3. Red wine - really contributes to a rich sauce and the alcohol cooks off completely. However, if you prefer not to use alcohol in cooking you can switch it for extra stock.
  4. Vegan beef stock - Better Than Boullion No Beef Stock works great or you can use any beef stock that is vegan by ingredient, that you can find. Alternatively use vegetable stock.
  5. Coconut cream - should be canned and unsweetened. You can also use canned, unsweetened, full fat (not light) coconut milk.
  6. Pappardelle pasta - you can use any type of pasta, but pappardelle is really great because the wide thick strands hold the sauce really well.
  7. Keep an eye on the sauce as it simmers. This is a thick sauce so it needs regular checking and stirring. If you leave it too long it could stick to the bottom of the skillet and burn.
  8. Gluten free: The vegan ragu sauce is gluten free so long as you use a gluten free soy sauce or switch it for tamari. Then simply use a gluten free pasta to ensure complete gluten free friendliness.
  9. Make ahead: This makes a perfect make-ahead option because the flavors are even better the next day. So if you want to make this ahead of time, then make your sauce, let it cool and then cover and refrigerate. When you're ready, reheat the sauce over low heat on the stove and then stir in the cooked pasta.
  10. Storing: Leftover vegan ragu can be stored in the fridge in a covered container for 4-5 days and reheated in the microwave.
  11. Freezing: If you want to freeze it then it's best to freeze the sauce on its own, without adding the pasta. Let the sauce cool completely and then freeze in a freezer safe container or freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat on the stove over low heat, add cooked pasta and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serve | Calories: 629kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 594mg | Potassium: 1332mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2611IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 7mg