Why is this vegan lentil ragu our favourite you might ask? Because it’s wholesome, herby and rich, and it always keeps us coming back for more. When we want a flavoursome sauce or filling for any Italian dish, this is our absolute go to recipe.
The secret to this super tasty vegan lentil ragu, is the spices and flavourings. Simple green lentils are transformed into a rich, flavoured packed sauce. Our vegan lentil ragu is the perfect topping for pasta, filling for lasagne and calzone. We even like it as a spread on our homemade bread.
Once you have tried the basic vegan lentil ragu, we encourage you to adapt it, by adding seasonal veg. In spring, stir in some spinach or foraged wild garlic. In summer add courgettes , pepper, aubergine and other Mediterranean vegetables. Just add them after you’ve fried the onion. In autumn and winter this ragu would also be wonderful with finely chopped squash or pumpkin.
Often vegan ragu recipes use red lentils as they are quicker to cook, but using green lentils gives a richer texture. We also really like the nutty flavour that green lentils bring to this ragu. Here we use small rounded green lentils like the French Puy lentils, but you could also use larger flatter green lentils if that’s what you have. If so, you will want to add another couple of minutes to the cooking time, so that they are thoroughly cooked.
Our vegan lentil ragu recipe uses presoaked lentils to save on cooking time. In a pressure cooker or instant pot, you only need to cook at 5 minutes under high pressure. Then let the pressure release naturally for perfectly cooked lentils. You can also make our lentil ragu in a normal pan, simmer it with a lid on for around 20 mins until the lentils are tender. Stir and add more water if necessary.
We like to serve our vegan lentil ragu with whole grain spaghetti, and an extra sprinkle of oregano on top.
Oregano is a staple of Italian cuisine. I never really liked it, until I tasted the good stuff! This aromatic herb can really vary in quality and flavour. Cultivars adapted to colder climates can have less flavour, so we recommend getting yourself some of the good stuff when you are in the Mediterranean area. A study on food fraud in the UK by Which in 2015 actually found a quarter of the samples of dried oregano they tested, also contained other ingredients, such as olive and myrtle leaves. Who knew that the oregano trade could be so dodgy. We can recommend the Evaristo brand from Portugal, it’s totally delish! You can also often find bunches of oregano available in local markets.
Let’s get cooking our vegan lentil ragu!
Green Lentil Ragu
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp stock powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup green french lentils
- Soak lentils in water for 8 hours or overnight.This helps reduce cooking time later.
Cook Lentil Ragu
- In your pressure cooker or saucepan, fry the onion in olive oil until translucent and beginning to brown.
- Add sugar and herbs, let caramelise for a minute or two, until herbs become aromatic.
- Add balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and tomato puree. For a minute, keep stirring to keep it from catching.
- Add salt and spices (garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, stock powder)
- Add chopped tomatoes, green lentils, and water.
- Stir well, then put the lid on, bring up to pressure, then cook for 5 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.
- Alternatively cook in a normal pan with the lid on, until the lentils are soft, approx 20 min. Add more water during cooking if necessary.
Let us know what you made with our vegan lentil ragu! We’re off to dig into these amazing ragu filled calzone, fresh off the campfire…
With love and warmth from the seaside,
Sophie and Paul