This lentil ragu is hearty, low fat and packed with goodness! It is made from veg (carrots, celery and onion), red lentils, tinned tomatoes, stock, dried herbs, and bay leaves for extra tastiness. It’s ready in 35 mins and is great mixed with pasta or a jacket potato and topped with grated cheese. I like my lentils with a tiny bit of bite but if you want them softer you might need to cook for longer. Just be careful not to cook for so long they turn in to mush! Alternatively, you could use canned lentils and halve the cooking time.
This ragu a great value meal, serving 4-6 people and costing about £5 in total (including the potatoes and cheese!). Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen – just take them out of the freezer and pop in the fridge the night before eating. And to save time you could microwave the jacket potatoes (just prick with a knife and microwave on full power for at least 7 minutes, turning over halfway through).
Hearty lentil ragu (serves 4-6 depending on appetite)
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large stick celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed/chopped
Tin chopped tomatoes (I use value ones)
200g red lentils
1 Vegetable OXO cube
Generous shake dried mixed herbs
Optional – 2 bay leaves
tbsp tomato puree
Fry the carrot, celery and onion in some oil (olive/vegetable/sunflower oil is fine) together with the garlic, for about 8 minutes until tender. Add the chopped tomatoes, lentils and crumble over the stock cube. Stir well, and add some hot water so the lentils have enough liquid to cook in, but not too much (the liquid will reduce down as it cooks).
Add the dried herbs, bay leaves (if using) and tomato puree and stir well again. Simmer on a moderate heat, stirring often, for around 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked. It might take a little longer but I find lentils take much less time that the packet states! Eat with pasta or a jacket potato, with grated cheese on top.