I wanted to create a vegan ragu with the same texture and profile as a classic Bolognese - but without using meat substitutes. I’m so excited to share this recipe and couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Packed with vegetables, 16g of protein, fibre and flavour. A thick, rich and slowly simmered sauce, the texture is meaty and wholesome. I’ve used finely chopped mushrooms, walnuts and lentils here alongside classic ragu vegetables and herbs.
Time to prepare: 20 minutes
Time to cook: 40 minutes
Total time to make : 1 hr
Servings : 6
300g dried red lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
300g mushrooms, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150ml red wine
800ml vegetable stock
30g walnuts, very finely chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
150g tomato purée
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
Serve with fresh herbs such as parsley and basil.
Soak the lentils in enough cold water to cover them while you prepare the vegetables – this small step really helps to reduce the cooking time!
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion over a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms and continue to cook for 10 minutes until the mushrooms have released their water, shrunk in size and turned golden. Stir through the garlic, add the wine and simmer until liquid has evaporated and the mixture is jammy, about 5 minutes.
Pour in the stock, then add the drained lentils, walnuts, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and herbs.
Bring to a simmer then cook over a medium heat at a gentle simmer for 40 minutes until the lentils are tender and saucy – top up with more water if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from heat and leave to cool slightly. Stir through the maple syrup and taste, adjusting the seasoning as necessary before serving.
16g protein, 40g carbs, 9g fat
Good to know:
You don’t need to add the wine if you prefer not to, but if you do - choose one you’d be happy to drink.
Check for seasoning at the end – I find tomato-based dishes need more salt than others.
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Use as a base for cottage pie, pasta bakes, lasagne, in tacos, piled onto nachos or in a jacket potato.