Frugal Food – Lentil Ragu

Lentil ragu has been a staple in this household for a few years. Not only is it great for using up left over vegetables, it uses storecupboard ingredients, it’s cheap and goes with so many other foods. There is a basic formula to this recipe, but it can be easily tweaked. Sometimes I add bacon, sometimes not. Sometimes I use beef stock, sometimes it’ll be vegetable stock. It all really depends on what is available in the house.

I use lentils a great deal in food. They are a fantastic way to bulk meals out cheaply. Don’t tell carnivore husband, but I have been known to use lentils to bulk out meat dishes like bolognaise. I use a combination of both green and red lentils in this recipe mostly for texture. The red ones break down during the cooking process while the green ones have more of a bite. They green ones also have a slightly different taste, almost nuttier. When it comes to the green lentils there is Lentille Vert (also called Puy lentils) which are more expensive or green lentils. In this recipe normal green lentils are perfect.

This recipe can also be transformed into other dishes. With a sprikle of chilli powder, cumin and pinch of cinnamon along with a tin of kidney beans you have a lentil chilli. It also goes well with not only pasta but rice and couscous. The dish freezes well and the flavour improves the day after making it.

Lentil Ragu
Serves 4-6

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

150 g red lentils

150 g green lentils

125 ml red wine (if not using replace with stock)

1 tbsp tomato purée

250 ml beef or vegetable stock

2 x tins chopped tomatoes

splash of Worcestershire sauce

handful of other sliced vegetables e.g. carrots, mushrooms, pepper

1 TBSP mixed herbs

salt & pepper (to taste)

1) In a deep saucepan fry off the onion in a small amount of olive oil until onions have softened.

2) Add the garlic fry for a minute on a medium heat then stir in the lentils.

3) Pour in the wine and boil for a few minutes until liquid has reduced by half.

4) Add the remaining ingredients then simmer for 45-60 minutes.



About Julie @ Apple & Thyme

A Derbyshire/Staffordshire based business that provides creative food education with the aim of making good food and cookery skills accessible for all.

Posted on January 19, 2012, in Recipe and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Love this dish, and so cheap to make not to mention how good it is for you! I love all kinds of lentils and would eat this wih a big dollop of yoghurt 🙂

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