This Lentil and Mushroom Ragú recipe has quickly become my new favourite meatless meal. It’s incredibly flavorful and satisfying. And thanks to the seasonings and overall texture, you could almost fool someone into believing this wasn’t vegetarian (or possibly vegan for that matter).
Both lentils and mushrooms give the sauce a “meaty” quality, while the flavours of kitchen staples (carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomato and herbs) plus umami rich Worcester sauce transform this dish into a delicious and satisfying plant-based meal.
There are a couple small tweaks that are needed if you want to make this recipe 100% vegan.
Some brands, may contain traces of fish from the production, while others are certified as being both vegetarian and vegan. And then there is the classic L&P Original Worcestershire sauce which contains anchovies rather than soy sauce to give it a rich umami flavor. So look for a vegan (and vegetarian) brand.
Not all wines are not vegan or even vegetarian-friendly as the they use additives during the clarification process; and often these additives are made from animal derivatives (such as casein milk protein, albumin from egg whites, gelatin, or isinglass from fish. Again look for a vegan supplier.
Parmesan cheese (the optional finisher)
Although many recipes that contain parmesan cheese are labeled vegetarian, they actual aren’t. Parmesan cheese uses rennet, an enzyme found in the lining of a goat or calf’s stomach that helps separate milk into solid curds — which helps turn it into the delicious cheese we know and love. Cheese such as Parmesan, Pecorino, Manchengo, Gruyère, Gorgonzola, and a number of others use it, so they technically aren’t considered vegetarian. There are vegan and vegetarian alternatives available or try making your own vegan parmesan as I do in this Vegan Bolognese Sauce recipe.
Besides it being packed with deep flavours, I find this recipe has a mix of textures, which keep it interesting as well as flavourful.
- It’s hearty comfort food
- Healthy and fiber and protein-packed
- Easy to make
- & So very tasty
Serve it over your favourite pasta, or try serving over potatoes for something a little different!
Looking for other vegan pasta recipe inspirations?
Try one of these delicious recipes:
- Vegan Bolognese Sauce (with Cauliflower & Walnut)
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta (vegan)
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with Roasted Cauliflower
- One Pot Vegan Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
Lentil and Mushroom Ragú
- 200 g dry green lentils
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 celery sticks, finely diced (optional)
- 400 g cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 200 ml dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
- pinch chili flakes (optional)
- 1 x 690g jar pureed tomato passata
- 30-60 ml water, to thin the sauce
- 400 g dried pasta
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
Cook the lentils in a saucepan in double the amount of cold water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered until al dente (according to package instructions), about 25 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large deep non-stick skillet (braising pan) over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starts to soften. Add a splash of water if needed, to prevent browning.
Add the mushrooms to the pan. Season with a little salt. Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, for 6-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened.
Add the garlic, thyme, oregano and red wine. Cook, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced by half.
Add the Worcester sauce, tomato paste, puréed tomato, bouillon, a pinch of chili flakes (if using) the cooked lentils, plus a little water to thin the sauce. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to a light simmer.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pasta in a pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve. Enjoy!
- See tips above for ensuring this recipe is made 100% vegan.
- I choose to cook the lentils separately as this lessens the earthy flavor from cooking them in the sauce. I like to focus on a rich tasting tomato sauce for this recipe. This gives me more control over the consistency of the lentils and I like green lentils as they have a little bite to them still. However, brown lentils also work well for this recipe. This also gives you the option to use already cooked lentils, or canned (drained and rinsed) if you prefer. In my option, dried lentils are the way to go.
- For this recipe I rely on high-quality dried herbs. I use my own Elle Herbs wild thyme and oregano. Both are organically sourced from Greece and have an amazing flavor that really make this sauce special. I you are using fresh herbs, then use 1 tablespoon of each.
- Choose a red wine that you also like to drink, it’ll make the sauce taste better!
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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