Lentil & Mushroom Ragu

Classically, ragu is a braised meat-and-tomato sauce. But to lighten it up, we used hearty lentils and lots of mushrooms to make for a vegetarian dish that’ll fill you up. Serve over your favorite kind of pasta, whether it’s classic, whole wheat, or spaghetti squash!

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Serves: 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 box (16 ounces) spaghetti
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Note: to speed up the cooking process, instead use pre-cooked lentils, and then simmer just 5-10 minutes after you add them to the pot.

Directions:

1. In large saucepot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, carrot, bell pepper and onion. Cook until vegetables are very brown and soft, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add wine or broth; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Use wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of pan.

3. Stir in bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, water, lentils, oregano, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water, as needed, if ragu gets too thick. Remove bay leaf and stir in basil.

4. Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to package directions.

5. Serve ragu over spaghetti. Garnish with parsley and serve with Parmesan cheese.

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Lori is a Detroit-area food writer, recipe developer and restaurant reviewer. She’s usually found in the kitchen cooking up something that undoubtedly involves beets, lemons or coconut for her blog, Foxes Love Lemons. Check out more of her recipes here.