This cosy and warming green lentil ragu with sweet butternut squash is perfect for cold winter evenings and a great meatfree Monday option.
Traditional ragu is made with meat, but I have used green lentils in this recipe. Canada is the worlds leading producer and exporter of lentils, and I cooked with them a lot when we lived in Montreal, Canada. (This was pure coincidence, however. I didn’t know this fact until we moved to Australia!)
Believe me, there is nothing better than a hot bowl of lentil ragu on pasta following a day of slipping and sliding through feet of snow in minus 40 degrees!
Lentils are a great ingredient, especially during long cold winters; in warming soups and stews, as a side to roast meats, and in pasta sauces such as this ragu.
Caramelising the onions adds a deep richness to this vegetarian ragu, and the butternut squash provides a sweetness – which makes it more popular with the kids!
Whilst I use green lentils, you can use green or brown lentils in this dish.
To serve: spoon over pasta shapes of your choice, or eat with rice or grain of your choice. I love a sprinkling of fresh parsley over the top, but the rest of my family pick the parsley off and leave it on the side of the plate.
To store the ragu:
Keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
You can also freeze the ragu and defrost in the fridge overnight.
Blitz into soup with a little more stock for a smooth lentil soup, or leave chunky and if you have any leftover pasta, heat together with some more stock to make a chunky minestrone-type soup.
If you liked this you may like these other lentil recipes:
Butternut & Lentil Ragu
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 1 carrot finely diced
- ½ large butternut squash (or 1 small) cut into 1.5cm / .6inch cubes
- ½ tbsp tomato puree
- 1c | 200g green lentils
- 400g tin tomatoes
- 3½c | 875ml stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary or use pinch dried rosemary
- Black pepper
- Fresh parsley, to serve optional
- In a medium to large saucepan cook the onion in the olive oil over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until soft and caramelised.
- Add the garlic, celery and carrot, butternut squash and a splash of water and stir.
- Raise the heat slightly, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato puree and add the lentils, tinned tomatoes, stock, bay leaf and rosemary and black pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 40 minutes, until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
- Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste (some bought stocks are very salty). * for a thicker sauce see notes below
- Serve with pasta and fresh parsley sprinkled over the top.
- Extra step for a thicker sauce – take out 1 ½ cups/ 3 heaped tablespoons of the mixture and blend then stir in.