This post is sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. Stay within your food budget without sacrificing protein. This Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu is full of protein and fiber and packed with flavor.
Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu
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Sometimes I get sick of eating meat. This is something my husband can’t understand. Part of the reason is because I just don’t want to have to deal with cleaning up after prepping raw meat. That’s when we eat delicious meatless meals like 30-Minute Pasta Primavera, Artichoke Tomato & Spinach Pizza, and this Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu.
Who has been keeping up with the Half-Cup Habit challenge to consume 1/2 cup pulses three times a week? If you forgot what pulses are, they’re dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Not only are they yummy but they’re also packed with protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. A couple weeks ago I shared a recipe using beans (White Bean, Sausage, Pumpkin Pasta Bake) but today I’m showing you how yummy and easy it is to cook with lentils.
Ragu is typically a meat based Italian sauce but this recipe is a plant based version made with lentils instead. Do you cook with lentils often or even at all?
I’ll be the first to admit that we hardly ever eat lentils. Probably because when we were first married I made something with green lentils and it was just a green lumpy mush and the spices were not working.
I wasn’t going to give lentils another shot until I saw a similar recipe to this ragu. I’m sure glad I did because this Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu is delicious! For a meat loving family, we didn’t even miss it!
Lentils actually have quite a bit of protein. In each serving, the lentils contribute 13 grams protein as well as 7 grams fiber. I love when something is yummy and also healthy for me. Double win!
Normally, a ragu is served with a wide long noodle but I chose to use rotini so that the groves of the noodles would catch all the yummy ragu sauce. The lentils are so small they wiggle their way in between the spirals, clinging to it.
What makes this sauce so flavorful is the mirepoix- onion, carrot, and celery. The smell of these vegetables cooking is amazing! If a recipe starts with these three vegetables, you know it’s going to be good.
But this ragu goes further than that. It’s packed with herbs, garlic, broth, and tomatoes. And the lentils just cook right in the vegetable sauce. They’re inexpensive to buy and so easy to cook. If you haven’t given lentils a try or had them in awhile, put this Red Lentil Mushroom on the menu for this week. Enjoy!
Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu Recipe
Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 ribs celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
- 12 ounces bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 12 ounces rotini pasta
- 1/2 cup reserved starchy pasta water
- Parmesan cheese
Cook the onions, carrots, and celery in oil over medium heat in a large skillet for 6-8 minutes or until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and cook another 5 minutes.
Stir in the lentils, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, vegetable (or chicken) broth, tomato paste, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are soft.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on box until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining.
Add the pasta water to the ragu sauce and then mix the pasta and ragu sauce together. Serve topped with parsley and parmesan.