Simple, yet special, recipes for the home chef.

Lentil-Mushroom Ragu

Lentil & Mushroom Ragu - A hearty vegetarian pasta sauce that will leave even the hungriest eaters satisfied! |

Let’s pretend it’s Meatless Monday, even though it’s Wednesday. I’m a big fan of meatless meals in general, and try to eat them at least once a week. While I’m generally pretty satisfied with a plate of veggies and grains, all of these meals have to pass the “husband test.”

Lentil & Mushroom Ragu - A hearty vegetarian pasta sauce that will leave even the hungriest eaters satisfied! |

A sure sign that a meatless meal did not have enough substance? A few hours after dinner, Jeff sneaks off to the kitchen and returns with a handful of peanuts. And then does it again. And then maybe makes some popcorn. Usually by this point, my stomach is rumbling too, so I grab my own bowl of popcorn. That’s when I’ve realized that my vegetarian dinner clearly didn’t have enough substance to get us through until breakfast the next morning.

Lentil & Mushroom Ragu - A hearty vegetarian pasta sauce that will leave even the hungriest eaters satisfied! |

This #WeekdaySupper is, without a doubt, the most satisfying meatless meal I have ever made. I think that both lentils and mushrooms have a quite “meaty” quality to them, and knew they would sub in for meat in a ragu pretty seamlessly. Sure enough, the lentils soaked up the flavors of garlic, tomatoes and spices, and the mushrooms added even more substance to this hearty sauce. Serve this lentil & mushroom ragu over your favorite pasta for a filling vegetarian meal that will leave you satisfied all night!

Lentil & Mushroom Ragu - A hearty vegetarian pasta sauce that will leave even the hungriest eaters satisfied! |

Lentil & Mushroom Ragu

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 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


  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; 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.


This recipe originally appeared here on the Naturebox blog.

Making one of my recipes? Please let me know by sharing a photo on my Facebook page, or uploading to Instagram or Twitter with the tag #foxeslovelemons. It would make my day!

8403137561_3bf910954c_oMake sure you check out this week’s other easy #WeekdaySupper recipes!
Monday – kimchi MOM – Fast and Cheesy Ramen
Tuesday – The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen – Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Bacon Soup
Thursday – Noshing With The Nolands – Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
Friday – Basic N Delicious – Avocado Pesto Pasta

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40 Responses to “Lentil-Mushroom Ragu”

  1. Renee Dobbs — January 22, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Yep, I believe I have found a recipe for lentils that my husband would enjoy. Thanks for sharing this one.


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — January 22nd, 2014 @ 9:35 am

      You’re welcome, Renee. My husband ended up eating this THREE times (because it made such a huge batch, and there’s just the two of us), but each time he told me he really liked it 🙂


  2. Jane's Adventures in Dinner — January 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    DREAM dinner. I love a recipe that is ‘tricky’ meatless. My sister is a vegetarian and I love making meals that she’ll enjoy and eat with us rather than a sad little side dish that she gets extra rations of. Oh, BTW, giving you a wee mention tomorrow on my bloggo.


  3. Lori | Foxes Love Lemons — January 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Oh, I have lots of “tricky” meatless recipes up my sleeve. Some of them, my husband STILL doesn’t know were meatless. hehe.

    I’ll be over tomorrow to check out my “wee mention” 🙂


  4. Trish @infinebalance — January 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    We generally follow a vegetarian diet, but I love the idea of using lentils in pasta sauce. SO much healthier than those phoney-meat veggie crumbles.


  5. Lori | Foxes Love Lemons — January 22, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Thansks Trish. I’m not a big fan of those fake meat concoctions, either. Lentils are way better 🙂


  6. Tara — January 22, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I love lentils, one of my favs when we have vegetarian night. Now I have another way to cook them, thank you!!! Gorgeous pictures too!!


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — January 23rd, 2014 @ 12:36 am

      Thanks so much, Tara. I wasn’t thrilled with the lighting I was getting when I was taking the photos, but they turned out much better than I had hoped!


  7. kimchi_mom — January 22, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Ok…I’m totally making this! I’ve been eating like crap these past couple of weeks! 🙁


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — January 23rd, 2014 @ 12:35 am

      Awwww, we all have times like that. Hopefully this helps you get back on track, Amy! Bonus: it makes a HUGE batch, so it’ll get you through a few meals 🙂


  8. Marjory @. Dinner-Mim — January 22, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    This is definitely hearty enough to get my crew through the night! Sounds delicious!


  9. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — January 23, 2014 at 12:16 am

    I want a giant bowl of this. This is on for dinner this week!


  10. Shaina Wizov — January 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    LOVE that this is a vegetarian dish made to resemble the meat sauce that meat-eaters always love. I have to try this out!


  11. Ann — January 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    absolutely delicious! I made this over the weekend, and am excited to eat it for lunches throughout the week : ) used fresh tomatoes and added some spices into this bad boy


  12. Lori | Foxes Love Lemons — January 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Ann – so glad to hear you enjoyed it! It re-heats for lunches really well 🙂


    • Penny Veg replied: — May 11th, 2014 @ 8:31 am

      I made a pan of this savoury ragu yesterday, and I’ve just made up a batch of individual lasagne’s with it this afternoon. I love that the recipe uses simple, inexpensive and readily available whole-foods. And it makes a lovely big pan which when used as a base ingredient in other dishes, can be put to all sorts of good uses like lasagne; so would be well worth making ahead and freezing in portions. The whole lentils and mushrooms make an excellent ‘meaty’ combo, which is much preferable to frozen veggie mince so far as I’m concerned. Many thanks for a great recipe, will definitely make again 🙂


      • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — May 12th, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

        Thanks so much, Penny! I actually JUST had the idea to make another batch and then use it to make lasagna with. I thought I was being super creative. haha.

        • Penny Veg replied: — May 14th, 2014 @ 7:00 am

          Well worth making into lasagne; the ragu has all the right flavours and textures and it goes great layered with a nice creamy white sauce.

  13. Lori | Foxes Love Lemons — May 14, 2014 at 9:29 am

    So glad to hear this, and I love that white sauce idea! It’s far too warm in Michigan now to even consider lasagna, but I’m putting it on the list for next fall/winter!


  14. Monica Robichaud — June 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I followed the recipe except I used a whole onion instead of only 1/2. I also used green lentils because that’s what I had on hand. I will be making this again for sure!


  15. Lori | Foxes Love Lemons — June 9, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Thanks for sharing, Monica. It looks great, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And between you and me: more onion is ALWAYS better in my book 😉


  16. scottt — January 16, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    dont know what i did but it turned out a bit tasteless 


    • Lori Yates replied: — January 17th, 2015 @ 8:56 pm

      So sorry to hear that, Scott. Thanks for letting me know.


  17. Amanda — January 23, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I posted about it on our family blog. I served this over spaghetti squash, and it was so filling! Have you ever considered eating it just as a soup?


    • Lori Yates replied: — January 25th, 2015 @ 12:02 pm

      Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for posting about it, and love the spaghetti squash idea for serving! I think it would work pretty well as a soup if it was thinned out with a bit more broth or water?


  18. Ariel — January 25, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    My husband decided to go vegetarian last April, and I’ve been cooking all vegetarian since then. I stumbled upon this recipe last fall and loved it so much that I make it every few weeks. My husband loves it too!! It makes a large batch so you can eat it for a few days afterwards. I get so excited every time I go to cook/eat it 😉 Side note: I use zucchini noodles a lot with its and it’s delicious! Thank you for sharing!


    • Lori Yates replied: — January 26th, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Ariel. I’m so glad this recipe is a big hit with your husband. I love the idea of making it with zucchini noodles. It’s a double whammy of nutrition, but still so tasty. Thanks so much for coming by!


  19. Tracy San713 — February 24, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    This was soooo deeeelish!!!  Very easy to make.  The homemade sauce was full of flavor!  Definitely a favorite of mine to make for me and the boyfriend.


    • Lori Yates replied: — February 24th, 2015 @ 5:44 pm

      I am so glad to hear you both love it, Tracy! This is one of my favorite recipes. In fact, I keep meaning to take this ragu and make a vegetarian lasagna from it. Stay tuned 😉


  20. TracyW — August 17, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    This recipe is fantastic. I’ve been making it a freezing the extra for easy dinners! Has anyone tried it in a slow cooker??


    • Lori Yates replied: — August 18th, 2015 @ 6:39 pm

      Hi Tracy! So glad you like this recipe. I haven’t tried it in a slow cooker yet, but I think it would work!


  21. mel — November 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    can i leave out the wine?


    • Lori Yates replied: — November 11th, 2015 @ 1:38 pm

      Hi Mel – so sorry for the delayed response. You can absolutely leave out the wine.


  22. Leslie — November 11, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Finally made this last night, after months of eyeing it up. Made mostly for my mum who is full time vegetarian, but I try and cycle in some meatless dinner options too. Delish! Simple, hearty AND tasty… who cld ask for more?! Tks for sharing.


    • Lori Yates replied: — November 11th, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

      So glad it was a hit for you, Leslie! My favorite vegetarian meals are the hearty ones where you don’t really feel like you are “missing” anything, you know?


  23. Julie B — January 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Hi Lori! I came across your site on google search, whilst hunting a lentil and mushroom recipe. I can’t wait to try this, will be cooking it sometime this week. I’ll let you know how it turns out!


    • Lori Yates replied: — January 4th, 2016 @ 2:24 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie. Enjoy!


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