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Hearty Lentil Ragu

Packed with protein and fiber, this Hearty Lentil Ragu with mushrooms, carrots, and tomatoes in a savory red wine sauce is a cozy vegan meal! It’s delicious over a bed of pasta, polenta, or mashed potatoes.

top down view of plated vegan lentil ragu with veggies in a pasta bowl with fork.

Lentil ragu is a plant-forward, vegan twist on the classic Italian meat ragu. Instead of ground meat, lentils (a type of pulse with a nutty flavor and protein punch) are used. The sauce is typically made with tomatoes, herbs, and spices and often includes mushrooms, carrots, or onions. And I have just that for you!

When you are craving a savory and comforting meal, this Lentil Ragu recipe is a delicious and nutritious option for all types of eaters. The combination of mushrooms, carrots, and lentils in a flavorful tomato sauce creates a satisfying veggie-filled meal!

It’s a straightforward dish that’s easy to assemble and ready in under an hour. The aroma alone smells delicious and once you take your first bite, you’ll be in comfort food heaven. Seriously, I had seconds and thirds!

It’s packed with protein, fiber, and plenty of other essential vitamins to help you stay feeling your best! Give it a try and enjoy a hearty and healthy dinner tonight!

top down view of ingredients used to make lentil ragu with mushrooms on a marble slab.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this recipe, onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, and lentils are braised until tender with herbs and robust red wine for a savory ragu served with pasta for a hearty vegan main dish.

Here is everything you will need with substitutions when possible:

  • Onion & Garlic – A classic aromatic duo.
  • Carrots – Add heartiness and texture.
  • Mushrooms – If you don’t like mushrooms, feel free to substitute them with chopped red bell pepper, zucchini, or celery.
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano or herbes de Provence
  • Lentils – Use brown, green, or puy.
  • Diced tomatoes – If you don’t have fresh or canned tomatoes on hand, substitute a jar (25 oz) of your choice of organic pasta sauce.
  • Vegetable broth – We recommend a low-sodium veg broth.
  • Full-bodied red wine – You can sub with vegetable broth, or water or veggie broth. If using wine, feel free to add more, as it gives a wonderful flavor!
  • Tomato paste – Added to help thicken the ragu, but can be optional.
  • Salt + pepper – To taste.
  • Pasta – I used pappardelle, but you can use your pasta of choice. Try fettecini, linguine, penne, rigatoni, elbow, spaghetti, etc. And two thumbs up if using whole-grain!
  • Parsley – Adds a pop of color and herbaceousness to your serving.
side by side photos showing the process of sauteing veggies in a blue pot with wooden spoon.

How To Make Lentil Ragu

Making lentil ragu is easy as can be!

This is a step-by-step overview, the measurements and full printable instructions are below.

Saute: Heat oil or water in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, mushrooms, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and saute for 4 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to soften.

side by side process of veggies and lentils added to blue pot and ready to simmer.

Simmer: Add lentils, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and red wine. Give it a good stir, bring it to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 35 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender.

Pasta: Toward the end of cooking time, cook pasta according to package directions.

And that’s it – this vegan ragu is a keeper and a welcome addition to the recipe collection!

top down view of lentil ragu in a blue pot with wooden spoon and items surrounding.

How To Store + Reheat

Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored for 5 days in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Freezer: Lentil ragu is freezer-friendly and freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer-safe containers (affiliate link), leaving 1/2-inch head space for expansion. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags (remove as much air as possible before zip locking). Let thaw before reheating.

Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm.

Serving Suggestions

Ragu is commonly served with pasta, but here are a few more ideas to make it your own:

side angle view of plated vegan lentil ragu with veggies in a pasta bowl with fork.

More Hearty Recipes!

If you try this easy lentil recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 9 reviews

This Lentil Ragu with mushrooms, carrots, and tomatoes is packed with plant-based protein and fiber, making it a deliciously hearty, savory, and comforting vegan meal!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Vegansita
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Entree, Pasta
  • Method: saute, simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water for oil-free
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano or herbes de Provence
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils (brown, green or puy)
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes (see notes)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine
  • mineral salt & cracked pepper, to taste
  • 16 oz. pasta of choice (linguine, fettuccine, pappardelle, rigatoni, etc.)
  • chopped parsley, to serve


Saute: In a large dutch oven/pot, heat oil or water over medium heat, add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, mushrooms, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and saute for 4 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to soften.

Simmer: Add lentils, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth and wine, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, until lentils are tender. Add more water/broth or wine as needed.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Serve ragu over pasta. Top with chopped parsley and a light dusting of Almond Parmesan.

Serves 4 generously, or 6 smaller portions.

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a covered container. To keep longer, store in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months.


If you don’t have canned tomatoes on hand, sub in a jar (25 oz) of organic pasta sauce of choice.

Use whatever pasta you like. I’ve served this with all kinds of pasta types. Even zucchini noodles would be great!

If not using wine, replace with water or veggie broth. If using wine, feel free to add more, it gives a wonderful flavor!

If you don’t like mushrooms, sub in a small diced red bell pepper, small diced zucchini or 1/2 cup diced celery.

If you don’t have tomato paste on hand, sub with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water. Add to the pot, stirring well, 15 minutes before cooking time is up. If you don’t want to use either, the ragu will be fine, it’s just to thicken it up a bit. 

Looking for vegan wine, take a look at this great resource! Barnivore: Vegan Wine Directory

Nutrition information has been calculated without the pasta.

Updated: This recipe was originally published in August 2014 and has been retested and updated with new photos in May 2024.

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  1. Very delicious!! Happy with the finished product. This was our first vegetarian dinner and the first of many.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Wonderful, so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Cheers to many more! :)

  2. One of my favorite from the simple-veganista!

  3. Delicious as usual! You’re recipes are always creative and fantastic.

  4. Made this tonight and loved it…I didn't have any pasta so I served it with baked polenta which was great! My question is…can I freeze portions of the ragu?

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      The polenta sounds great! I haven't tried freezing this but I would guess that it will be just fine.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I made this tonight and it is amazing, my husband loves it! Thank you so much :)Renee, Nova Scotia

  6. I absolutely love lentils as bolognese on pasta. This is amazing! xo Elisa

  7. Jenny Fourcaudot says:

    And i'm doing this tonight!

  8. June Baby says:

    That looks awesome! I love ragu, this variation sounds good :)

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Thank you!

  9. Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl says:

    Yum!! I am excited to make this and serve it over spaghetti squash "pasta" :)

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      That sounds perfect! Love spaghetti squash! ♥

  10. Katie @ Produce On Parade says:

    Congratulations on your second Blogiversary!! I too happen to be living off nothing for lack of store trips. This looks fantastic, more lentils is never a bad thing!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Thank you Katie! I have seemed to have also written 'blogiversary' wrong. LOL Changing it now! I have a full pantry so it wasn't so hard but I love looking in my refrigerator now…the color is back!

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