This plant based ragu is delicious, nutritious and has a gorgeous texture. The earthy sweet beetroots, wholesome lentils and crunchy, nutty walnuts all mingle perfectly to make a really delicious, vibrant pasta sauce. It is wonderful in layers in a lasagne too. If you are not a fan of beetroot, simply swap it for mushrooms and carrots. We do have a lot of brilliant beetroots coming out of our own fields now though, so this recipe is a great way to enjoy this locally grown, seasonal vegetable. Beetroots are brimming with goodness – iron, potassium, antioxidants and more!
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 sticks of celery, finely diced
250g beetroot, finely diced
150g raw green/brown lentils, rinsed (or use two tins of cooked lentils)
100g walnuts, crushed/crumbled into lentil sized pieces
2 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp capers, finely chopped
1 glass of red wine
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
500ml vegetable stock
In a wide, heavy bottomed pan, on a medium heat, cook the onion, celery and beetroot with the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir often and after around 8 minutes, the vegetables should be softened.
Then add the lentils, walnuts and flavourings (the garlic, capers, fennel seeds, bay leaves, oregano, chilli and thyme). Stir and cook for a couple of minutes to wake up the flavours in the seasoning. Then add the glass of wine and let it bubble until it is nearly evaporated.
Pour in the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and the vegetable stock and pop the lid on the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and the sauce is rich. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and keep an eye on the liquid levels, you may need to add a splash of water if it starts to look dry.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or pepper and serve over freshly cooked pasta. Enjoy!