Slow Cooked Lentil Ragu

slow cooked lentil ragu

Since buying our slow cooker before Christmas I’ve tried some of our old favourite recipes in it to see how they fare. Some work very well, some not so much. This is one of the recipes that is improved with a slow low cook. It transforms the sauce into a thick, rich almost meat-like sauce that even satisfied meat-loving Hubs. Technically it is a vegan dish (assuming you use vegan wine and Worcestershire sauce), that is until you load it with cheese like we do.

I often make a big batches of this lentil ragu and freeze in 1-2 portions so a quick dinner is always at hand. We usually serve it with either pasta or couscous but it also works well with rice. What makes this meal even better is that it is a thrifty dish coming in at about 77p per portion.

When ever I use lentils in dishes I tend to use a mixture of both red and green lentils. Red lentils are good for thickening a sauce whereas green lentils give the texture.

This recipe is as easy as it comes. No sautéing of vegetables required. Just throw all the prepped ingredients in the slow cooker, sit back and 5 hours later you have dinner.

Slow Cooker Lentil Ragu
Serves 6

  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 125g button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 100g dried red lentils
  • 100g dried green/puy lentils
  • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500g passata
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 125ml red wine or port (if making this as a vegan dish make sure the wine/port is vegan)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (again if making as vegan use a vegan Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper


  1. Prep all the vegetables and place in the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Stir.
  2. Cook on low for 5-7 hours until sauce is thick and lentils are cooked. It is sometimes worth giving the ragu an occasional stir during cooking and check no more liquid is required. If it does need more water before the end of cooking make sure this is hot water.

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

8 thoughts on “Slow Cooked Lentil Ragu

    (March 21, 2014 - 7:00 am)

    I like the idea of this, especially the no pre-cooking part, and much though we are enthusiastic carnivores we are also lentil fans. Looks fab.

    Jules: Butcher Baker (@DomesticJules)

    (March 21, 2014 - 8:19 am)

    @BakingBachelor WP is being silly this morning. Try this link

    Holly B

    (March 21, 2014 - 1:06 pm)

    This is going to be a definite must make for us. I love lentils. Wonder if the kids will notice it’s not meat??


    (March 22, 2014 - 7:42 pm)

    Tried this tonight. It was very tasty. I’m bored of meat and veg at the moment and this was delicious.

    Emma Smith (@elsweb)

    (March 31, 2014 - 7:17 pm)

    Thanks for this recipe – it was perfect for #meatfreemonday and I loved being able to just throw it all in the slow cooker before work. Nice one!


    (April 10, 2014 - 4:15 pm)

    This sounds fantastic, do the veggies really not need any pre-sweating to get them tasty and tender? Despite owning a slow cooker I never actually use it, once I get a frying pan out I figure I might as well keep cooking in the traditional way! Will definitely give this a try :)


      (April 10, 2014 - 4:17 pm)

      In some slow-cooker recipes I think it benefits pre-cooking the vegetables but in this case it makes no difference.

    owyn johnny

    (May 7, 2014 - 11:45 am)

    I love the recipe, do you have any pasta recipe maybe with fresh truffles of even truffle oil?

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