The ‘ragu’ in the picture is using green ‘French-style’ or Puy lentils. It’s easily my favourite. But don’t let that deter you from exploring other beans or split peas or even chickpeas.
2 onions, diced
3-4 tablespoons butter
dash of flavouring highlight, optional
2 cans tomatoes (400g / 14oz each)
500g (1lb) cooked legumes (2 cans)
1. Cook onions, butter, a little olive oil and the flavouring highlight, if using in a large frying pan or skillet on a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft but not well browned.
2. Remove flavouring highlight, if using. Add tomatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes on a medium heat until the sauce has thickened.
3. Add legumes and simmer for another 5 minutes or until hot. Taste and season.
onion-free – just skip the onion (but not the butter!) or replace onions with celery or diced carrots or a combo of both.
dairy-free – replace butter with olive oil. Be generous!
flavouring highlight – a small star anise is great for boosting the ‘meaty’ flavours of the onion. Other options include chilli, rosemary leaves, thyme, bay leaves or sage.
tomato-free – I much prefer tomato based ragus, but if you needed to make it tomato-free for some reason I’d double the onions and replace the two cans of tomatoes with 1 1/2 cups vegtable or chicken stock.
cooked or canned legumes – green lentils, red lentils, brown lentils, yellow split peas, green split peas, cannellini beans, chickpeas, butter beans, lima beans, black beans, red kidney beans.
Brilliant. Will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Freezes well.
problem solving guide
bland – keep simmering to reduce and concentrate the flavours. If you’re short on time you may like to add a few tablespoons of tomato paste. An extra tablespoon or two of butter may also help.
too thick – Add water if too thick.
too runny – keep simmering and next time use a more shallow pan to get maximum evaporation.
mushy legumes – be careful not to overcook the legumes next time.
hard legumes – keep simmering until they are just tender. Crunchy legumes can be difficult to digest. Next time cook the legumes for longer before adding to the ragu.
Use anywhere you’d normally use a meat ragu. In lasagne, with pasta, or with carrot or zucchini ‘noodles’.