Oozy Red Lentil ‘Risotto’ with Red Wine & Sausages


sausage & red wine lentil 'risotto'-3

Oozy Red Lentil ‘Risotto’ with Red Wine & Sausages

I love a good red lentil ‘risotto’. All the oozy goodness with lots more protein and fibre than your boring old rice risotto. And not only that, no need to stir constantly!

Enough for: 2
Takes: 30 minutes

1 onion, peeled & diced
2-3 thick pork sausages, skins removed and meat crumbled into chunks
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
200g (7oz) dried red lentils
2 handfuls grated parmesan + extra to serve

1. Heat a little oil in a medium saucepan and add onion. Cover and cook on a medium low heat, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes or until onion is soft.

2. When the onion is soft, increase the heat to medium high, add the sausages and cook for a few minutes until browned.

3. Add the lentils. Stir for a minute.

4. Add red wine and the stock. Stir well then simmer for 15-20 or until the stock is absorbed and the lentils are tender and oozy. If it gets too dry before the lentils are cooked, add a little water.

5. Add cheese and stir until combined. Taste and season. Serve with extra parmesan shaved over.


dairy-free / vegan – to be honest I can’t imagine risotto without the butter and cheese. But if you’re willing to give it a go use olive oil to fry the onion and finish with a tablespoon of tomato paste and more olive oil.

vegetarian – mushrooms, feta, goats cheese are all lovely instead of the sausages and replace the chicken stock with veggie stock. You could also just skip the sausage and add extra cheese.

use your imagination – pretty much any rice risotto can be adapted to the lentils. Just remember the lentils don’t need quite as much liquid as arborio rice.

different lentils – red lentils are best here because they break down to give that lovely oozy texture. Good old brown lentils will be fine but save your expensive Puy or French-style green lentils for other dishes.

– just skip it.

more substantial (low carb) – skip the lentils and serve red wine sausages with cauli mash. Or try these slow baked bangers.

paleo (grain, legume & dairy-free) – replace the lentils with mushrooms (skip the stock and red wine). And replace the parmesan with roast hazelnuts. Or try this Magic Sausage + Cabbage Supper instead.

more substantial (carb lovers) – serve garlic bread on the side.

more veg – add diced mushrooms, carrot and celery with the onions / garlic.

short on time – skip the onion and bring the red wine and stock to the boil in a separate saucepan while the sausages are browning.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

sausages – will keep for a few days. If packaged in cryovac will keep for 5-6 days. Best to freeze if you need to store for longer OR poach the sausages (simmer gently in water for 15 minutes or until cooked through) then drain and keep in a container in the fridge. Cooked sausages will keep for a week in the fridge.

red wine – keep in the pantry. lasts much longer if hidden from the view of a certain Irishman 😉

stock, lentils – keep in the pantry.

parmesan – keeps for longer in a chunk so only grate when you’re cooking. I wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and then keep in an airtight container or a sealed ziplock bag. I prefer this over just wrapping in cling wrap because the air in the container allows the cheese to breathe and not sweat but the container / plastic bag prevents from drying out in the dry fridge air. Either way will keep for months.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook lentil risotto as per the recipe but keep the parmesan separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in a pan with a little oil and an extra splash of water or stock before adding parmesan. If it looks dry and not ‘oozy’ add more water.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison Roberts May 12, 2016

This has fast become a family favourite! I am really keen to replace the rice with lentils in other risottos now.

Your recipes are amazing Jules.


jules May 19, 2016

Yay Alison!


Anita N August 26, 2015

I usually make my lentils (dahl) Indian style with turmeric, cumin etc. This was a delicious change for me. I used Italian style turkey sausage. So few ingredients, such big flavor. A winner.


jules August 27, 2015

So glad you liked it Anita!


Anita Nessin September 15, 2015

I’m having my kitchen renovated, so I have only a microwave for cooking. Could this be adapted for the microwave?


jules September 17, 2015

Yes Anita
I haven’t had a microwave in over 10 years though so I’m not the best person to ask… I’d start with less stock because you’ll probably get less evaporation. Be prepared to add extra liquid as needed.
The end result really should be like risotto in texture


Tessa Finney-Brown May 2, 2015

I love these red lentil ‘risottos’ of yours. They’ve become my easy signature dish for when people come around for dinner as they allow plenty of time to chat whilst cooking (ie are easy and quick), and always taste great. Even for me (a bad cook) they’re pretty foolproof!


jules May 7, 2015

So glad you’re enjoying Tessa!
And great idea to use the lentil risotto for entertaining… I hadn’t thought of that.. love it!


Tania March 18, 2015

Finally made this after having it on my recipe list for a while, and it was delicious! Served it on a bed of spinach leaves. It’ll be on regular rotation from now on. Thanks for another great recipe Jules.


jules March 19, 2015

Hi Tania!
So glad you liked it 🙂


Angie August 11, 2014

hi Jules,
I’ve made this twice with turkey sausage and chicken stock and it was delicious! Love the simplicity of the ingredients! So glad I found your site!


jules August 14, 2014

So glad you’re enjoying it Angie!
It’s one of my favourites too


Jules June 25, 2020

Made this last night with a few mods to make it more family friendly. Just swapped tomato passata for the red wine and water for the stock. And skipped the onion because I was short on time.

I just had a. 1/2 serve with some extra sausages. Finbar loved it. Fergal wasn’t so keen.

And it was fine for my boood sugar! Yay!


Tess Newnes February 6, 2014

I didn’t love this one (I made the vegetarian version) but I think maybe it was because I just don’t really like the flavour of red lentils, so I’ll use brown in future recipes that call for them.


Penny February 5, 2014

I made this last night substituting eggs for the sausage and really enjoyed it. It was very tasty not having any herbs or spices. I cooked it in a deep, lidded frypan and when the lentils were soft I stirred in the parmesan then made some hollows into which I cracked the eggs. I seasoned the eggs then put the lid on the pan and cooked it on low a little longer till the whites were set.


Edith Vignal February 5, 2014

I agree with Holly above, it tasted really great and I loved it but would not serve it to guests because of the colour. Maybe I should just add spinach and tomato paste to improve the presentation …


Holly Storm February 4, 2014

I really liked this, like a comfort food, but my husband didn’t like the presentation. He was turned off by the color.

We are at high altitude, so I cooked the lentils with wine and water and added bouillon in the last 5 minutes. (my lentils and rice never get done at high altitude if I add salt in the cooking water) They got pretty soft, but not mushy in 20-25 min. I also forgot the parmesan, but it tasted great anyway. We served it over un-salted rice and it was still plenty salty without the cheese.


Dyann Karchnak February 2, 2014

What kind of wine should be used? We usually have a cabernet sauvignon but I’ve found it rather strong in some recipes–it end up that all you can taste is the wine.



Anke Betz November 11, 2013

Hi Jules
I tried this for dinner tonight, and although I followed the instructions, it turned out kinda bad… 🙁 For one, I had to add a whole lot of water (at least 2 cups), and still the lentils were quite al dente when I finally decided to eat it anyway, and secondly, it turned out extremely salty. That may have been because of the stock and the Parmesan, but it was really very, very salty. We added some sour cream to make it better, but still… I was disappointed, because I really like lentils and Parmesan both! Is till have leftovers, which I stored in in the fridge with some more sour cream and water mixed. Maybe it will be better tomorrow…
I also noticed that you mentioned butter in the dairy-free note, but there is actually no butter called for in the recipe… ?
Thanks for your suggestions!
Anke :o}


jules November 19, 2013

Hi Anke!

I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this. And thanks for letting me know!

If you are using a commercial stock they can be very salty so next time I’d either use a salt reduced one or use half stock half water.

With the butter, you could either cook the onion in oil or butter which is what I was thinking about when I wrote that note for being dairy-free. Well spotted!

In terms of you not having enough liquid, I’m assuming you had the correct amount of lentils and wine and stock. The only thing I can think of would be that red lentils where you live are different to Australian ones. The ones I used are very small and look like little discs that have been split in half so one surface is more ‘flat’ and the other is rounded.

I’m wondering if your red lentils were what we’d call Italian-style or ‘Castelluccio’ red lentils. These are slightly larger and rounded on both sides. They’re similar to French ‘Puy’ lentils in that they hold their shape much longer than the smaller red lentils I used. And would need more liquid and a longer cooking time.

Do you think that explains it?


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