Red Pepper & Lentil Ragù with Linguine Recipe

This is a version of my grandmother's stew that I've been eating since I was a child and even started making it with my mother when I was 10-12 years old and was usually eaten during the cold season.  It's a simple recipe and worthy of kings, or so it has always seemed to me. The truth is that nothing is more delicious than lentils, and not just during winter; they are very tasty and super nutritious, no matter what the season.

In general, ragù sauce is usually prepared with beef or pork, and recognised more as a bolognese sauce. However, many people follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or simply prefer to prepare a ragù without meat. Ideally, one of the elements that should not be missing from a healthy and balanced diet are legumes.  Lentils are one of the oldest crops in existence and besides being very rich in iron, also contain carbohydrates, vitamins, potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium and a high degree of fibre, which makes it an ideal food for keeping the body in perfect condition. 

Vegetarian ragù sauce is a perfect accompaniment to all kinds of pasta and cereals, such as rice or quinoa.  This sauce can also be treated as a vegan ragout by simply not adding the Parmesan cheese.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

1 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion
1 garlic clove
1 medium red pepper, diced
300g cooked lentils
300ml tomato sauce
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
150g linguine

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
2 Add garlic and saute another minute, until fragrant.

3. Add all remaining ingredients except the lentils, and lower heat to medium. Simmer about 5 minutes, then add the lentils and simmer for another 10 minutes until peppers are tender and sauce has thickened a bit.

4. Serve with 75g of linguine or any pasta of your choice per person, cooked as on packet instructions.

5. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, if desired.