Student Suppers: Freeze Ahead Red Lentil Ragu

This super easy, super delicious Lentil Ragu I think has to be one of my favourite things to make during term time, usually for a Saturday or Sunday night supper, because the amount of time it saves me over the next few weeks cooking dinner. You will need a very big pot to make this in, and it makes about eight to ten portions, served over spagetti. That is at least 7 quick, easy and delicious week night dinners you’ll have over the next month or so you don’t have to worry about. I like to take it out at lunch time to defrost, then just tip it into a saucepan with a couple of glugs of water to heat up while the pasta is cooking, but you can also do it in a bit of water straight from frozen at the last minute. This is good if you’ve totally forgotten about feeding yourself!

Once again, this is a recipe adapted from BBC Good Food. I don’t get all of my recipes from there, but I grew up learning to cook out of their magazine, so while I love reading cookbooks for ideas, if I fancy like making my own tomato pasta sauce, or steaming some mussels, I always turn to them for a basic base recipe. You might notice that some of the conversions I’ve done from Metric don’t match up; I changed it a little for what size packets ingredients come in in America, and the end result tasted identical.

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Freeze Ahead Red Lentil Ragu

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Freeze-ahead


This easy, naturally vegan red lentil ragu is a great freeze-ahead alternative to meat sauce over your Saturday-night spaghetti!


  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Onions, Finely Chopped
  • 3 Carrots, Finely Chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 500g (1lb) Dried Red Lentils
  • 2 x 400g (1 Large Tin) Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme 
  • 1 Chicken or Vegetable Stock Cube in 1 Litre (4 cups) of Water


  1. Heat the oil in a very large pan, and add the finely chopped carrots and onions, and the garlic. Gently fry until the onions and soft, but nothing is burnt.
  2. Add the lentils, the chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree, the herbs and the stock. Stir well and bring the contents of your pot to the boil. Lower the heat until it is simmering (still visibly cooking, but not boiling), put a lid on the pan and cook for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


Serve over a bed of spaghetti, or cooked pasta if that is all you happen to have laying around. If you want to go super fancy and serve this up to someone, sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley over the top and serve with a good red wine.