Comforting mushroom and lentil ragu with wholewheat spaghetti By Harriet Maule-ffinch

When I ate red meat, spaghetti Bolognese was my go-to comfort food. It was hard to lose. Once I’d tried cooking a lentil ragu however, I didn’t look back. This one is particularly earthy and moreish, flavoured with fennel seeds and rosemary, and although you inevitably don’t get quite the depth you do with a meat ragu, the porcini mushrooms, miso paste, and red wine add umami. Mushrooms give a Vitamin D hit which we need for calcium absorption and lentils are a great source of so much good stuff – B vitamins, magnesium, iron, protein and fibre.


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in 150ml hot water and then chopped, water reserved
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 x 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 100ml red wine
  • 200g dried green lentils
  • 500ml water
  • Pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a heavy based saucepan and add the onion, celery, carrot and fennel seeds. Cook for 10-15 minutes on a low heat until soft. Add the garlic, chestnut mushrooms and porcini mushrooms and turn the heat up. If you find a lot of water coming out of the mushrooms, keep the heat high until the moisture has cooked off, probably around 4-5 minutes.

  2. Turn the heat down, and add the miso paste, rosemary, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, red wine, lentils, porcini water (being careful not to add the sediment which should have settled to the bottom) and veg stock.

  3. Cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft (cooking times can vary quite a lot between brands). Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Serve with wholewheat pasta, a crisp salad or tenderstem broccoli (which pairs well with fennel) and enjoy!

Allergens: Celery, soya, possible sulphites in red wine


This ragu also makes a great base for a veggie shepherd’s pie topped with mashed potato and an oozy, cheesy topping – the stuff childhood memories are made of! Add white beans to the mash topper for extra pulse power!

See who’s putting #beansonthemenu