A warming ragu is perfect for winter – and you can knock this veggie one, from food writer Lola Milne’s Take One Tin, up in no time.

“When I was growing up, my aunty Sophie often made a big pan of tomatoey lentils when we went round. This version is a nod to a traditional Italian meat ragu, but I have added soft aubergine instead and served with soft polenta and wilted greens,” says Milne.

Simple ragu recipe (Lizzie Mayson/PA)
Simple ragu recipe (Lizzie Mayson/PA)
Simple ragu recipe (Lizzie Mayson/PA)
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Ragu with tomato, lentil and aubergine
Amount Per Serving
Calories 635 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 205mg9%
Potassium 696mg20%
Carbohydrates 86g29%
Fiber 33g138%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 191IU4%
Vitamin C 24mg29%
Calcium 150mg15%
Iron 12mg67%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ragu with tomato, lentil and aubergine

Meat-free, simply and you can serve it with whatever you fancy.
Cook Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6
Calories: 635kcal
Author: Lola Milne


  • Large frying pan


  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 aubergines cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 800 g beluga lentils drained and rinsed
  • 800 g chopped tomatoes
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • In a large frying pan, heat two tablespoons of the oil, add the onions and soften over a low heat for about 10–15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in another frying pan, heat the remaining oil, add the aubergines and a pinch of salt, then fry on high for five to 10 minutes, stirring often until the aubergine cubes are golden. Set aside.
  • By this point, the onions should be soft and tinged golden. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves and chilli flakes. Fry for a further two to three minutes, then tip in the wine. Bring to the boil and boil until it has reduced by two-thirds in volume (this shouldn’t take more than five minutes).
  • Last but not least, add the lentils, tomatoes and the browned aubergine cubes. Season and reduce the heat, then simmer for 15–20 minutes until the sauce has thickened a little and the aubergine is buttery soft.
  • Just before serving, fish out the bay leaves. This ragu is great with soft polenta, pasta or served simply with a hunk of bread.


Calories: 635kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 205mg | Potassium: 696mg | Fiber: 33g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 191IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 12mg

Take One Tin by Lola Milne, photography by Lizzie Mayson, is published by Kyle Books.

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