Penne with Lentil Ragu

With their rich, earthy flavor and tender texture, protein-rich lentils make an excellent substitute for meat in this simple, quick-cooking pasta dish. Serve with a salad for a complete meal that’s both satisfying and nutritious.

Penne with Lentil Ragu

Penne with Lentil Ragu

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

A flavorful and satisfying meatless pasta dish made with nutrition-packed brown lentils, tomatoes and penne.


  • 10 ounces dried penne, rotini or ziti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook until slightly softened, 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 2 minutes longer.
  3. Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and oregano. Stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Note: You may need some add water midway through the cooking if the lentils absorb too much of the liquid before they're fully cooked.
  5. When the ragu is nearly done, cook and drain the pasta according to package directions. Plate individual servings and top each with a portion of the lentil ragu.