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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 4 cups sauce + 3 cups pasta

Want a meal that’s comforting and quick? You’ve come to the right recipe. A seasoned lentil-veggie mixture makes for a satisfying vegan ragu, which gets spooned over whole grain pasta for a healthy, hearty, no-fuss meal.Penne’s diagonal cut makes it great for scooping up sauces, but you can substitute any whole grain pasta you have on hand. Sprinkle everything with fresh parsley, roll out a checkered tablecloth, light a candle, and imagine yourself in an Italian trattoria as you enjoy!

Hearty Lentil Ragu with Penne on a white plate with a metal fork


  • 2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1½ cups cooked lentils
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1½ teaspoon white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups dry whole grain penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large saucepan combine the first five ingredients (through Italian seasoning) and ¼ cup water. Cook over medium-low about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Stir in lentils, tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Serve lentil sauce over pasta. Garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

Comments (4)

(4 from 2 votes)
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Tela Isik2 days ago
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What type of lentils do you use? Does it matter?

Debbie1 week ago
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Loved the sauce. My lentils though where not very good not sure what I did wrong. I think it need cheese any suggestions? Was not crazy about the wheat penne any suggestions.

I am try very hard to follow you but do many of your recipes are for several people. I am a widow trying to eat better but not like left overs for days. Any suggestions?
Thank you. Happy New Year

C2 days ago
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Debbie, for “cheese” flavor, people use Nutritional Yeast. I don’t care for it, but … you might?
I also cook just for myself. Many times I cut recipes in half, other times I simply freeze portions which gives me no-cooking days

Nada4 days ago
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Hi Debbie,
I would suggest halving the ingredients recommended. This should give you generally about two servings (depending on the individual recipe), meaning you will have a leftover meal (or two instead of several meals) for the next day. To go even further, if you like cooking fresh meals daily, you could quarter the ingredients and this will give you closer to meal size for one person.

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about the author

Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit for more.

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