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Lean Beef and Lentil Ragu

Somi Igbene PhD ANutrSeptember 17, 2021

Boost your fruit and vegetable intake with this flavourful and nutrient-dense beef and lentil ragu. It is truly delicious and a definite crowd and family pleaser! 

If you also struggle with convincing your children to try new foods, I find that combining the food you want them to try with other foods they’re familiar with always works. 

While I love all lentil varieties, my kids don’t feel the same. Red lentils are almost a no-go (one of my kids just about tolerates them), but I realised that I might have better luck with green lentils since they retain their shape once cooked. 

My kids love beef ragu, so adding some green lentils to it seemed liked the perfect way to encourage them to try lentils. It worked; they loved it!

As with most of my recipes, this one is easy to make. It requires a lot of chopping and prepping, but putting the recipe together is relatively straightforward once that’s done. 

Before I share the recipe, let’s explore the 

Nutritional Highlights of Lean Beef and Lentil Ragu

Protein: Protein is crucial to maintain and repair your muscles and for immunity bone health. This recipe is a rich source of quality proteins and providing 32.9g per serving. 

Fibre: Fibre is crucial for gut and cardiovascular health. This recipe is a rich source of fibre, providing 11.4g per serving, or 16% of the reference daily intake (RDI). 

Iron: Iron is an essential part of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs to every part of your body. It’s crucial for brain development and a healthy immune system. This recipe is a rich source of iron, providing 7.8mg or 56% of the RDI. 

Zinc: Zinc is vital for wound healing and immune health. It is also essential for DNA production and sensory responses, and it helps your body break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy. This recipe is a rich source of zinc, providing 5.5mg or 55% of the RDI. 

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is crucial for skin, eye and immune health. A recent study in Black women has shown a link between adequate vitamin A intake, especially from beta-carotene, and lower oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer risk. This recipe is a rich source of vitamin A, providing 1281mcg or 160% of the RDI. 

How to cook Lean Beef and Lentil Ragu

Ingredients

  • 250g extra lean beef mince
  • 150g green lentils
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1 large chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 50g spring onions, finely chopped
  • 200g passata
  • 2 teaspoons herb de Provence 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 4 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 250g dried tagliatelle
  • Parmesan, to serve
  • Freshly chopped parsley, to serve

How to cook

  1. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick pan over high heat. Add beef mince, cook for around 7 minutes stirring continuously and breaking the mince with the cooking spoon. Add one teaspoon of herb de Provence and continue to cook the mince until all the liquid evaporates and the meat is dark brown (not burned), then tip into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining olive oil to the same pan over high heat. Add carrots and spring onions and fry for 6-8 minutes or until the carrots soften and caramelise. Then add chopped onions, garlic, herb de Provence, chilli and tomato puree. Fry for 3 minutes before adding passata, balsamic vinegar, minced beef, vegetable stock, lentils and around 700ml of water. Stir thoroughly, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until thickened and reduced. 
  3. When the ragu is almost ready, cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid, then add to the ragu. Toss well over low heat, adding small splashes of the pasta cooking water if needed to loosen slightly—season to taste with salt and pepper and take the pan off the heat. 
  4. Serve the pasta with a grating of parmesan and fresh parsley. 
Print
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Lean Beef and Lentil Ragu

  • Author: Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Lunch/dinner
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Italian-inspired

Description

Nutrient-dense and flavourful lean beef and lentil ragu.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 250g extra lean beef mince
  • 150g green lentils
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1 large chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 50g spring onions, finely chopped
  • 200g passata
  • 2 teaspoons herb de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 4 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 250g dried tagliatelle
  • Parmesan, to serve
  • Freshly chopped parsley, to serve

 


Instructions

  1. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick pan over high heat. Add beef mince, cook for around 7 minutes stirring continuously and breaking the mince with the cooking spoon. Add one teaspoon of herb de Provence and continue to cook the mince until all the liquid evaporates and the meat is dark brown (not burned), then tip into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining olive oil to the same pan over high heat. Add carrots and spring onions and fry for 6-8 minutes or until the carrots soften and caramelise. Then add chopped onions, garlic, herb de Provence, chilli and tomato puree. Fry for 3 minutes before adding passata, balsamic vinegar, minced beef, vegetable stock, lentils and around 700ml of water. Stir thoroughly, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until thickened and reduced.
  3. When the ragu is almost ready, cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid, then add to the ragu. Toss well over low heat, adding small splashes of the pasta cooking water if needed to loosen slightly—season to taste with salt and pepper and take the pan off the heat.
  4. Serve the pasta with a grating of parmesan and fresh parsley.

Notes

You can leave out beef or replace with chopped mushrooms to make this vegan


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: Per serving
  • Calories: 534
  • Sugar: 16.4g
  • Sodium: 126mg
  • Fat: 11.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0.14g
  • Carbohydrates: 75g
  • Fiber: 11.5g
  • Protein: 32.6g
  • Cholesterol: 28.1mg

Keywords: lentils, lean beef, ragu, tagliatelle

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