Simple Beef and Brown Lentil Ragu

  • Yield : 2 cups
  • Prep Time : 5m
  • Cook Time : 25m
  • Ready In : 35m

The first time I made this beef and brown lentil ragu for George I had to go back to get him seconds and thirds before he said he was all done.  I served it mixed through risoni pasta and he loved it.  It’s really simple, really tasty and high in iron, protein, carbohydrates and fibre and contains hidden veggies for fussy eaters. Despite the inclusion of zucchini, there is no sign of anything green!

Nutrition Note:  Lentils are a great addition to meat based sauces.  They add quality carbohydrates and fibre and are an economical and nutritious way to bulk up meals, especially if you have a family full of hungry little eaters.

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  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion, finely grated
  • 1 small carrot, finely grated
  • 1 small zucchini, finely grated
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 x 400g tin of crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water, beef or chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup tinned brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • tiny pinch of sugar


Step 1

Heat the olive oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and zucchini and cook for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add the beef mince and cook for 3-5 minutes until browned. Add the tomatoes and water or stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the lentils and a tiny pinch of sugar and simmer for a further 5 minutes adding more water if needed. -

Step 2

Puree if necessary. Serve with small pasta or mashed potato. -

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Keira on September 23, 2013

    Just checking when the lentils should be added, it is listed twice in the recipe

    • posted by Jess on September 23, 2013

      Hi Keira,
      Oops, thanks for picking up the typo. You can add them at either stage but I usually find it’s best to add them with 5 minutes to go. Hope you enjoy, Jx

  2. posted by Jordana on December 14, 2013

    I bought all the ingredients to make this for my 9month old baby boy, only to discover that he had completely gone off being fed by spoon! He was suddenly desperate to feed himself and with some small modifications to this recipe I was able to make these into little logs which he absolutely adored!
    So great to have not only delicious recipes but adaptable ones too.

    • posted by Suzy on April 16, 2014

      How did you make this recipe in to finger food? My daughter loves self-feeding and gets bored with spoon-fed very quickly. (Though she’s working on using the spoon herself)

      • posted by Jess on April 18, 2014

        Hi Suzy,
        This could be an easy way to turn this recipe into finger food. Simply add some pasta, egg and cheese – pop in the oven and yum yum! Enjoy, Jx

  3. posted by Sophie on August 23, 2014

    I made this tonight and added some ground coriander and cumin at the sauté stage. I didn’t have any tinned tomatoes so added a can of tomato soup instead and skipped the sugar. Served it with cous cous and it was a big hit with my ten month old. I diced the veg rather than grating so she could feed herself pieces in between spoonfuls. Thank you for such practical, nutritious and delicious recipes!

  4. posted by Rebecca on April 21, 2016

    How much sodium would you estimate to be in here? Just for compassions sake

  5. posted by Emily Murray on June 16, 2024

    Thank you for this recipe! I have adapted it to do in the thermomix and it’s such an easy recipe. I also use bone broth instead of stock. My little guy loves it!


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