Simple Red Lentil Sauce

Very basic perhaps but this simple red lentil sauce can be eaten alone or it can be the base for many different dishes. Add rice or pasta alongside for a complete meal.

Alternatively, use as the base for a soup, pie or hot pot. Be creative and experimental!

Vegetarian yet the meat eaters will still enjoy the taste.

Serves 4


  • 150g/6oz split red lentils
  • 400g/14oz can of plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small pepper, colour of your choice
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 50g/2oz button mushrooms
  • 1 or 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Rinse the split red lentils with cold water. Check for any twigs or darkened ones and remove. Put into a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.
  2. While the red lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetables.Peel and roughly chop the onion. Deseed and chop the pepper.Skin and finely chop the garlic.
  3. Heat the Olive Oil in a largish pan then add in the onion, pepper and garlic. Stir to coat then allow to gently fry.
  4. As the mixture softens, chop the mushrooms. Add them into the pan and continue frying until the vegetable mix has softened.
  5. Remove the red lentils from the heat and drain any excess water.
  6. Add the tin of tomatoes into the pan with the vegetable mix. Pour a little water into the can in order to get all the tomato juice out then stir into the pan.
  7. Heat gently up to boiling point then, once that is reached, add in the cooked red lentils. Bring back to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce reduces to your liking
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste and the split red lentil sauce is done.


If you just follow the recipe as it is given then it does lead to a fairly bland sauce. Nourishing but lacking in flavour. The beauty of a split red lentil sauce is in the many ways that it can be adapted. Try adding chopped red chilli for a spicier sauce. Curry powder brings in another taste. Some fresh basil complements the tomato.

Just experiment with different flavours and this sauce can be used for so many different dishes. It can be used to make a Vegetarian Shepherds Pie or in a Lasagne or as a Bolognese or as the base for a nourishing soup.

Just take and experiment!

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