Tagliatelle with Lentil, Mushroom & Black Olive Ragu

From Ainsley’s Fantastic Flavours, ITV

A deliciously satisfying vegan ragu that will keep any meat lover of Spag Bol happy. It’s full of earthy, comforting flavours from the mushrooms, lentils and red wine. As the Italians like to serve their ragu or Bolognese with tagliatelle I’m keeping with tradition, but feel free to use spaghetti if you prefer. Any left-over ragu is great the next day served with mash or used to stuff roasted peppers.


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. Fry for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly golden. Season with a pinch of salt, stir and remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, reduce the heat to low-medium and fry the onion, celery and carrot for 10-12 minutes until soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic, oregano and chilli flakes and cook for a minute until fragrant.

Increase the heat to medium, add the red wine and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato purée, plum tomatoes, passata and 350ml of the stock. Simmer gently for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more stock if needed (Add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes need it). Return the mushrooms back to the pan along with the lentils, olives and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 20 minutes until reduced and thickened. Check for seasoning and stir through half the basil.

When ready to serve, bring a large pan of well salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, then return to the pan. Add the sauce and toss to combine. Serve in warmed bowls with a scattering of cheese and basil leaves.



  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, very finely diced
  • 2 carrots, very finely diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 50ml red wine (vegan)
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 x 400g tin of whole plum tomatoes
  • 200g passata
  • 2 x 400g tins of brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • handful of black olives, pitted and halved
  • 350-400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 500g tagliatelle or spaghetti
  • handful of basil leaves, shredded, to serve
  • vegan or vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese, shaved or grated, to serve