Meat Lite: Lentil Sausage Ragout

Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.

[Photograph from the Flickr photostream of Foodista]

Ingredient epiphanies happen when you suddenly realize how delicious two items are together. Before I made this ragout, I never combined tomatoes and lentils like this. The lentils are hearty and meaty, and the dish's sauciness is great when you feel like a pasta dish but want to eat something substantially more nutritious. This would also make for a nice appetizer spread over a slice of crusty Italian bread.

About the author: Joy Manning is the restaurant critic at Philadelphia Magazine. She blogs at

Meat Lite: Lentil Sausage Ragout

About This Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces hot Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 2 medium carrots, diced fine
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or jarred
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish


  1. 1

    Heat the olive oil up over medium-high heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the sausage, and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage and reserve.

  2. 2

    Add the carrots and onion to the pan, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low with the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender.

  3. 3

    Return the reserved sausage and add the tomato sauce, vinegar, and salt and pepper, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve over soft polenta, pasta, or alone, topped with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.


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