This 15-minute Lentil Ragout recipe is so simple that it’s perfect for lunchboxes and busy weeknights.
It can be chaos trying to get everyone out the door with everyone moving in different directions as they race to finish breakfast and cram their lunchboxes in their backpacks. And then chaos again, trying to get tired, sometimes grumpy, hungry kids fed at the end of the day.
I can completely relate. One morning before school, I was pulled in so many directions that I sent my daughter with a Thermos full of hot water instead of her lunch.
Our 15-minute Lentil Ragout is the perfect recipe to have on hand for just these kinds of hectic days. You can pack a nourishing, satisfying lunch for your kids, even if you only have a few minutes. Or you can get a simple dinner on the table even on the busiest of weeknights.
Why You'll Love This Lentil Ragout Recipe
- It’s versatile. Try topping it with grated cheese, toasted pecans, or a poached egg. Your kids might not like the toppings or the lentils. But there’s always the rice, farro, or pasta you make with the meal.
- It tastes great over rice, farro, pasta, or oven-baked polenta.
- It reheats well for lunches at home or for lunchboxes.
- The lentil ragout has a hint of summery tarragon and a splash of Champagne vinegar to add brightness to the dish.
- The recipe also makes a great lentil side dish for your favorite recipe like Mustard Roasted Salmon.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Celery, carrots, onions - To save even more time, you can buy these ingredients pre-chopped. The mixture of these three vegetables is called mirepoix. The traditional mirepoix is celery, carrots, and onions. They’re sauteed together as a flavor base for many soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes.
Garlic - The recipe calls for one clove of fresh garlic chopped. You can also buy pre-chopped garlic, jarred or frozen if you want to save a few minutes.
Dried tarragon -You can buy this in any grocery store. If you haven’t had tarragon, it imparts bright, summery flavors. It’s
French lentils - I use Trader Joe’s Steamed French Lentils. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area and don’t want to cook dried lentils, canned white beans would make a great substitute in this lentil recipe. If you substitute white beans, I’d recommend using 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary. I don’t recommend using a different kind of lentil because other lentils don’t hold their shape when cooked the way French lentils do.
Champagne vinegar - Vinegar is a secret ingredient to add to soup, stews, and sauces to add a little depth and brighten the flavor with a little acidity. Start by adding a ½ teaspoon. Stir the dish and then taste it and add another ¼-1/2 teaspoon.
How to make 15-minute Lentil Ragout
You can see in the video just how easy this lentil recipe is.
As a dietitian and busy mom, I understand what it’s like to worry that your kids won’t get the nutrients they need, especially if they are a picky eater. You’re worried your picky eater or even your more adventurous eater won’t touch the lentils. That’s a natural worry.
It’s a pain to plan, shop for, and make dinner, only to have your kids leave the lentils untouched. Remember to keep offering foods you want them to eat eventually. One of the nice things about this lentil ragout is that if your kids don’t eat it, there’s more left over for you to have for your own lunches.
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More simple recipes and posts about picky eaters
15-Minute Lentil Ragout
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 celery stick diced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 garlic clove peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon Red Diamond Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 container of Trader Joe’s steamed lentils
- 1 ½ cups water or vegetable or chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon or a splash of Champagne vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- Peel and dice the carrots, onion and garlic. Dice the celery.
- Add olive oil to a medium sauce pan. Add the chopped veggies and turn the heat on to medium.
- Add 1 teaspoon Red Diamond Kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon.
- Stir the ingredients together and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until the veggies begin to soften just a bit.
- Add the package of Trader Joe's steamed lentils to the pan. Break them apart with a spoon.
- Add freshly ground pepper.
- Add 1 ½ cups water, turn the heat up to medium high and bring to a low boil. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add ½ teaspoon of Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar).
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.