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bowl of split red lentils

Red Pepper and Lentil Sauce for Pasta

A versatile, uncomplicated and tasty lentil dish that can be ready to eat in less than 45 minutes. Also perfect for babies who are eating solids, but omit the garlic, chilli and seasoning (and process to a smooth consistency if required).
If you want to avoid oil, this dish can be cooked by putting all the other prepared cooking ingredients straight into the saucepan and bringing it to the boil for the time stated below. There is some impact on flavour, but it will be lower in calories and need less attention!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 4


  • 1 Medium saucepan
  • Knife, chopping board
  • Hand held or worktop blender/food processor Optional


  • 1 tbsp Rapeseed or Olive Oil
  • 1 large Red onion Roughly chopped
  • 1 large Red Pepper De-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic - crushed Can be omitted for baby version
  • 1 Red Chilli - de-seeded if preferred Roughly chopped. Omit for baby version
  • 250 grams Dried Red Lentils Rinsed under tap until water runs clear
  • 1 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 15 grams Fresh Parsley - finely chopped To serve
  • Nutritional Yeast To serve


  • Heat the oil in the saucepan over a medium heat
  • Add the onions, stir and sauté gently for a couple of minutes
  • As the onions start to soften, add the red pepper (and garlic and chilli if using)
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking (add a few drops of water if it sticks and make sure you don't have the heat up too high)
  • The vegetables should be soft and just starting to take on a bit of colour
  • Add the lentils and stir for a minute or two to cover them in the oil, then add the tin of tomatoes
  • Fill the empty tin with cold water and add to the pan also
  • Stir in the tomato puree and add the bay leaf
  • Bring to the boil, skim off any foam, then reduce the heat to a good simmer
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes, adding a little extra water if required
  • After this time, the lentils should be soft and losing their shape. You are looking for a thick, pasta sauce consistency.
  • At this point, you can add seasoning to taste. If you are going to process or puree it, remove the bay leaf before doing so
  • If you are serving this with pasta, loosen the sauce with a tablespoon of the pasta cooking water first, then spoon the sauce over your cooked pasta
  • Sprinkle with parsley and add nutritional yeast to taste


For a frazzled parent, desperate to get some food on the table, this can be a great dish. It's not cordon-bleu, but it is nourishing and versatile. Best served with pasta.
To add to the nutritional value of this dish (which already ticks a lot of healthy boxes), you can stir in some baby spinach leaves and thawed peas a couple of minutes before serving.
Keyword Lentil sauce, Vegan, Vegan baby, Weaning