Shortcut Vegetable Ragu Recipe

Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Aromatics

  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Core Vegetables

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms

Flavor Enhancers

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Protein (Optional)

  • 1 pound ground beef (can substitute with ground turkey, chicken, or plant-based alternatives)

Sauce Base

  • 24 ounces high-quality marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Herbs

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Serving

  • 1 pound cooked pasta of your choice (spaghetti, penne, etc.) or spaghetti squash

Equipment and Utensils

  • Food processor
  • Large skillet or Dutch Oven
  • Large pot for cooking pasta (if using)

Instructions

1. Prep the Vegetables

  • Pulse onion and garlic in a food processor until finely minced.
  • Add carrot, celery, and mushrooms to the food processor and pulse until finely minced.

2. Brown the Meat (Optional)

  • If using ground meat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon. Drain off any excess fat.

3. Saute the Vegetables

  • Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the minced onion and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
  • Add the minced carrot, celery, and mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.

4. Build the Sauce

  • If you used ground meat, push it to the side and add the marinara sauce and broth to the center of the skillet. If not using meat, add them directly to the vegetables.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow flavors to meld.

5. Finish and Serve

  • Stir in the chopped basil (reserving a bit for garnish, if desired) and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
  • If using pasta, cook it according to package directions. Drain well.
  • Serve the ragu over cooked pasta or spaghetti squash. Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tips

Customizable: For additional vegetables, try adding zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant.

Make it Vegan: Omit the ground meat and use vegetable broth. Consider adding a handful of lentils for extra protein and texture.

Spice it up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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