Ok. Let’s forget it’s Wednesday and pretend is #Meatless Monday.
Since changing to a plant based diet one of my favourite “go-to” meals has been Ragu. Usually an adapted meat free version of Ragu alla Bolognese which is the most popular version of Ragu. And yes, Ragu and Bolognese are not the same thing. The difference is quite simple: Ragu is an Italian sauce that consist mainly in a combination of meat, tomato and wine, being the meat the main ingredient. And the Ragu alla Bolognese, is a variation of this sauce containing a lot more tomatoes and less meat. So in this plant-based version we are calling this dish Ragu as it consists mainly of lentils and other veggies, obviously paired up with an ultra-delicious tomato sauce.
This is the ultimate comfort meal – hearty without the heavy feeling afterwards! Full of good-for-you veggies and powerful lentils, which are particularly rich in dietary fibre, folate, iron. This is indeed the perfect meat-free protein source and this is the perfect meat-free vegetarian ragu!
This dish is so easy to whip up and enjoy. It cooks in less than nothing and is the healthiest version of ragu you can get and without a doubt, the most satisfying meatless meal you can make. Mushrooms and lentils are quite meaty and absorb all the garlic, spices and tomatoes flavour in perfection. To make this even healthier serve this with courgetti (courgette / zucchini spaghetti) and some vegan parmesan cheese.
This super healthy ragu can be frozen for extra convenience and I must say that it tastes even better after a few days.
My husband absolutely loves this dish and I can honestly say that this is the perfect option for a dinner party (especially when you want to convince your non-vegetarian friends that plant-based dishes are delicious, nutritious, filling and full of flavours).
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 stick of celery, finely diced
- 250g good-quality tomato pasta sauce or organic tomato passata
- 1x 400g tin of organic cooked lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup of mushrooms, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 4 small zucchinis
- 1-2 tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- Olives and fresh basil, to serve
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-heat and add the olive oil and bay leaf.
- Add red onion and garlic to the pan and cook until translucent, fragrant and softened.
- Add the finely diced carrot and celery and continue to cook until soft. Then add mushrooms and all spices. Let them cook until they lose water and add drained lentils and tomato sauce/passata to the pan and stir until well combined. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until ragu is fragrant, adding more liquid (hot water) if it seems too dry. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cut the ends of the courgette/ zucchini and create the courgetti using a spiralizer. If you don’t have a spiralizer, cut them finely using a knife or push the courgette along the top of a grater, in long strokes in order to create long, thin ribbons of courgette.
- Add zucchini noodles to the simmering ragu and cook for a further 5 minutes, until softened.
- Serve into two bowls and top with vegan Parmesan cheese, if desired, some fresh basil and olives.