Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu

Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-11 copyDo you want to keep your food supply stocked with lots of great options for busy days? Meal prepping in advance has been a huge game changer for me for years and especially in the past 3 years as a busy wife and mother. This Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu is extra delicious because of all the additional vegetables in there that just add to the depth of flavor. Plus, who doesn’t want to incorporate more veggies into their diet? Even picky eaters will gobble this up and not realize they are also getting a good portion of onions, celery, carrots, zucchini and herbs in their tomato sauce.

I probably won’t be telling you anything new when I mention that you can use it in countless ways – with pasta and a fresh grating of cheese for a simple, satisfying meal, add meatballs for a classic spaghetti dish, use it in Ziti, Lasagna, Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan, with tortellini and spinach, with pork and beef, as an addition to Borsch, Cabbage Rolls, Braised Cabbage and many other delicious meals. You can also add many other vegetables to this ragu to make it even more nutritious and flavorful, such as beets, bell peppers, eggplant, and parsnips.

Do you do any meal prep? What kinds of foods/ingredients do you like to stock your freezers with?

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, minced

1 carrot, finely shredded

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium zucchini, shredded

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, finely chopped

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

28 oz can tomato puree or tomato sauce

salt, ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 Tablespoons dry herbs (Italian seasoning, etc.)

1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, finely minced (parsley, basil, oregano, etc)

Instructions:

Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1 copyWhen I prep all the ingredients, I like to mince, finely chop or shred all the vegetables, so that they just disintegrate into the sauce, creating a nice even texture and I don’t have to put the sauce through the food processor later. You can just coarsely chop everything and pulse it in the food processor or puree it in a blender later. Either option will work. Also, I have never made only a single batch of this sauce. I always make a double or triple portion of it, refrigerate what we will use that week and freeze the rest.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot or a dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-3 copyAdd the zucchini and the mushrooms. Season again with salt and ground black pepper. Turn the heat up to medium high. Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-4 copyAs the zucchini and mushrooms cook, they will exude a significant amount of liquid at first. Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-5 copyKeep cooking all the vegetables until all the liquid is absorbed and the veggies and mushrooms start to turn golden, 8-10 minutes.

Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-7 copyPour in the crushed tomatoes and the tomato sauce. Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-8 copyBring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Season the sauce with salt, ground black pepper, dry herbs and sugar. The sugar will even out the acidity of the tomatoes and give the sauce a smoother flavor. Trust me on this one, just a bit of that sugar will not make the sauce sweet, it will even out the flavor. Simmer at a low-medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour or so.

Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-9 copyIf you have any parmesan rinds, you can add them to the sauce. They will give the sauce an extra boost of flavor and this is a great way to put to good use something that you might otherwise throw out.

If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a cup of water.

At the very end, taste the sauce again and adjust the salt and other seasonings. Pour in the heavy cream and the fresh herbs. The cream is completely optional. Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-10 copyStore in the refrigerator or freezer. You can freeze this sauce from 6 months to a year, although it’s never lasted that long at our house.Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-13 copy

Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Miscellaneous
Serves: 8 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 28 oz can tomato puree or tomato sauce
  • salt, ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ Tablespoons dry herbs (Italian seasoning, etc.)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, optional
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, finely minced (parsley, basil, oregano, etc)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or a dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add the zucchini and the mushrooms. Season again with salt and ground black pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high. As the zucchini and mushrooms cook, they will exude a significant amount of liquid at first. Keep cooking all the vegetables until all the liquid is absorbed and the veggies and mushrooms start to turn
  2. Add the zucchini and the mushrooms. Season again with salt and ground black pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high. As the zucchini and mushrooms cook, they will exude a significant amount of liquid at first. Keep cooking all the vegetables until all the liquid is absorbed and the veggies and mushrooms start to turn
  3. As the zucchini and mushrooms cook, they will exude a significant amount of liquid at first. Keep cooking all the vegetables until all the liquid is absorbed and the veggies and mushrooms start to turn golden 8-10 minutes.
  4. Pour the crushed tomatoes and the tomato sauce. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Season the sauce with salt, ground black pepper, dry herbs, and sugar. The sugar will even out the acidity of the tomatoes and give the sauce a smoother flavor. Trust me on this one, just a bit of that sugar will not make the sauce sweet, it will even out the flavor. Simmer at a low-medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour or so.
  5. If you have any parmesan rinds, you can add them to the sauce. They will give the sauce an extra boost of flavor and this is a great way to put to good use something that you might otherwise throw out.
  6. If the sauce is too thick, add a cup of water.
  7. At the very end, taste the sauce again and adjust the salt and other seasonings. Pour in the heavy cream and the fresh herbs. The cream is completely optional. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. You can freeze this sauce from 6 months to a year, although it's never lasted that long at our house.

Tomato, Vegetable and Mushroom Ragu-1-12 copy

9 Comments

  • Laurel

    I cannot wait to make this! My little back years garden is offering up plenty of zucchini and herbs. I love to stock my freezer with big batches of, chili and soups divided into small meal portions! Also I just recently discovered that caramalized onions can be made in big batches, divided, and frozen so I have just done that. We love them on so many things other than burgers. Wonderful on grilled cheese even!

    I like to go organic on most things and your versatile sauce recipe looks delicious and is an easy and inexpensive one to do that with! Can’t wait, thank-you!

  • Lisa

    Hello
    What if I use fresh tomatoes? How many do you think I should add? Also would they last without refrigerator?
    Thank you

    • olgak7

      If you use fresh tomatoes, Lisa, I would use a little bit more tomatoes by weight than the canned and cook the ragu longer. If you sterilize the jars, they should be able to be stored without refrigeration, but I haven’t personally tried it. If I make a big batch I always freeze it.

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