Thursday, March 7, 2013

Meat-Free Veggie Ragu & Alternative Exercise

Last night was quite productive in my house.  Once I got home from school, I decided against running outside since it was damp and rainy {so much for the snowstorm}.  Instead, I headed to the basement for a little strength building workout that involved a mat, my computer, a few weights and an old Beachbody Slim in Six video.  These workouts helped me lose the sixty pounds I gained from pregnancy eight years ago, so I figured they are still worth their weight in gold.  Plus, lately I've been neglecting strength work and stretching, so it was my chance to vary up my workouts.

Here's what last night looked like:

In addition to my diversion in exercise, I created a little meal chock full of veggies.  I call it my Meat-Free Veggie Ragu because a typical ragu is made with one or more types of meat in addition to vegetables and sauce.  After a few bites, my family was convinced that this was one of their favorite recipes ever.  I hope you enjoy it too!  

Meat-Free Veggie Ragu 

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, or a handful of baby carrots, diced
2 small onions, diced
1 pepper, diced {any color}
1 yellow squash, diced
1 head broccoli florets, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 28 ounce can tomato sauce
2 - 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes {less or more depending on taste}
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt to taste 
2 teaspoons sugar {optional} 
1 pound pasta, cooked  

1.  In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  
2. Saute onion and carrots for 5 minutes.
3. Add pepper and saute for 3 minutes.
4. Add squash and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
5. Add broccoli and cook another 4 minutes.  
6. Stir in garlic and saute for another minute.  
7. Measure spices and combine in the vegetables to awaken their flavor. 
8. Mix in sauce and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer.  
9.  Boil water in a separate large pot and cook pasta according to the directions on the box.
10. Before serving, blend parmesan cheese into the sauce.  Stir until creamy.  Add sugar if needed for added sweetness.  

Serve over pasta topped with a little more parmesan cheese.   


  • I like to add small pinches of Kosher salt throughout the cooking process for flavor.   
  • Any variety of vegetables can be used for this recipe.

For lunch today, I topped some plain quinoa with leftover sauce for a fulfilling, healthy meal to hold me over throughout the afternoon.  

Do you make your own sauce?  If so, what are your favorite additions/variations?

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