The Best Meatless Ragu

Over the last couple weeks I have been trying out so many new meatless dishes that I have totally forgot to share them with all of you. Just today I made a fabulous eggplant gnocchi ragu, and we loved it! You won’t even notice that the meat component is missing. Traditionally an Italian ragu comes with some beef, turkey, or practically any meat you can think of. However, since I have been on this pescatarian kick I thought I would substitute eggplant for the meat. If you have never made eggplant or don’t think you will like it, I promise you that after you make it one time you will try to incorporate into your cooking. We made the sauce with tomatoes and basil from our garden and I really feel like it takes it up a notch.

Below is the ingredients you will need

Sauce components:

  • 3 Cups of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup of olive oil
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 Tsp of salt
  • 2 Tsp of dried oregano
  • 2 Tsp of dried basil
  • 2 Tsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tsp of chili flakes
  • 1 Small bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 Bags of frozen Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

For the roasted eggplant:

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Tsp of pepper
  • 1 Tsp of cumin
  • 1 Tsp of chili powder
  • 1 Tsp of garlic salt
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil

Toppings:

  • 1 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp of ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Add diced eggplant to your baking sheet with olive oil. Add olive oil, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt. Bake at 420 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large sauce pan heat up olive oil, and then add minced garlic and shallots and stir till golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes and then add salt, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, and chili flakes. Bring to a boil and then put it on low (enough to simmer ) for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the eggplant is fully cooked add to the ragu sauce. Take the fresh basil and cut it up with shear scissors and add to your ragu sauce.
  5. Take your frozen gnocchi bags and add onto of the sauce and cover with lid and let it simmer for another 10 mins.
  6. Check your sauce and make sure that the gnocchi is soft, and then serve onto a bowl with a dollop of ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese if desired.

When you read the recipe name it sounds pretty complex, but after you break it down its actually not that bad and its worth the hassle (I promise)! If you don’t want to use eggplant you can always substitute it with any type of meat. I would just recommend that you cook your meat separately and once its browned and fully cooked then you can add it to your ragu sauce when we added the eggplant. Overall this dish is also very healthy, but if you are trying to keep it vegan just skip the ricotta and Parmesan cheese and viola! I would definitely make this dish again and would recommend it to anyone that wants to have a meatless entree without any guilt.

Stay tuned for my next recipe… homemade tomato soup with grilled three cheese sandwich!!! YUM

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