Garden Vegetable Ragu is a meatless pasta dish consisting of zucchini, yellow squash and carrots in a flavorful and robust red sauce. Serve on top of pasta with lots of grated parmesan cheese. Serves 6.
It’s this time of year when you have a few garden zucchini and yellow squash rolling around in the crisper or counter top that need to be used up. This garden vegetable ragu is the answer to your dinner prayers.
As of recently, Michigan weather has dipped a little and hasn’t been too hot – which means it’s not too hot for pasta. This meatless pasta dish calls for summers best produce, red wine and parmesan cheese – you know, all the best things in life.
It comes together quickly and simmers for an hour before being served over your favorite cooked pasta and topped with grated parmesan. I also like to serve it with bread and/or a simple arugula salad.
To Make This Garden Vegetable Ragu You Will Need:
- olive oil – Aids in softening the vegetables and adds richness and flavor.
- yellow onion – Adds a sweet and subtle onion flavor to the dish.
- carrot – Adds subtle texture and sweetness to the sauce.
- zucchini – Lends a mild flavor with lots of healthy nutrients and antioxidants.
- yellow squash – Mild in flavor and loaded with lots of vitamin and minerals.
- garlic – For that distinct punchy flavor.
- crushed tomatoes – The base to the ragu. I prefer using delallo crushed tomato sauce (not sponsored).
- sugar – This cuts the acidity of the tomatoes to create a more balanced sauce.
- basil (dried) – Adds bright, slightly minty flavor with hints of anise.
- oregano (dried) – Adds earthy and slightly bitter flavor.
- italian seasoning – Lends earthy and herbaceous flavor.
- red pepper flakes (optional) – For a spicy kick.
- dry red wine – Like Malbec or Merlot will adds richness and give the sauce robust flavor.
- parmesan cheese – Lends a fruity, nutty and slightly salty flavor.
- tube shaped pasta – Any tube-shaped past (penne, rigatoni, macaroni or paccheri) will work to collect the thick sauce.
- kosher salt – This will draw out flavor and season the sauce.
- freshly ground black pepper – Adds some subtle bite and flavor.
In a deep-sided skillet or pot add about a teaspoon or two of olive oil and then heat over medium heat. Sauté 1 medium diced yellow onion with a pinch of kosher salt over medium-low heat until soft and translucent.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the sautéed onion to a dish with 1 medium grated carrot.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the yellow squash and zucchini in an even layer.
Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring every couple a minutes so the vegetables get some color to them.
Working in batches helps to not over crowd the pan so the vegetables can brown and not just steam.
When the squash is soft and golden add the onions and carrots back in to the pan along with 2 to 4 minced cloves of fresh garlic, 1 teaspoon each oregano and basil and 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning. If using red pepper flakes, add them here as well.
Cook until carrots soften and garlic becomes fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the 2 (28 ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes over the sautéed vegetables and add 1 teaspoon sugar.
Lastly pour in 1 cup of wine.
Simmer the sauce uncovered on low to medium-low for 45 to 60 minutes and stir periodically. Towards the end is when I cook the pasta.
What If The Sauce becomes too thick?
If by chance the sauce gets too thick, add a little reserved pasta water to revive it.
Stir in 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, taste and season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. I used 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper – however season it to your liking.
What Type Of Pasta Works Best with a Vegetable Ragu?
Any tube pasta works best to hold thick sauces. Serve the sauce on penne, rigatoni, macaroni, paccheri (<—this is what I’m using in this recipe).
There is some water released from the zucchini and squash while they cook in the sauce. It’s not noticeable until you plate it up and the veggies sit onto of the noodles. As far as I know, there’s nothing to be done but to mix it all together. However, this is where thick slices of italian bread comes in handy! You can use it to wipe your bowl clean!
Lastly, sprinkle the vegetable ragu with a little or a lot of extra parmesan.
- Make it meaty! Cook 3/4 pound of italian sausage (pork or turkey!) before sautéing the vegetables. If using pork italian sausage, you may not need the olive oil for sautéing.
- Add Mushrooms! Sauté mushrooms after the onions and before the zucchini. Work in batches to not crowd the veggies.
- Picky eaters? Smooth the sauce! Once the sauce has simmered, use a immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth!
Enjoy! And if you give this Garden Vegetable Ragu recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!
Garden Vegetable Ragu
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced into half moons
- 2 medium yellow summer squash, trimmed and sliced into half moons
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or more if desired)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
- red pepper flakes
- 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, I like delallo brand
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup dry red wine, like merlot, pinot noir or Malbec (use one you like to drink!)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound cooked pasta
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet on medium heat.
- Once hot, sauté the onions until tender. Use a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a dish with the grated carrot and set off to the side.
- Repeat with the zucchini and yellow squash until soft and edges golden.
- Add the carrots and onions back into the pan and add in the garlic, basil, oregano, italian seasoning and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes, wine and sugar. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 45-60 minutes, stirring ocassionaly.
- With 20 minutes left on the clock, prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Keep in mind, larger pastas take longer to cook.
- Lastly add the half cup of Parmesan, taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve over pasta with reserved parmesan.
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THANK YOU in advance for your support!
Love loading veggies into a tomato sauce! Beautiful photos as usual!
I always check the new recipes you post, never wrote anything before, but this time i wanted to tell you that you always inspire me!
I'm from Brasil, and also have a food blog, but nothing compared to yours. I wish I had the chance do cook during the day, so the pictures would have the same great light of yours.. Well, I simply love your blog!!
Oh my gosh. Like, oh oh oh my gosh.
Like, oh oh oh oh oh oh my GOSH.
Oh my gosh.
see i am drooling over here…Why don't you send me a plate here…I can dig in straight away…
This looks so delicious! Comfort food that's healthy…can't beat that!
Lauren ~ thanks! me too!
Carol ~ Nice to meet you! Thanks for commenting! You are too kind 🙂
Aarthi~ Which ships faster UPS or FedEX?
Becky~ you said it best! Healthy comfort food… who knew?
My mouth is watering! I love red pasta sauces with lots of veggies. I can imagine that this smells heavenly. Your photos are beautiful too Laurie!
It sure looks yummy! I love zucchini. I will have to try this recipe sometime. I bet it would taste even more delicious with some crispy bacon on top!
This looks delightful! I make something similar when hubs and I are in the mood for pasta. simply divine.
That looks DIVINE! I love veggies. I could eat that ragu ALL THE TIME! You did such a nice job with it and I just love all the colors. One of my favorite pastas is actually with the same ingredients I just use whole tomatoes instead of the tomato sauce. I will have to try this soon!
Looks delicious…and since I make red sauce nearly once a week, we love it so much…this is a nice twist! Great photos…they made me drool. Yum, yum, yum!
I love adding zucchini to tomato sauce and this just takes it to the next level!
Beautiful! I make this randomly to use up veggies that are starting to turn. I love the addition of wine. I am sure that really jazzes things up.
Vegetarian lifestyle is perfect for health and active living vegetables can provide actual amount of proteins and calcium to the body!
This is my kind of recipe! Tons of veggies, healthful, simple and delicious. LOVE IT!
What a great pasta recipe! So yummy looking, and full of healthy veggies!
I love zee wine! 😀 Haha, this recipe sounds awesome, right up my alley for a perfect weeknight meal!
I love a hearty red sauce and this really fits the bill. Plus I love all the extra veggies you snuck in.
Hi, I love your blog! I make something similar to this but my sauce uses eggplant in addition to the squashes. Just peel, de-seed and cube the eggplant and cook the same as the other veggies. It adds great nutritional value, and a beautiful color! I plan on trying lots more of your recipes! Thanks, Julie
This sounds AMAZING.
Those pictures are amazing! Looks delicious! Who needs meat when you got veggies (and Parmesan!)?! Thanks for sharing- this is a great addition to my Meatless Mondays.
I just made the ragu tonight. Delicious! I will definitely be enjoying this again. Thanks for the great recipes.
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Again, such a wonderful recipe…the aroma, the taste, the ease! Delightful! Thank you so much once more.
As always, I love the pictorial tutorial you give along the way and I always refer back to it as I make your recipes. I’ve just finished making the Ragu and I noticed you mentioned tomato sauce in addition to the crushed tomatoes. The tomato sauce is not in the initial ingredient pictorial nor is it mentioned in the formal ingredient list…just in the middle tutorial instructions. Could you please clarify? Maybe I am missing something! :0/
The sauce is wonderful I think without the tomato sauce at this point, but I just want to make the recipe as you intended…a habit I have on the first go-round with all new recipes!
Again, thank you for adding such joy to our kitchen!
Please enjoy the weekend with you new pup Finnegan…absolutely adorable!
Hi Alex! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe and I apologize for the error. Back when I originally shared this recipe (2011), I used sauce with crushed tomatoes. I no longer make it that way and while updating the recipe, I must have forgot to omit that step. Thank you so much for kindly pointing that out. Finnegan is the best little guy, he definitely keeps us busy! Again, thank you for your kind words, it’s so appreciated!! XoXo Laurie
Is my first time posting a comment here and I just want to say thank you very much for so great content ! I found your blog by chance and became one of my favorites immediately! Greetings from Calgary 🙂
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