Hearty Vegan Ragu

Andrea Banerjee

It may be a stretch to call this a recipe – but it was delicious!

The other night I was craving spaghetti (which I normally don’t like very much!) While a bowl of white pasta with a marinara sauce sounded great, I thought it would be wise to aim for something packing a little more nutrition.

I’m not sure if you’d classify this as a ragu or a ragout. If, like me, you always forget the difference, a ragu is a thick, tomato-based pasta sauce, while a ragout is a French stew. Meat is a feature ingredient in both, so deciding which word more accurately describes a vegan dish is pretty moot! Nonetheless, I guess I would say that it features ingredients of a ragu but simmers like a ragout? It’s also more stew-like (ragout) than sauce-like (ragu) in texture.

Now that that questionable lesson in sauce semantics is over… here’s what I threw together! It was so tasty, and though I ended up serving it over steamed vegetables, it would be fantastic on spiralized veg noodles, or heaped onto some meatballs.


  • Optional: 1/2 cup cooked pearl barley
  • 3/4 can yellow lentils
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery (soften in boiling water for 5 minutes)
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup diced or shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • black pepper to taste
  • 350 mL marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup veggie ground round (I had it in the fridge)


  1. Sautee garlic, onions and celery in a skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add lentils and cooked barley. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. In a large sauce pan, combine all remaining ingredients. Salt and chilli powder are best added slowly, while stirring and tasting.
  3. Let simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve over vegetables, meat balls or spaghetti squash. Enjoy!


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