Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Italian Vegetable Ragout

Today makes my twenty-second day of being a vegetarian and part-time vegan. It has been a wonderful adventure with only one meal being a catastrophe. I tried to stay away from processed vegetarian fare using only fresh or canned ingredients.  To help me in my quest for delicious food I purchased Robin Robertson's Fire & Spice.

What a treat! This book has 200 global recipes that are 100% vegan using readily available ingredients. You get to try the spicy cuisines of the U.S., South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and Asia.  Trying to decide with ones to blog about is difficult because everything we tried was wonderful.

One of our favorites turned out to be the Italian Vegetable Ragout. This is a perfect recipe to make as you bring in your gardens bounty or after a trip to your farmer's market.

Italian Vegetable Ragout


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in the wine and cook until it evaporates. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, marjoram, hot pepper flakes, cannellini beans, broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the parsley and basil.

Serves 4

I did not use the olive oil - just sprayed a little vegetable spray in the pan before adding the vegetables. I did not miss it at all or the additional 250 calories it adds to the entree. The recipe easily divides in half. All you need is a crusty loaf of warm Italian bread to make this meal complete.

I'm not sure how long I will be living the vegetarian life, but I do know that for our little planet and for our big bodies it is a great way to eat. The meals I have prepared were delicious and quite inexpensive to make. Summer is a great time to give a vegetarian meal a try. So, on your next meatless Monday give this a try.

Life is good - enjoy!

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