Vegetarian Ragu with Cilantro Pesto

  • Yield 10 servings

A delicious Ragu rice dish filled with vegetables varying from sweet potatoes to fresh zucchini and topped with a homemade cilantro pesto.

Vegetarian Ragu with Cilantro Pesto
Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn 


2 tablespoons tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 (12-ounce) package mushrooms, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups water
5 cups hot cooked brown rice
Cilantro Pesto:
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/3 cups chopped cilantro
1 1/3 cups flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coarsely ground black pepper


  1. To prepare ragu, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper; cook until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add remaining ingredients (except rice). Stir well. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat; simmer 35 mintues, or until potatoes are tender.
  2. To prepare pesto, place walnuts in food processor and finely chop. Add cilantro and parsley; pulse to coarsely chop. With motor running, add oil and lime juice. Add cheese, salt and pepper; process until blended.
  3. Serve in soup plates over rice and top with pesto.

—Recipe by Jean Kressy



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