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Hidden vegetable ragù {vegan, kid friendly}

I know it looks like I’m a bit obsessed with Asian food, especially with the last few recipes I’ve posted. Truth be told, I am obsessed with Asian food. I love the flavours and the freshness each meal delivers.

I grew up in a small town and my earliest memory of going out for dinner was to an Asian restaurant. Maybe that’s what spurred my love for Asian cuisine.

Enter this delicious recipe for vegan ragù. In addition to being Italian, it contains eggplant and mushrooms – two things I don’t cook with very often. The good news is that if you’re not a fan of these ingredients, you won’t even notice them in this meal. And if you can’t notice them, chances are little kidlets won’t be able to tell the difference either.

Hidden veg ragu

Hidden vegetable ragù {vegan, kid friendly}
Serves 4

1 medium eggplant
200g brown cup mushrooms, blitzed into fine pieces
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
2 carrot, diced
2 cups of red wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tbsp tomato paste
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt, to taste
Polenta, to serve (see note)

Bake eggplant in the oven for 1 hour. Let cool slightly then remove skin and put flesh into a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a cast iron pan. Add mushrooms and cook until fragrant and any juices released from the mushrooms have evaporated. Transfer mushroom pieces to a bowl and set aside.

Add a little olive oil to the pan you used for the mushrooms and add the onions. Cook over a medium heat until onions start to caramelise then add celery and carrot and cook until carrot starts to soften.

Add red wine to the pan and let cook for 5 minutes before adding the garlic, parsley and thyme. Once that has been mixed through, add the tomato paste and tomatoes. Season with salt.

Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced and tomatoes have softened.

Serve with some freshly cooked polenta or enjoy it with pasta.

NOTE: Bring 3 cups of water to the boil. Add salt and 3/4 cup polenta. Stir continuously until polenta thickens then remove from heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes.

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