Learn how to make Vegan Chickpea Tomato Ragu Sauce with chickpeas and fire-roasted tomatoes! This Vegan Chickpea Tomato Ragu has the classic flavors we love but with the plant-based health benefits. Oil-free and so delicious!
VEGAN CHICKPEA TOMATO RAGU SAUCE
Comfort food is here today friends! When I set out to make this ragu sauce, I knew I wanted to use many aspects of the classic dish as possible, sans the meat obviously. I think you all know my style enough by now that I love recreating classics and never, ever skimp on flavor. So, that meant the classic trio of celery, carrot and onion and of course, red wine, in this classic (flavor-wise) ragu. You can’t make a ragu without these because otherwise, it’s just a spaghetti sauce, lol. Those veggies are a must and although I didn’t use meat, the flavor is reminiscent of the classic, which is the whole point when I want to recreate dishes I loved before going vegan. I also appropriately named this a tomato ragu because I used a good amount of tomatoes. Hello, flavor.
Instead of meat, I went with chickpeas. I considered lentils, but it seems everybody does lentils in their tomato sauces or bolognese sauces and I really just can’t seem to get enough of chickpeas.
I’m here to tell you this is one bomb of amazing flavor. Like, so good, you’ll moan throughout the meal. I used red wine, dried basil and fire-roasted tomatoes for some amazing flavor. You get the deep flavor and awesome texture from the veggies and the sweetness that comes through from the carrots and onion just compliments the tomatoes so perfectly. So, so good.
RAGU OR BOLOGNESE?
Many people get confused between ragu and bolognese. Well, did you know that bolognese is actually a variation of ragu? They are very similar except bolognese is less tomato-heavy and uses white wine. Small differences but very different in the end flavor. I’m much more of a red wine and tomato girl when it comes to sauces I want to put over my pasta.
I promise you won’t miss the meat here because the flavor is so good, it simply does not matter. Plus, you get loads of protein from the chickpeas that are so good for you and get so perfectly tender as they simmer for 20 minutes. I can’t stand hard chickpeas in sauces or soups.
Also, can we talk about how easy this meal is? Besides the chopping of the veggies, the meal comes together in just about 30 minutes, so save some time and chop the veggies the day before.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN RAGU SAUCE
Now to make this Chickpea Tomato Ragu, you will need:
- fire-roasted tomatoes
- red onion
- red wine (like a cabernet sauvignon)
- dried basil
Other Vegan Dinner Recipes:
- Vegan Hungarian Goulash
- Hearty Veggie Potato Stew
- Easy Vegan Meatballs
- Vegan Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili
- Pimento Cream Sauce and Chipotle Chickpeas
- Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta
Vegan Chickpea Tomato Ragu
- 2 15 oz cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, slightly pureed
- 1/2 packed cup (80g) diced red onion
- 4 medium carrots, diced 1/4 inch thick (you'll need 1 1/2 cups, 190g)
- 1 cup (128g) diced celery
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup (120g) dry red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot (SEE NOTE)
- One 15 oz can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for a delicious kick!)
Note: While I strongly recommend the red wine for the most amazing flavor and classic flavor, if you avoid wine, then replace it with low-sodium veggie broth and a 1/2 tablespoon dark balsamic vinegar. If at the end of cooking you want a stronger flavor, add a bit more vinegar, but the tomatoes do put out a lot of flavor as well.
- Before beginning, go ahead and add the tomatoes to any blender or food processor. I do not like chunks of tomato in my sauces, so I like to just briefly blend them up into a thick sauce consistency, but not a liquid, just a few seconds. This makes for more ragu sauce and more flavors to combine as well. Set aside.
- Add 1/2 cup water to a large pan with the onion, carrots, celery and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until just tender.
- Add the garlic and stir constantly for another minute. A lot of the water should be gone now. Cook another minute or so if needed.
- Add the red wine and cook another 5 minutes until it mostly cooks down.
- Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, dried basil, pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir well and let it come back to a simmer. Then reduce to medium-low, closer to low, and cook for 20 minutes covered. The sauce should have greatly reduced to a nice thick texture and no longer soupy. Refer to photo in pan. If you would like a more minced version, you can mash up some of the chickpeas. I loved them whole, but it will be less chickpea obvious if you mash some, if you prefer. If you used the vinegar option (instead of wine) taste and add any more if desired, keeping in mind it is very strong.
- Serve over spaghetti or preferred pasta. Top with extra red pepper flakes.
Time-saving tip: The cooking part of this meal comes together in about 30 minutes. It's mainly the chopping of the veggies that takes a bit. To save time, chop all of the veggies the day before and seal in a ziplock bag, then meal time is ready quickly.
Nutrition per serving: 200 calories | 1.1g fat | 4.1g protein | 35g carbs | 7.9g fiber | 13.3g sugar | 705mg sodium