Pic of Beetroot ragu

Beetroot ragu

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Vegetarian mains

Beetroot ragu

Serves 4 1h
Beetroots are available year-round in the UK, so it’s good to have a couple of staple recipes for them, and this should definitely be one of them. The beetroot is grated raw then cooked into a rich sauce which is beautiful tossed through pasta. The flavour and consistency is best when its left to simmer for 30 minutes, but it’s a fairly low prep recipe, so you can leave it and come back to it when ready. It’s also a great recipe to make in advance and reheat when you’re ready to eat, and can be frozen too. Gremolata is optional but offers a powerful kick of flavour that works excellently as a garnish for most pasta dishes. A sprinkling of toasted pine nuts is nice as a final touch.

Cook's notes

It’s important to cook the beetroot out before adding the wine, stock and tomatoes otherwise the flavour and texture will be lost.


For the ragu sauce

  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3 medium beetroots, peeled & grated
  • 125ml red wine
  • 2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 vegetarian stock cube
  • 60g pine nuts (optional)

For the gremolata:

  • small bunch of parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled & grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
Image of Beetroot ragu


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 50 min
  • Step 1

    Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large frying pan. Slowly soften the onion, celery, carrot and garlic on a low heat until soft.
  • Step 2

    Add the bay leaves, oregano and rosemary and stir. Add the grated beetroot and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat up and cook the beetroot for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You will see the moisture coming out of the beetroot and then evaporating.
  • Step 3

    Add the wine and allow the alcohol to cook off a little then add the tomatoes, tomato puree and stock cube. Half fill one of the tomato tins with water and add that too. Turn to a low heat and allow to simmer and reduce for at least 30 minutes.
  • Step 4

    To make the gremolata, finely chop the parsley together with the lemon zest and garlic in a pile on a chopping board. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, if using.
  • Step 5

    Serve the ragu with pasta of your choice and garnish with the gremolata and pine nuts, if using.
  • Step 6

    If cooking in advance, keep in the fridge and use within 5 days. Alternatively, freeze to keep it for longer.

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