Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint


Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint |

I love this time of year! Especially now since the past few weeks of endless rainy days have finally stopped. The days now warm up just enough and the nights are cooling off….ahhhhh, fall. Some of my favorite elements of the fall season are the funky heirloom pumpkins, colorful blowing leaves, cozy sweaters, clear bright blue skies, sounds of football games, crackling fires, chilly hockey rinks, and lots of yummy comfort foods. This weekend my fall cravings began and I knew I had to make my Beef Ragu with Mint.  And why not make a healthier version?  Some people may think any meal containing beef cannot be healthy…but I disagree.  It’s all about the fat and eating in moderation!


Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint |

Comfort foods, often though, include ingredients not so good for the waistline. Believe me, I’m not one to shy away because of this, but healthier versions of classic comfort foods are almost always worth trying! So this time I decided to use extra lean ground beef to cut down on some of the fat and calories of a more traditional meat ragu.


Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint |

When I think of a typical fall pasta dish, what comes to mind first is a hearty, meaty, tomato based sauce. There are so many versions of meat sauces, including beef, pork, lamb, ground turkey, or some sort of combination thereof. Ragu and Bolognese sauces are very traditional Italian meat sauces and vary with the amount of tomatoes, tomato sauce, or meat they include. There must be a million versions!

This Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint is simple and delicious. One advantage of using such lean meat is that you don’t have to drain it before adding the other ingredients. You just feel “oh so good” when browning the meat and seeing that there really isn’t much fat in the pan. There may be a slight tradeoff for the overall rich flavor of your sauce…but for an easy, delicious, everyday pasta, I’m all for it! And my boys love it.


Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint |

What is the special surprise twist to this Healthy Beef Ragu? Fresh mint! Come on! I’m a Southerner.   We love our mint and not just in fruit tea and mint juleps. The mint adds fresh bright taste and wonderful smell to this dish and I love the dimension it adds in general.


Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint |

These types of chunky meaty pasta sauces lend themselves to pasta shapes that have lots of grooves and curves to capture the sauce. Our Petite Pumpkins, “Zucchettes” in Italian, were a perfect fit…for the shape and the season! 🙂 Usually these regional Italian pasta shapes are imported from Italy, difficult to find, and cost quite a bit more. So we decided last year to start making them right here in the USA. We knew we could produce quality “small batch” pasta just like the boutique manufacturers in Italy…and our customers are saying so far so good!  You can read more here if you interested in how we got started in the pasta business!


Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint |

So enjoy making and serving this chunky-delish-comfort pasta and embrace a healthier option for dinner – your family will thank you and your waistline will too!

If you are interested in seeing all of our pasta shapes, you can visit The Pasta Shoppe website.  And if you have any fundraising needs, please check out Fun Pasta Fundraising!  We’d love to hear from you!


Healthy Beef Ragu with Mint

A healthier version of Beef Ragu…with a twist! Fresh mint makes this dish a winner! This may seem like a large amount of sauce…but it is chunky and you can freee leftovers if you have any!


  • 1416 ounces of Petite Pumpkin Pasta (may sub any short shapes with grooves to hold the sauce!)
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (I used extra lean), browned
  • 2 28 oz. cans of Italian whole tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 celery stalk, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups packed fresh mint, chopped (+ more for garnish)
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. ground coriander
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 12 t. salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. Add meat to large sauce pan and spinkle with salt and pepper. Cook meat over med-high heat until browned and crumbled.
  2. Add carrots, celery, onion and cook for another 5-6 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Stir until combined.
  4. Add tomatoes and fresh mint and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta per the label instructions. Drain.
  6. Add pasta to plates or bowls and top with sauce!
  7. Garnish with extra chopped fresh mint and Parmesan cheese.


The sauce is chunky and I find that different people like varying amounts of sauce on their pasta. I make large batch of sauce so we have plenty! You can freeze the extra and enjoy again later!



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  1. Presley on October 20, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    What a wonderful combination! This recipe is awesome.

  2. Monica on August 10, 2015 at 8:07 am

    The directions doesn’t tell when to add the mint. It just tells you when to add the mint garnish. Could you follow up and let me know. Thanks.

    • carey on August 10, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Thank you for the Oops! Yes – add the mint in step #4 with the tomatoes…and I’ll update the recipe. Let me know how you like it!

  3. Alice on October 23, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Your pumpkin shaped pasta looks so appealing….awesome! I swear they look like tulips, too, which would be perfect for spring also, but you’ve probably already thought of that… garden club would be impressed, yet my grans would eat up those pumpkins. (Seems like more “pumpkin mania” this year than ever before, and I love it!) Can’t wait to try your recipe for cozy comfort food….w/ lots of MINT! Thanks for all your yummy inspiration! Think I could try it w/ ground turkey? or would it be blah????

    • carey on October 27, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Ground turkey would be great…definitely check your seasonings though and make sure there is enough flavor! Let me know how it turns out when you make it!

  4. Candace Galan-Calderon on October 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    This looks very good and not to hard to make, bookmarked for later!

    • carey on October 22, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      It is easy…that’s one of the reasons I really like it! Plus add extra mint!

  5. Rachel Honsvick DeMille on October 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I am always looking for new recipe ideas and I have been trying to cook healthier lately. I am about to have a baby and I want to start cutting back on fat and sugar and try to eat healthier….so hopefully I can get back into my skinny jeans a little quicker! Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it!

    • carey on October 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      I’m not sure I’ve ever actually fit into skinny jeans! You go girl! And your baby will keep you on the move…but do try this! I think you’ll like it!

  6. Solange on October 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

    This looks wonderful!

  7. Eric on October 22, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I like this healthier version of Beef Ragu! Looks really good! I plan on trying this recipe for my girl and I.

    • carey on October 22, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Thanks Eric! Let me know how you like it after you try it 🙂

  8. Kathleen Walsh on October 22, 2014 at 6:31 am

    This looks delicious! Always looking for something different for dinner.,

  9. Kathy B. on October 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Those petite pumpkin shapes are actually beautiful…and so unique! (I can’t believe I’m calling a pasta beautiful, but they are!) And the mint addition is brilliant–I would have never thought to add that. Thanks for the recipe.

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