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Roasted Vegetable Ragu with Venison Meatballs

Serves 4
Prep time:
Cooking time:

A hearty, healthy dish to warm you up this winter.



  • 1 red onion, coarsely diced (1cm pieces) (ragu)
  • 1 red capsicum (ragu)
  • 1 yellow capsicum (ragu)
  • 3 zucchini, chopped into 1cm pieces (ragu)
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) size carrots, coarsely diced into 1cm pieces (ragu)
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely diced into 2cm pieces (ragu)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (ragu)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (ragu)
  • 1 tsp salt (ragu)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (ragu)
  • 1/4 tsp dried chili pepper (or 1/2 small fresh chili, finely minced) (ragu)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (ragu)
  • 1 can tomatoes (425g), coarsely chopped or tomatoes broken up into 2cm pieces (ragu)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (ragu)
  • 500g venison mince, room temperature (meatballs)
  • 1 tsp salt (meatballs)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (meatballs)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (meatballs)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (meatballs)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (meatballs)
  • Pinch of dried crushed chili flakes (meatballs)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (meatballs)
View the method
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large baking dish (ceramic works great) or heavy duty shallow oven-proof stock pot, mix all ragu ingredients except vinegar, canned tomatoes, and brown sugar. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring midway. In the meantime, prepare venison meatballs.
  2. Mix all venison meatball ingredients in large bowl. Form into medium size balls (just short of a golf ball). Place heavy duty skillet (cast iron is great) over medium high heat. Add 1/2 the olive oil and when hot, place half the balls in the skillet, making sure they are not crowded. After a couple minutes, check one to see if brown on bottom. If so, gently flip and cook for 1 minute (meatballs will continue cooking in the oven with ragu later) and remove to plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs and set aside.
  3. After ragu has been in the oven for 30 minutes, remove and add can of tomatoes, brown sugar, and balsamic. Give a good stir and gently nestle meatballs in ragu, spooning some sauce over each ball. Return to oven and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and test a meatball to make sure it is cooked through, with a small bit of pink in the very middle as they will continue cooking once removed from oven.
  4. Serve ragu over gluten free spaghetti noodles and top with a pinch of fresh basil, if in season.
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