Find Your Flex Spaghetti

Spaghetti was one of my favorite meals as a kid, and it was also one of the first things I learned how to cook. When I first started my attempt at eating a plant-based diet, I was constantly bummed that I never had spaghetti. I mean, not really spaghetti. We never skimped on the meat part of the meat sauce in my household, and anything I tried was an extremely basic blob of noodles and tomato sauce.

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This recipe is actually an adaption of one I tried that basically used zucchini and squash to replicate the meat. I wanted to have more protein for the workouts my husband and I were doing, so only veggies wasn't going to cut it to fill our stomachs.  When I found meatless, ground crumbles, I had to try them with this, and it made up for the meat texture that was missing! I chose to keep the zucchini and squash for the extra serving of vegetables, and there have been no complaints so far!

Health Benefits

When we make pastas, we typically forget about our serving of veggies. I honestly think I fool myself into think that tomato sauce is somehow providing me the vitamins I need to survive. Using a food processor to finely chop up the vegetables makes them hardly noticeable. Give it a try!

Grocery Store Tips

If you're at a loss for what meatless, ground crumbles are, they are a soy alternative to ground beef that is typically sold in the freezer section. Not every grocery store has it, and the one I go to most frequently is Kroger. You'll have your best luck at any store that has an organic or natural food section. If you're hoping to eat vegan, double check the ingredients on these as well. Some are made with soy, but others use egg as a binder. Either way, you are closer to eating a plant-based diet if you give it a go!

Flex Step

My goal is to give people a solution for cooking plant-based that can be used in all kinds of scenarios. Your kids would never eat weird ground crumbles? You want to get the veggie benefits, but would rather make this with ground turkey? Follow the exact same steps, but make your own decision on the "Flex Step" and pick your ingredient! It'll be delicious either way.

 

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Find Your Flex Spaghetti

Difficulty Rating: 2

Flexible Rating: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 yellow onion, processed
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 zucchini or squash, processed
  • Logomakr-1BW9Ap-400 Flex Ingredient: 1 package meatless ground crumbles or ground meat of your choice
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce of choice
Temp. Stovetop Prep Time 5 min. Cook Time 20 min. Yield 6-8 servings

Directions:

  1. Cook whole wheat spaghetti noodles per the instructions on the box.
  2. Add yellow onion to your food processor and mix until you have small to medium pieces (Tip #1).
  3. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, chopped onion, and garlic (Tip #2) to skillet turned to medium-high heat.
  4. While this begins to simmer, add zucchini and squash to your food processor until finely chopped, and set aside.
  5. Logomakr-1BW9Ap-400Flex Step: Once onion becomes translucent, add meatless ground crumbles or your choice of ground meat to the skillet, stirring occassionally.
  6. After the ingredient is completely browned, add zucchini, squash, and jar of spaghetti sauce to skillet.
  7. Mix thoroughly together. Turn oven to med-low heat and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. By this time, the spaghetti noodles are probably done. Drain the noodles (Tip #3), and enjoy Find Your Flex Spaghetti!

Tips & Tricks:

Tip #1 - I suggest using a food processor throughout this recipe, but you could also finely chop these vegetables. It just takes less time to do it this way.
Tip #2 - If you are using refrigerated minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon equals 1 clove.
Tip #3 - If you want to keep the noodles from sticking together, put a little olive oil on them.

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