Pasta night…reinvented!

15 Apr

When I was growing up, spaghetti was a staple in our household as I’m sure it was in many others.  My Mom would make a large batch of sauce that she would separate and freeze.  On those nights when we were in a hurry or just wanted something simple, we would defrost some sauce and put on a pot of noodles.  There are times when I miss the hearty flavors of a plate of spaghetti and meatballs just like my Mom made.

My tastes and eating habits have changed tremendously since I was younger so I reinvented this dish with my nutritious, vegan spin on it.  Here is my reinvented traditional pasta dish….

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To start, I replaced the traditional noodles with spaghetti squash.  Although the peak season for this squash is Fall/ Winter, they can generally be found year round.  Using spaghetti squash in place of the noodles adds an extra serving of vegetables to this dish and ups the nutritional value since they are high in beta carotene and fiber.

whole

What’s even better is that it is very easy to prepare!  Simply cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, which can be discarded or saved.  Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet.

cut 2

Bake at 350 for 45 – 50 minutes or until it is tender enough to pierce with a fork.  Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.

cutNow for the fun part!  Using a fork, rake the flesh out of the skin and place into a bowl.  It should shred easily and resemble spaghetti noodles.

shredded

 

While the squash is in the oven, you have time to prepare what you would like to top your “noodles” with.  For this dish I chose tomato sauce with some wilted greens added and lentil mushroom “meatballs”.  For the sake of time here I used store bought sauce, however next time I will definitely plan ahead and make my own!

sauce

The last component of this dish is the “meatballs”.  I used lentils and mushrooms as a base and added almonds and plenty of dried herbs for seasoning.  These are simple to make, have a rich flavor and add protein to your meal.

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Lentil Mushroom Meatballs

1/2 cup lentils
1 1/2 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup almonds, ground
1/4 cup diced onions
3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp liquid aminos
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp dried thyme and rosemary
1 tbsp garlic powder

~  Put the almonds into the food processor and grind until they have a flour-like consistency
~  Place all ingredients, except for the flour into the food processor. Pulse until well combined, stopping several times to scrape the sides.
~  Fold the flour into the mixture adding only a little bit at a time. Continue adding until the moisture is absorbed and the mixture holds together well, it should have a doughy consistency
~  Heat coconut oil in a pan, form mixture into even sized balls and add them to the heated pan
~  Brown evenly on all sides

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Now you have a meal that is reminiscent of a traditional pasta dish but is lighter and full of vitamins and nutrients.

Bon Apetit!

 

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