Spaghetti nights were a hit in my house growing up (although, in my personal opinion, rotini was always the superior noodle). Not only was it a quick meal for my busy mama to make, but it was filling and fun and versatile: she was awesome about putting tons of veggies in the sauce.
I recently polled a group of my clients for their favorite meals from childhood. Hands down, the winners were macaroni and cheese (which spawned this remake here), cheesy gooey casseroles (like this one here, although I have another in the works for a few weeks from now), and spaghetti with meat sauce.
(thank you all so much for your input!)
I set out to recreate a grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free of this childhood favorite and here's what turned out.
"This is like having real spaghetti! I can't remember the last time I had spaghetti! This is so good!"
- my sweet taste-tester husband
It took about 25 minutes in total to put together, but that was probably more to do with the fact we were chatting and taking our time -- a focused go of this could be done in about 15.
It's packed with nutrient-dense veggies, fresh herbs, and the rockstar of all ingredients: spaghetti squash.
If you've never used this incredible veggie as pasta before, be prepared to be blown away. One 2-pound squash produces a ridiculous amount of pasta-like strands (I'd say easily 6 cups from the one we used. Thanks, nature!) The easiest way to prep these for pasta-fying is to add water ton a large pot so it fills up to about 2" high. Bring the water to a boil.
Halve your squash, remove the seeds, and place open-side up in the pot. Cover, then set the timer for 10 minutes. The steam from the boiling water will loosen the insides of the squash, so by the time you take it out, a few simple drags of a fork across the insides will pull out the 'noodles' gorgeously.
While your squash cooks, chop your veggies, sautee your mushrooms, and toss everything into your sauce. Allow this to simmer for the five minutes after your squash timer goes off and your squash cools off.
Voila! Noodles and sauce faster than you can say 'Chef Boyardee' (ew).
Love what you're reading? Grab 9 more simple weeknight meal ideas in the Eat Deliciously, Live Vibrantly eCookbook.
- 1 2-lb spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 medium carrot, sliced
- 10 white or baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
- 1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- a handful of fresh basil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1. Add water to a large pot (large enough to hold your squash) until it reaches 2” high. Place over high heat, covered, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place squash halves, open-side up, in the water and cover. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- 2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When it glistens, add onions and sauté 2-3 minutes until softened.
- 3. Add zucchini, celery and carrot and sauté 1-2 minutes longer. In the meantime, heat remaining oil in another pan and add mushrooms. Sauté, without crowding them for 5 minutes until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat when done.
- 4. Back in your veggie skillet, add tomatoes, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- 5. Once your squash timer goes off, uncover and remove squash from water with large tongs or oven mitts. Allow squash to cool for a few minutes.
- 6. Add basil to your tomato sauce, stirring to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low.
- 7. Using a fork (and holding squash with a towel or oven mitts), pull out the stands of ‘pasta’ by dragging the fork lightly across the squash’s insides. Empty these into a large bowl or into individual portions.
- 8. Remove sauce from heat and portion out onto squash pasta. Top with sautéed mushrooms. Serve.
Have you tried this? Share your exploits in the comments below!