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Mom's Spaghetti Turned Into Vegetarian Cooking Using Healthy Ingredients

Updated on June 3, 2014
Cynthia Haltom profile image

Cynthia Haltom, Ph.D. is an accomplished educator and author of over 100 books. Many of her books are about cooking.

Making Spaghetti The Old Fashioned Way

Mom's Spaghetti Turned Into Vegetarian Cooking & Quiz. Since I can remember spaghetti has always been my favorite, so I turned a meat-based recipe to a healthy vegetable one. I think back to the days when my mother would cook her spaghetti using ground beef as the first ingredient that went into the pan. I can smell the dead mammal flesh cooking until she finally added the vegetable to the mix. I never cared for meat and as a child my mothers homemade spaghetti was no different. I excelled at picking as a child, I picked out the meat and set it on the side of my plate. I always gave it to my dad who willingly accepted the gift from me. So when I became an adult, I vowed that I would find a way to make my favorite meal without meat. My mother said, "It won't be spaghetti, it will be marinara!"

Well I did it with modern technology I can buy a bag of crumbled meat-substitute from Morningstar, my favorite brand of vegetarian meat substitutes. I now make a spaghetti that is loved by vegetarians and meat-eater alike. Many people have eaten my spaghetti and asked me afterwards, I thought you were vegetarian? I simply say that was vegetarian cooking, would you like to come for a vegetarian barbeque?

Most people are shocked when you tell them that you don't eat meat and you rely on vegetarian cooking. Many assume that chicken and turkey are not meat and try to insist that I eat it when I come for dinner. I politely say no and most of the time just leave it at that, but some people just can stop arguing. I tell them I don't like meat and will not eat it.

Fresh Ingredients and canned equal spaghetti

My Vegetarian Recipe for Spaghetti

My recipe is simple. I take a meat version of spaghetti sauce and add texture vegetable protein a meat substitute and lots and lots of fresh veggies. I do use canned tomato paste and mushrooms, but most of the time I use as many fresh grown veggies as I can find, and grow my own herbs too. Depending upon what I have in my garden I will use it in my sauce, zucchini, green peppers, and anything that sound good at the time.

RECIPE

Serves 2-3 adults

1 can of quality tomato paste + 3 cans of water, more can be added if it too thick

1 can of canned mushrooms or 1 box of fresh sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 stalks of celery chopped

1 large sweet onion chopped

1 small can black olives sliced

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 vegetarian bullion cubes

1/2 bag frozen crumbled meat substitute (Morningstar Brand is my choice)

Seasoning-salt, pepper,garlic, oregano, and sweet basil fresh or dried to desired taste. (add a small portion as the sauce cooks, then add the rest when you add the meat substitute.

This recipe can be made in a frying pan or the crock pot. I prefer the crock pot because I like to cook the sauce for a long time.

Pan Method

Put all ingredients in the pan except the water,bullion canned mushrooms m canned olives, and meat substitute. On a medium high heat fry the fresh veggies and tomato paste (Undiluted) until they turn clear and the sugar has browned the tomato paste. (This is the true Italian method). Add water and un-drained canned mushrooms and olives, and then the bullion. Simmer for al least 45 minutes. Before serving add frozen meat substitute and stir in and simmer until your pasta are cooked.

Crock Pot Method

Put everything into the crock pot (except the meat substitute) and cook until dinner time. While noodle are cooking add meat substitute into the crock pot to heat. You may need to add a bit of water if the sauce cook down too much.

8 Ounces of Pasta

Bring water to a boil in a separate pot and boil pasta according to package directions. You can serve the noodles after draining directly on to the plate and top off with spaghetti sauce, or family style pour pasta into a serving bowl then pour sauce over it and stir until mixed. Parmesan cheese may be served as a condiment.

I always serve fresh baked garlic toast and salad to round out the meal

Quick Garlic Toast

Italian or French hard crusted bread unsliced, about 12 inches

margarine, butter or olive oil (your preference)

garlic

parmesan cheese

Cut the bread lengthwise (long way) butter the cut side sprinkle with garlic or rub with fresh garlic, and top with parmesan cheese. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 376 degrees F or until golden brown.

Cooking Tools

Proctor Silex 33015Y 1-1/2-Quart Round Slow Cooker
Proctor Silex 33015Y 1-1/2-Quart Round Slow Cooker

A very inexpensive crockpot I use to make my sauce, excellent size for 2 people.

 
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel , SCCPVL610-S
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel , SCCPVL610-S

This is the one I use when I have a large group of people. I often cook enough for my daughter and switch pots with her to feed her family and give her day off cooking.

 
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 5 Qt. Chili Stock Pot
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 5 Qt. Chili Stock Pot

This is my favorite everyday cookware Caphalon outstanding durability and non-stick. Get for noodles.

 
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 14 Piece Cookware Set
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 14 Piece Cookware Set

I love mine they are cast iron with a hard anodized finish, Perfectly even heating. perfect eggs, pancakes, French toast and everyday cooking.

 
OXO Good Grips 5-Quart Stainless-Steel Colander
OXO Good Grips 5-Quart Stainless-Steel Colander

I am partial to stainless steel colanders, they are the perfect choice for noodle or used over a pot of boiling water to steam buns or bread.

 

There is a difference between tomato sauce and paste. You need paste for this recipe.

There is a difference between tomato sauce and paste. You need paste for this recipe.
There is a difference between tomato sauce and paste. You need paste for this recipe.

My favorite crumble meat substitute

My favorite crumble meat substitute
My favorite crumble meat substitute

Use seasoning to your taste. Add a small portion as it cooks and the rest before serving.

Use seasoning to your taste. Add a small portion as it cooks and the rest before serving.
Use seasoning to your taste. Add a small portion as it cooks and the rest before serving.

Buy Name Brand Pasta

For a quality product use pasta made from both semolina and farina. Both of these wheat types are hard winter wheat. They hold up to boiling and do not become pasty or gluey. Don't be fooled by the package high quality is only a few cents different and sometime it's the same or less. The stores depend on you looking for cheaper products and sometime the higher quality ones are actually cheaper.

Take It From Me - There is a difference in the quality of spaghetti noodles

Choose your ingredients carefully. The quality of your meal depends on it. When changing a meat-based recipe to a vegetarian one determine what you can substitute for the meat. Meat makes up most of the protein source of the meal. It is important to use complimentary combinations when altering a recipe.

Some Basic Rules for Complete Proteins Using Vegetable Sources

1. Cheese and Pasta-Examples are macaroni and cheese

2. Wheat and Corn-Examples are cornbread, taco shells, fritters

3. Rice and Beans-Examples are Chinese food, lima bean and rice, red beans and rice

The full list which can be somewhat confusing

Grains + Legumes

Legumes + Seeds & Nuts

Grains + Eggs or Dairy Products

Legumes + Eggs or Dairy Products

Seeds & Nuts + Eggs or Dairy Products

Knowing these combinations you can use them as substitutions or use products such as meat replacements, tofu, tempeh, chick peas, porta bella mushroom, seitan. or other meat free choices. If you are just learning to be vegetarian you may want to keep a list of these proteins close at hand. When planning for meals make a list for grocery shopping. Part of being vegetarian is being healthy and you should not scrimp on your health for the sake of being vegetarian.

A Hard Crusted French or Italian Bread is Best for Garlic Toast

A Hard Crusted French or Italian Bread is Best for Garlic Toast
A Hard Crusted French or Italian Bread is Best for Garlic Toast

My Trusty Old Crock Pot

My Trusty Old Crock Pot
My Trusty Old Crock Pot

Voting for your favorite - VOTE NOW

The Perfect Ambiance for Dinner - Get one Now!

DII 60x84" Rectangular Cotton Tablecloth, Red & White Check - Perfect for Spring, Summer, Christmas, Farmhouse Décor, Picnics & Potlucks or Everyday Use
DII 60x84" Rectangular Cotton Tablecloth, Red & White Check - Perfect for Spring, Summer, Christmas, Farmhouse Décor, Picnics & Potlucks or Everyday Use

The perfect table for that big Italian meal. Invite the family over for a spaghetti dinner and relax over this Italian inspired tablecloth.

 

Quiz Time

Take the Spaghetti quiz NOW!

The Delicious Result

The Delicious Result
The Delicious Result

Do you make your spaghetti sauce from scratch?

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    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 4 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Always. I make paste at least twice a weak, by the way.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      I do make mine from scratch--I love to cook ;) And I love all Morning Star products (especially the crumble you featured above and the spicy black bean burgers!)

    • profile image

      mina009 4 years ago

      ..but survived to finish your great quiz!

    • profile image

      mina009 4 years ago

      I already feel very hungry :)

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Absolutely! An old family recipe.

    • readty7 profile image

      readty7 4 years ago

      I make it with tomatoe, onion, marjorate, butter and meat.

    • castelloautore profile image

      castelloautore 4 years ago

      Nice and interesting lens. Pasta in general is a perfect dish for vegetarians. Just the traditional tomatoes sauce is a .wonderful way to prepare spaghetti.

      Carlo

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Indeed I do. Although, by your mom's standards, mine would be marinara. Like you, when I was a child, I often picked the meat out of my food. One of the cooking secrets I discovered late in life is that it is almost as easy to make a quick sauce with fresh tomatoes as with canned. I don't even bother removing the skins. Chop the tomatoes fine, scoop them into the pan, and in the time it takes me to add the rest of the vegetables and a few herbs, I've got a nice sauce simmering.

      Now for full disclosure. I keep a jar of my favorite organic spaghetti sauce in my cupboard for those nights I haven't the energy to do more than boil the noodles and some frozen peas in my two-tier kettle, noodles on the bottom, veggies in the top steamer. Dish up. Pour the unheated sauce over the noodles, sprinkle a little grated cheese over all. Dinner in less than 15 minutes. Not the best, but better than eating a candy bar for supper, yes?