Spaghetti Dinner with Veggies

Our favorite homemade spaghetti dinner, is made entirely of non-processed plants! No grains, no flours – just all things straight from the ground! We have found a delicious homemade marinara sauce too (why mess with a classic?), which really sets this spaghetti dinner apart. I have come a LONG way from my college days of buying boxed noodles and a jar of Prego sauce.  If you make this for your family, they will not miss the pasta – I promise.

I’ve used spaghetti squash in place of noodles in past posts before, like the Lentil Balls with Spaghetti Squash recipe. And in all honesty, we use spaghetti squash as our noodles more than we use traditional noodles, so to us it is a no brainer. But I’m trying to get better at sharing the every day recipes with everyone.

To me, spaghetti squash “noodles” (ssoodles?) taste SO much better than pasta. They have more flavor and I can sit down with an entire plate of spaghetti squash, eat the entire thing and be hungry 2 hours later. And just to drive that point home, here is a little nutritional comparison between spaghetti squash and organic, gluten-free spaghetti noodles. Note the serving size; as I couldn’t find a perfect quantity comparison, but I’m guessing a whole pound of spaghetti squash is a LOT. (And, a pound is 16 oz. so if anything these stats are weighted in favor of the gluten-free noodles, and it still doesn’t help them!)

Data pulled from My Fitness Pal.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to at least give the plant noodles a try!

Tonight’s dinner will be spaghetti squash noodles topped with homemade marinara, served with a side of steamed green veggies.

Marinara

First, the sauce. This is key, and can be made ahead of time and frozen, as it makes a TON. Head on over to Wellness Mama for the original recipe. But below is our slight spin on it:

Ingredients

3 boxes of Pomi brand tomatoes (2 boxes of chopped, 1 box of strained – this is our way of saving time on the ‘fresh tomato’ version)
¼ c. olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
8 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 bay leaves (remove when done)
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. Real salt
1 carrot (1/2 should be grated and added to sauce, the other half should be added at the end of cooking and then removed)
8 oz. package of baby portobello mushrooms (this is our addition, also adds 8g of protein)

Instructions (We follow Wellness Mama’s instructions exactly.)

  1. Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add diced onions, garlic and grated carrots.
  3. Saute for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and tender.
  4. Add tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley and salt.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken.
  6. Add carrot piece and mushrooms for the last 30 minutes. (The carrot helps to absorb acidity.)
  7. Remove bay leaves and piece of carrot.
  8. Use fresh or store in the fridge up to 1 week. Or freeze for up to 6 months.

Spaghetti Squash Noodles

In the last 45 minutes of cooking the marinara, cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Fill a baking pan with 1/4 inch water, place spaghetti squash cut side down over water. Bake in oven uncovered at 375° for 30 minutes or until a fork easily pokes through the outer skin.

Once the squash is done, remove from oven and scrape out squash insides using a fork. (See previous recipe for more detailed instructions and a couple photos.) You will need to hold the squash with an oven mit as it will be HOT. At this time, you can season the squash with a bit of salt and pepper if you’d like. Top with your finished marinara and enjoy!

Steamed Veggies
We start these once we know the squash is done, it stays warm for a long time on it’s own if you leave it face down in the pan. Combine the following in a steamer pot, or a stock pot with a little water on the bottom:

2 c. frozen peas
2 c. frozen green beans
2 stalks fresh bok choy
1 medium sweet onion, chopped

Steam for 7-10 minutes or until bright green and heated through. The onions should be translucent too. Top with a little liquid aminos and serve as a side with your spaghetti with marinara.

What is your biggest struggle when trying to incorporate more plants into your daily life?

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5 Responses to Spaghetti Dinner with Veggies

  1. Bridge says:

    My biggest challenge is the time it takes to clean, chop and cook!

    • Thanks for responding Bridget! (I will text you about this also…) I’ve been giving this some thought, trying to figure out a work around. There are so many people who have the time issue as well. And besides my typical reaction of, “we need to shift our thinking and make food more of a priority” I don’t think that works for 99.9% of people, myself included at any given busy segment of life. So, I got to thinking about knife skills and various kitchen tools that would help speed up the process. My question to you is, do you have a section of your kitchen counter dedicated at all times with a cutting board and knife nearby? (Out of kids reach, obviously.) Would you say you have the most efficient way to chop veggies, to use the least amount of time? Do you have a veggie-chopping-routine setup; which again might help with time limits? I’m asking all of these, because if your answer is no to most, I’m wondering if that is something I can teach or offer via videos, etc. 🙂

  2. Bridge says:

    Thanks Corine! The hubs and I try to cut all of our veggies on Sunday for the whole week. I would love too see any tips on how best to chop and store veggies. The biggest time suck are the squashes- so sometimes I just halve them and toss them in the crock but if we don’t eat them all that day, they are soggy and mushy and no one wants them! Our weekly veggie regulars are: carrots, broccoli, squash, zucchini and salad greens. What are yours?

    • Our weekly veggies are carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, peas, green beans, salads – which have celery, radishes, cucumber, onion, tomato, carrot. Typically. If we do spaghetti squash, we eat it all in one night; each take a half. If we do acorn squash, same thing we just stuff each half and eat it all at once. Butternut squash is a little different; sweeter so we usually buy the peeled and chopped one and then add it to a veggie scramble. Thanks for your insights! I keep asking everyone I talk to, so I can learn other people’s habits too. What is normal/everyday to us is completely off the wall for others. For instance, we plan on an hour for dinner prep every night- but that is not what most people do! How much time do you plan for dinner each night?

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