Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pasta-less Spaghetti

     Spaghetti is one of my all time favorite meals EVER, add some gooey freshly baked garlic bread and green salad, and your there. Well, to make my pasta meals even more veggie friendly, I have experimented endlessly with pasta-less spaghetti. What I mean here is using veggies to substitute for the delicious mounds of buttery angel hair that always manage to consume much more of my plate then anything else. AND, I have some fav's and numerous suggestions, so here goes!

     Eggplant Parmigiana (believe it or not this is easy and relatively mild!)
1 Eggplant
1 Jar Spaghetti sauce (personal fav right now is Ragu's Veggie Primavera, only a little sugar and extra veggies)
olive oil
1/2-1 lb. Ground Turkey or other favorite meat, OPTIONAL
Spices like dried garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and/or onion for the meat
About 1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese (the canned stuff works fine here)
About 1 c. Grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. Basil (fresh, dried or those cool little refrigerator oil and water packed tubes of different types of herbs)

Preheat Oven to 350^, lightly spray a 13x9 inch baking dish. Wash and slice eggplant long ways and layer in dish. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 min. While baking, cook meat if any with a little dried garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and/or crushed red pepper for more flavor if desired. You can also puree the spaghetti sauce a little more while you wait, grate cheese etc. Be sure to add the Basil and about 2 Tbsp. of the Parmesan Cheese to the sauce. When 15 min. are up, layer the sauce, meat and cheese 2x ending with the cheese. If using no meat, add all the sauce and then the cheese on top. Turn oven up to 375^ and bake for about another 30 min. or so til cheese is brown and bubbly (sometimes we even lightly broil for a few minutes to really get that cheese going!) 

     Spaghetti Squashed Spaghetti

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce
1/2-1 lb. optional meat
Parmesan Cheese for the top

There are 2 ways to cook a spaghetti squash, the first is to cut in half and remove seeds, prick a couple of times and fit into a bowl or shallow dish that will fit into your microwave and nuke for about 10 min. checking regularly. The other is to prepare the same, but bake in a 350^ oven for about 50-60 min. (you want the insides to be very soft) While baking prepare your meat if using and sauce, again we like the Ragu kind like in the above recipe and I puree it more for the texture issues with kids. Once the squash is done, use a fork to sort of peel out and separate the insides in to a bowl. Interestingly they look like strands of spaghetti! You can butter and salt them a little for flavor, up to you. Serve a little on a plate with sauce and a salad, and another pasta-less meal success! 
Side note; Spaghetti Squash can then be used in different ways as a little sort of "pasta side" cook however you prefer, then add some garlic, parmesan and butter. Or try toasted pine nuts, torn basil and pepper to taste. The options are quite limitless as you can do about as much to it as you would actual spaghetti!

     Baked Zucchini (Another super easy and fast one!)

1+ Medium Sized Zucchini's (depends on servings!)
1 Jar Sauce or portion thereof
Optional Meat or Beans

Preheat oven to 400^. Halve the zucc's long ways, and use a little teaspoon to get out a little of the pulp. Place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet (I liked it lined in foil so I could wrap up extra later!) Bake for about 20 min. In the mean time, cook meat, puree sauce etc. I put the extra garlic in this one because I LOVE garlic, and 1-2 cloves fresh minced garlic simmering in the sauce while the zucchini is baking made it super yummy. Also optional to have the beans, I used red kidney beans, rinsed them under warm water and it worked perfectly and tasted good. This is an excellent easy meal that I sometimes make for lunch since it can cook while I am doing the kids, and make extra for other meals. Try baking with a little goat cheese, sliced olives, halved cherry tomatoes and even a little basil and olive oil for a new experience (Dr. McKeith recommends it!) The goat cheese is like half the fat of regular cheddar so super easy on the hips and thighs. Again, make extras for lunch the next day or try it different ways and you have yourself another pasta-less dish! 

     Tip #56890
Seriously though, did you know adding veggies actually cuts your carb count? For example, say Eggplant Parmigiana has 15 total carbs. per serving. Subtract the grams of fiber and guess what...less carbs! (i.e. 15-4+11 net carbs! yay for veggies and fiber!) 


  1. have ried some of your favorites and they are wonderful!!!

  2. Oh man...I dunno...Spaghetti is seriously right up there with the classic Grilled Steak and Baked Potato for me...not sure I can mess with it! :)


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