Friday, July 29, 2011

Vegetable Spaghetti

This is my new go-to for spaghetti- we absolutely LOVE it at our house and it makes regular appearances at the dinner table. Its easy, extremely healthy (can you say, vegan?), it makes a TON, and my kids and husband love it. Seriously, its the only pasta dish that Brian will eat for left-overs. There are several different ways to prepare it and no exact measurements- just put in what you like! Try it out and you'll see what I mean. This recipe is adapted slightly from great friend and neighbor, Sheree Nixon.
picture courtesy google images

Vegetable Spaghetti
Rachel Crofts/Sheree Nixon

Assorted Vegetables of your Choosing (I used squash, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots)
1 yellow onion, diced
Spices of your choosing (I use garlic salt, minced garlic, salt, pepper, Oregano, Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Pepper and Basil)
1 Tbs. Olive oil
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional- but it tempers the acidity of the canned tomatoes and gives a rich flavor to your pasta- add more or less to your liking)
Angel Hair Pasta (one box) cooked according to package directions

My favorite way to prepare this dish is slightly more time-consuming, but it pays off. I chop the vegetables and place them in a large dish and roast them in the oven according to this recipe (minus the cheese). If you prepare enough vegetables on your first attempt, then you can freeze half of them and use them next time you want this spaghetti (more on that later). I typically use an entire head of cauliflower and broccoli, 5-6 diced carrots, a whole squash and zucchini and it makes a TON that is easily divided and used for two recipes. Because I have small children, I chop the vegetables with my food chopper into very small (almost ground) pieces before using for this recipe. It doesn't detract from the flavor or texture, it just makes it more inviting for little mouths. :)

To begin making the spaghetti, warm the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp. of salt and saute until onions are soft (about 5 minutes). Add your spices- I add a good sprinkle of each spice, especially the basil. Only use a dash of red pepper though (its hot!). Add your tomato sauce and diced tomatoes as well as your roasted vegetables. Stir to heat through and simmer for about 10 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Add your brown sugar, if using, at the end. Stir, and remove from heat. Serve over cooked angel hair pasta.

**If you have frozen vegetables (from doubling the earlier roasted vegetables) or want to make this recipe in a crock pot, do the following: Saute the onions as described above. Add spices. Put your tomatoes and tomato sauce into a crock pot set to low, followed by the brown sugar, sauteed onions, and frozen vegetables. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, stirring once or twice throughout to break up the vegetables. Serve over angel hair pasta for an easy, MUCH faster spaghetti.


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