Sunday, November 7, 2010

Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

I LOVE spaghetti...especially if you have a great sauce!  Not too runny, not too thick, just enough texture, a hint of sweetness followed by a tiny hint of spicy...makes my mouth water just thinking about it!  Talk about your all-time comfort food!  My sister, Summer, first introduced me into the amazing world of vegetables in spaghetti sauce.  When I went vegan, all I was eating was marinara on noodles...BORING!  This revelation was like manna sent from heaven, and I will ALWAYS be thankful for her creativity and insight regarding this dish!  I'm not really a "recipe" person...I don't really use them...I typically like to cook and add until the dish tastes putting together the "perfect" sauce was a challenge!  For all of you out there who have begged me for this recipe...I hope this is what you remember it tasting like, because I'm going to start using this recipe I concocted from now on, just so I can get the exact same results!

In a large pot combine:

2 T. coconut oil
1 brick of tempeh, crumbled
1 T. fresh smashed garlic (those of you who read my blog, know I'm a cheater and use it from a tube!)
2 T. dried basil
1/8 t. sea salt
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but if you know me, I like a little kick!  I'd probably add 1 t. for my own taste!)
2 T. (heaping) of the fresh pesto we made in earlier blogs...OR any vegan pesto...OR you could probably just do:
     2 T. fresh basil (tubed or fresh chopped)
     1 T. fresh garlic, smashed
1/2 chopped onion (medium to large)
6-8 oz. mushrooms (roughly chopped)

-Brown tempeh over medium heat, stirring frequently so as not to let it burn


2 15 oz cans organic tomato sauce
1 jar of your favorite organic spaghetti sauce (I used a basil flavored one)
1/2 bag organic carrots (I use the matchsticks and roughly chop them...I just like the size of them that way)
1/2 bag organic broccoli (chopped into edible pieces)
2 zucchini, chopped
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. agave nectar (sometimes the tomatoes are pretty acidic...this balances it out...if your sauce still tastes acidic or too "tomato-y" add another tablespoon)

-reduce heat to med/low and simmer until you can't stand it any more!  (uncovered)  Just make sure your veggies get decently cooked...but the longer you let these flavors meld together, the better the taste (ever wondered why some things taste better the next day?!  There you have it!)

-now, I know some households contain some "picky eaters" who would balk at the sight of all those veggies in their sauce.  Here's how you fix that:

-do the tempeh with all the spices above, but don't add the onions and mushrooms to it, instead, do those in a separate pan.  When the onions have softened, throw that, and all of the other ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until completely smooth.

-NOW add it to the tempeh and cook just long enough to warm the sauce up...the slower you heat it, the more enzymes from all of those raw veggies will be left intact.

-I did this SO often when my oldest daughter decided to be a picky eater between the ages of 1 and 2!  Little did she know that she was still eating a large amount of veggies!

-if your kids won't eat those dark leafy greens, blend some fresh spinach into the sauce too...they'll never know!

-Let's talk about spaghetti squash, because in a dish like's AMAZING!  Instead of getting all those carbs from pasta (not saying that carbs are bad, but if you're carb-conscious...this is the remedy) can substitute this specific squash for the pasta! If you cook it according to its little sticker label, you will get a GORGEOUS yellow "pasta" that's actually another serving of veggies instead!  Maybe an excuse to have another piece of garlic toast ;)

-p.s.- I don't normally encourage "microwave cooking"...however, in a time crunch, you can stick half of one of these babies, face down, in a little dish with some water, cover with plastic wrap, and nuke it for 10 mins...JUST sayin!


  1. This is such a tastey sauce. I will never go back to making any other sauce. All I can say is "how can eating healthy taste so good"?
    I made a slight variation to the sauce. I myself, am a picky eater, and wouldn't be able to eat "chunks" of broccoli and carrots and such on my spaghetti. so after preparing the sauce, I put it in the food processor. The end result, I would have never guessed there all those vegetables were "hidden" in this sauce. YUMMY!

  2. Good work!! For the longest time, I too was one of those picky eaters...and never would've considered eating something with chunky veggies in it!! My daughter, Sofia, also went through a phase where she wouldn't TOUCH veggies...yet LOVED I would throw all sorts of raw veggies into a blender, and add enough organic sauce to make it look unsuspicious...she never knew the difference!!

  3. I'm sure I can spot meat in there in that picture.

  4. thanks for your concern, however, what may look like meat to you is actually tempeh. (it's chewy like meat too!) great substitute