Saturday, October 31, 2009

From the Yum Files: Veggie Spaghetti

Riddle me this gentle reader: I have never been a vegetarian, but the best main courses I make are ALL veggie dishes! Strange, but true. Give me a bag of TVP and I'm on my way, but I really have no idea how to cook meat or even fish (bad Newfoundlander! bad!). Mister Man is the master of beef and pork and salmon, so luckily, we've got all our bases covered over here at camp omnivore.

Here's how I make vegetarian spaghetti. There are a couple of secret ingredients, and I know it's Halloween and everything, but you non-believers, don't be scared!

Secret ingredient #1: TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein (which is where you'll get your protein and a nice texture). It's sometimes called TSP - Texturized Soy Protein, or Texturized Soy Grits. You can buy it in bulk, or you can pick it up pre-packaged. It looks like this.

....until you add water, when it looks like this.

Mister Man kindly put some of the bulk stuff in a zip lock baggy for me. And he was even nice enough to label the bag. (The cryptic comment is a reference to the sci-fi film "Soylent Green". Oh that Mister Man. He's a real joker!)

Secret ingredient #2: Nutritional Yeast (which is where you'll get a big boost of Vitamin B, and a nice cheesy flavour.) It's sometimes called Good Tasting Yeast, or Flaked Yeast, or Nutritional Yeast. You can sometimes buy it in bulk, or you can also pick it up pre-packaged. It looks like this.

Or like this:

I can also tell you that it's DELICIOUS on popcorn, and it's also nice sprinkled on top of buttered toast, or on top of pasta. I also use it to make a killer gravy (and I promise to share THAT one with you in the coming months).

Teri's Veggie Spaghetti:

1 large sweet onion
a schwack of fresh white mushrooms (about half a brown paper mushroom bag full)
3 large carrots
1 yellow or orange pepper
6 cloves of garlic
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups TVP
dried basil (maybe about 1 tablespoon)
a shot of hot sauce
a teaspoon of sugar
3 bay leaves
pepper and salt to taste
about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
a splash of red wine (if you've got it)

Catelli's Smart Pasta (the high fibre stuff)

Dice the onions, and slice the mushrooms, carrot and pepper. Heat a frying pan, and when it's warm, add olive oil and a titch of butter. Toss in your diced onion and cook oh-so-slowly until the onion is golden brown and full of caramelized goodness. Add your sliced carrot and continue to cook slowly until the carrots soften. Add your sliced pepper and continue to cook slowly. When your vegetables are verging on cooked, toss in your diced garlic and cook for just a minute or so before pulling the pan off the heat.

In a medium sized to large pot, add 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and toss in your cooked vegetables.

In a small bowl, add some boiling water to your TVP until it starts to puff up. Stir this into your sauce and add the basil, salt and pepper, bay leaves, sugar, shot of hot sauce and nutritional yeast. You can also add a splash of red wine if you're so inclined. On very low heat, let the sauce simmer, stirring from time to time. The sauce is best if it simmers for a couple of hours, and then chills overnight. So I suggest you make it the day before!

Serve it over pasta (I really like the high fibre stuff that Catelli makes. It actually has more fibre than your average whole wheat pasta and it's delicious to boot). Sprinkle generously with grated parmesan cheese, and nutritional yeast.

Yum. Comfort food that's actually good for you.

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