{Meatless Monday: shortcut spaghetti bolognese}

Vegan Bolognese

Summary:

Yummy, comforting weeknight meal…now made quicker, healthier and meatless! This recipe can be done in under 30 minutes. Just boil, chop and simmer. Traditional bolognese recipes also contains celery – I omitted this ingredient because I am NOT a fan of its taste. Plus did you know it’s one of the top “dirtiest foods”; if you like celery this is one of those foods you should buy organic along with apples (#1 dirtiest). Still a celery lover? Feel free to add about 1/2 cup of chopped celery into the vegetable mixture of this bolognese.

What is a healthy pasta serving? Well you are going to be surprised with how the American Heart Association answers this question. For a person on a 2,000 calorie diet…the serving should be 1/2 cup of cooked pasta!! For a diabetic, this portion is reduced to 1/3 cup!! I know…you must be thinking…WwHhhAaaTTT!!?! are you serious!?!?! 1/2 cup!! No wonder many of the pasta plates served at chain food restaurants pile on the calories (they can range from 1,000 to 2,000 calories per plate!!!) Yup… Well not to depress you…if you are a pasta lover like I am…There are healthy tricks and alternatives. First go with whole grains. Why? Because the amount of fiber in the pasta will help you feel fuller longer (with a smaller portion) through a slower digestive process. It will also help avoid an insulin spike, thus helping prevent blood sugar imbalances which are key players in the development of diabetes.  Plus it’s considered a detox food and will help you get rid of the toxins you consumed during the day. Second, try to plan your meals. If you are thinking about pasta for dinner (and you know you have a tendency to overeat when it comes to italian cuisine)… have a salad for lunch or go with veggies and protein. This way eating 1 cup of cooked pasta for dinner (2 servings) is quite reasonable.

Nutritional Analysis:

Ingredients:
12 oz whole grain spaguetti
1.5 cups tomato based pasta sauce
1  cup (4oz) of fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 small white onion
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup water
1 tbsp dry or fresh parsley
1 tsp extra virgen olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1 large garlic clove, minced (can also use 2 if you are a garlic lover)

Directions:

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1. PREP: Using a food processor chop the onion, carrots, garlic and mushrooms to the desired size. Bring salted water to a boil in a medium sauce pan and cook pasta according to directions.

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2. MAKING THE SAUCE: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the vegetables in medium heat for up to 5 min or until they cook thoroughly (the mushrooms will shrink in size).  Season with salt, pepper and parsley. Mix well. Add the wine to help caramelize and cook the vegetables. Add the tomato sauce, water and sugar. Stir well and reduce heat to medium low. Let cook for up to 10 min or until the sauce thickens and reduces.

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3. SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
Drain the pasta. Add the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley on top or garnish with grated parmesan cheese if desired. I kept it vegan and it tasted great! You can also use other flavor enhancers such as cayenne pepper to make it hot.

Serving Size: 6 to 8 servings

Cooking for 2? …You will have lots of yummy leftover for the rest of the week. These spaghetti taste great when reheated!

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…. Do you often eat pasta during the week? Hope you learned something new about pasta and nutrition with this post!

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