Childhood Favorites Gone Vegan ~ Spaghetti & Meatballs

When I was a kid one of my favorite canned meals was spaghetti and meatballs. As a latch-key kid, there was nothign better than racing home from school to crack open a can of ravioli, spaghetti-o’s or spaghetti and meatballs. All of that tomato-y goodness that, in hindsight, wasn’t all that good, waiting to stain your lips and your microwave safe bowl!

Who could resist?

Not me, that’s for sure!

So, when I was walking the aisles of Lidl last week and noted that here in Romania they have started to up their vegan food choices game. I found Verdino brand meatballs and you know what I did, grabbed up the last package with a giddy smile. I knew then what I wanted.

What is that?

Well, let’s see. Combine my love of carbs, noodles and pasta with these vegan meatballs and what do you have? One of my childhood favorites, re-done for the fancy, grown-up vegan I am today.

This is one of those vegan dinner recipes that you can do the easy way or the tasty way. Just kidding, I’m sure your jarred pasta is super delicious, it’s just a little too sweet for my taste. But if anyone knows of any no sugar added options, I’m game to give it a try.

Chickpeas & Shredded Mushrooms with Turmeric Rice ~ Done in 30 Minutes or Less

What do you do when you still have one more dinner to make and its the day before grocery day? Hit up the pantry for staple ingredients and use whatever fresh leftovers you have. Duh.

The grocery store we frequent has kept a big fat smile on my face with all their mushroom offerings. Usually the options are crimini, button and oyster mushrooms. But lately they’ve had enoki, chanterelle, king oyster and even Caesar mushrooms, which means we have been gobbling up mushrooms like they were going out of style. Or, in my husbands words we have more mushrooms than any two humans can eat in a week.

I think we’re both right.

Anyway, back to the delicious vegan food.

The ingredients here are pretty basic and perfect for those nights when you need to eat dinner but you don’t really feel like cooking.

Chickpeas
Oyster mushrooms
Basmati
Turmeric
Ginger
Onion
Garlic

That’s it. Oh, and oil to toss the mushrooms in before you season them and pop’em into the oven for 30 to 45 minutes.

For the rice, add salt to the water and bring it to a boil. I like to add the turmeric when I add the rice so it colors every grain a beautiful golden color when it’s done.

Mix it all together for an easy bowl meal or serve it separately for the picky eater who doesn’t like his/her food to touch, also known as vegan kids!

There you have it, folks, a thirty minute vegan meal perfect for when you want to order delivery but can’t because…reasons.

30 Minute Vegan Pasta + Sauce

Ages ago when I first started to change the way I ate, I turned to Food Network for lessons on cooking, picking out the best quality food and even nutrition. It wasn’t a complete education but it gave me the tools I needed to keep moving forward. And it worked. Back then I was still shoveling animal products down my throat but there was a lot less food on my plate and it was a better quality.

Making the switch to plant based eating meant I needed to re-learn some things, such as how to make a meal complete without meat. Most days I don’t mind spending an hour in the kitchen to whip up a good and healthy meal for us and he doesn’t either, but some days I just don’t have the time. Or the energy.

Enter, quick but satisfying vegan meals in 30 minutes.

Normally I prefer whole wheat pasta, the darker the better. But I found this adorable pasta at Kaufland and it was so big and fat that it called out to me, and like any good vegan, the first thing I did was flip it over to make sure the manufacturer hadn’t snuck in some milk (lactic acid) or cheese. They didn’t.

They don’t look like much in the photo but that is a life-size image on the right so imagine how big they will get while cooking. Because I was cooking for 3 people, I used 250 grams instead of 200 just to be sure everyone got a proper serving. Before you gasp at the amount, keep reading.

One of the keys to making a meal quick and delicious is the ingredients. For this particular pasta dish I kept it simple:

Onion
Bell pepper
Garlic
Crimini mushrooms
Cherry tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Leftover pesto(from the creamy pesto)

Add the onion and bell pepper to a skillet–with or without oil–and saute for a few minutes before adding garlic. Then tomatoes and then tomato sauce. You’ll want to add some herbs & spices for seasoning, including oregano, basil, thyme or rosemary.

Add the tomato sauce and stir, adding seasoning as you go until the flavors are delicious without being too salty.

I added about a tablespoon of pesto to each serving because the pop of color and freshness made the pasta even more delicious.

And it only took 30 minutes!

If you prep everything first, meaning chop all the veggies and put the herbs & spices together, you’ll save even more time.

Make it yourself and the next time someone tells you that eating healthy is too time consuming, give them a knowing smile…

and then prove them wrong.

Guten appetit!