Vegan MoFo Day 6 – Spaghetti!

6 10 2012


Happy National Noodle Day!

There are so many ways to enjoy noodles that it was almost hard to narrow down what to do to celebrate.  But since yesterday was a full day of work followed by Apple Betty AND Flan, I decided to keep today simple and share one of my all-time favorite recipes.

I used to be a HUGE fan of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated.  I still enjoy them but don’t subscribe anymore since about half the recipes are centerpiece meat dishes, which isn’t really my cup of tea now that I don’t eat meat.  So I catch the show on PBS when I can, since I like the techniques and reviews, and I’ve kept all my Test Kitchen cookbooks and Cooks Illustrated back issues.  The spaghetti sauce we make regularly is the Quick Tomato Sauce from Cook’s Illustrated, which is naturally vegan if you replace the 2T butter with Earth Balance.

You can find the recipe here:

Seriously, make it.  It takes 15 minutes, and it’s absolutely delicious.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner with a salad and bread.  Plus it’s super modifiable.  Usually we add a good sprinkle of red pepper flakes in with the onions, or you can add sauteed mushrooms, olives, or whatever you have that you want to use up.  Because it’s such a quick sauce, you’ll want to pre-cook any additions and add them while the sauce simmers… both because they probably won’t cook through before the sauce is done, and because you really don’t want to add any extra liquid to this sauce or it’ll be too watery.

And I know it sounds weird to grate the onion on a box grater.  It will make your eyes cry so many tears, but it really does make all the difference in the sauce so don’t skip that step the first time you make it.  I’d also suggest following the original recipe the first time, since it’s really good and will give you a better idea of what you’re working with if you decide to modify it later.

My better half was in the mood to try a Puttanesca sauce tonight, so we took our standy recipe, above, and added about:

  • 2T drained capers
  • 1/4C roughly chopped olives (kalamata are traditional, but we used a Greek olive mix that we had in the house)
  • 1/2t-1t red pepper flakes
  • 1T olive brine from the jar

We added all of these ingredients right after we added the crushed tomatoes to the pot.

Puttanesca also traditionally uses anchovies, and we just left them out rather than replacing them.  To make up for that savory flavor, I suggest a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast on your finished spaghetti, or vegan parmesan if you have some.  I used nutritional yeast, because I love it and rarely have any commercial vegan cheese in the house.

Here’s the finished dish:


The garlic bread was a loaf of french bread, halved horizontally, coated with Earth Balance, garlic salt, granulated garlic, and dried parsley and then broiled until brown.  Pretty much everyone’s standard garllic bread recipe!

It turned out pretty good, but I prefer the original recipe (plus a half teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes, added with the oregano) to this variation.  Fun to try, though!

So go forth and make yourself some spaghetti!  Use the recipe in the link and you will have a delicious plate in front of you in less than a half an hour.  There are still a couple hours of National Noodle Day left to celebrate!




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