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How to add vegetables to spaghetti


RittenRemedy

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I have a recipe for wedding soup that has some killer looking meatballs.  The boyfriend doesn't eat soup but loves comfort foods, so I wanted to do more of a meatballs and red sauce thing.  We're not particularly low carb, just gluten free, and I wanted to up the nutrient content by adding some vegetables that will go with the noodles not just replace them.

 

Because I'm not looking to hide them or replace something bland with bland veg, I'd prefer to use something more nutrient dense than zucchini.  Any ideas?

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Some nice beefy dried mushrooms like porcini or shiitake would be interesting, and maybe some beetroot noodles. I might also add some roasted red peppers. 

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Classic additions would be onions, peppers and zuccini.  I'm not sure what else to really pair in the sauce.  Could PROBABLY get away with some chopped spinach.

You'd be better of pairing with a nice salad for the nutritious boost.

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Although I should add, if you ARE replacing pasta with something gluten free - I've had some pretty good Quinoa pasta :)

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Honestly you can get away with putting just about any leftover vegetables from your fridge or pantry into a pot of spaghetti sauce and having it work wonderfully.  I actually just did that a week ago and it came out fantastic.  I would say consider cook times, so for instance if you're doing something like a carrot that has a long cook time to soften up, increase the surface area on it by putting it through a food processor..this will cook it faster.  Wilting spinach or fresh basil/oregano goes great as well.

If you've never had spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti noodles before, I'd definitely recommend giving it a try, the flavor is rather mild for squash and it makes a fantastic low carb replacement for noodles.

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You can pretty much put anything in spaghetti but if you are dealing with a fussy eater then shredding carrots and zucchini into the base is a good way to hide it (although don't over do it). Besides that some stuff that works really well are peas, peppers, spinach, mushrooms and broccoli.

 

 

 

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My mom used to do the whole "hide veg in the spaghetti-sauce" deal when we were kids and it's still my favourite thing ever. I still mostly like the vegetables unrecognizable in my meals. I have no idea why.
In a sort-of-bolognese style of sauce you can easily put carrots, zucchini, squash (and maybe other pumpkins, don't have too much experience with it yet...), I guess parsnip as well, and definitely celery. You could also try some eggplant, it was surprisingly good in a chili we had recently. And as has also been mentiones before, some kinds of mushrooms also sound delicious for spaghetti sauce.

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Onions are part of the marinara base for almost all red sauces, so I wouldn’t add more to the sauce necessarily.

 

I’m not a fan of the texture of steamed/boiled grated carrot or zucchini/squash. It falls apart and turns to mush in your mouth. Personal opinion: mushy vegetables in sauce are a cardinal sin that has caused >50% of childhood veggie traumas.

 

Hardy vegetables stand up much better to that kind of treatment.

 

Marinara-based sauces are pretty high in acidity and umami, so you have a few options to play off of.

 

Mushrooms will accentuate the umami in the sauce and they have a more pleasing texture even when cooked wet. They should be browned/sautéed first to remove some moisture.

 

Hardy brassicas are good options for wet cooking. A traditional Italian option is broccoli rabe, which has a pleasing bitterness that plays well wrapped in the salty/sweet/acid envelope of red sauce.

 

In fact, most strong brassicas will work: I can never find broccoli rabe, so instead I often use gai lan (aka Chinese broccoli). Chard or kale would work thrown into the sauce at the last second, since the leaves would wilt but the stems would retain a nice crunch. Mustard greens are even better, since they have both a touch of bitterness and a nice, spicy zing.

 

Most mild veggies are poor choices (broccoli and spinach are both too weak to stand up to a good sauce IMO).

 

Potatoes or other tubers could be a good choice, though I’d use them sparingly as their starch will thicken the sauce as it simmers.

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