I often have mystery guests in my home for dinner. Usually on days when I’m busy or sick or the kids were a handful. The mystery guest is, in fact, dinner itself. We all have those days. It’s 4 or 5 p.m. and you still have no idea what you are going to make. With the pressure of hungry bellies closing in on you, you’ve all too often grabbed the number for your favorite pizza delivery, or googled the local family night dinner deals—and sometimes, that’s ok. It gets you to sanity and everybody lives to see another day.
I started keeping a handy list of all my quickest and simplest meals for occasions just like the one I described. The meal I made last night was one to add to the arsenal. It’s 5 ingredients (really!) and takes roughly 15 minutes. Depending on how you shop, it could easily be made gluten-free or even “clean.” It’s also meatless.
Apart from the terrible and unappetizing lighting in my kitchen, looks pretty good, right?
It’s spaghetti, just, with veggie noodles instead of wheat noodles. If you are frightened by this, then, all the more in awe you will be when you try it and don’t miss that carb-loaded pasta for one second. Trust me. This is coming from a girl who loves carbs. Added bonus: you don’t have to own a spiralizer; these veggies come pre-shredded.
And let me just say what you were already thinking. “There are knots on that plate so what is the point of veggie noodles if you are eating carbs anyway?” Well for one, I make those because they make my hubby do a happy dance. Secondly, if I use veggie noodles I am consuming fewer carbs than I would if I had bought spaghetti. Lesser of two evils. Boom.
If you are gluten free or trying to eat clean (no added chemicals, preservatives, ingredients you can’t pronounce, etc), I’m guessing you could waltz through your local health food store and grab gluten free or clean pizza dough. I’m not gonna lie though, the Publix pizza dough makes some seriously yummy knots.
I also tried a new brand of jarred pasta sauce for this: Mid’s Homestyle Pasta Sauce. It had a recognizable list of ingredients, and I thought the taste was great. I would not hesitate to buy it again when I see another buy one get one sale!
Veggie Spaghetti and Italian Knots
2 12-oz bags of Eat Smart Broccoli Slaw (this mix includes carrots and cabbage)
1 jar of your preferred spaghetti sauce (or homemade!)
2-3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 16-oz bag of fresh pizza dough
Let dough rest in the bag at room temperature for 1 hour. This is not critical, but it does make the dough easier to manipulate.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
For the knots:
Butter or spray a sheet pan with non stick spray.
Tear off a piece of dough and stretch into a “snake” long enough to put a simple knot in. Do this with entire dough ball and place each knot on the sheet pan.
Melt 2 Tbsp of *salted butter and use a basting brush to cover knots in butter. Then sprinkle knots with freshly cracked black pepper and italian seasoning. I like to crush the italian seasoning between my fingers as I sprinkle it, to release more of the flavor. *If you are using unsalted butter simply sprinkle the knots with sea salt as well.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. If you want them to look all glossy, feel free to dab them with additional butter when they are done cooking.
Meanwhile heat spaghetti sauce in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.
While sauce is heating, place 2 bags of broccoli slaw in a skillet or pot that has a lid. Remove any large chunks of veg that may have missed the shredder in processing. Add about 1/2 cup of water (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Cover and turn to medium-high heat. Steam for 5-7 minutes. Broccoli will turn translucent and slightly limp. Don’t over cook! You are looking for an al dente tenderness. Remove from heat and season with salt.
Spoon sauce over veggie noodles and feel free to top with some parmesan curls. Try not to eat all of the knots.