This is my favorite way in the world to make spaghetti, and it is a great way to provide a meal for non-dieters without having to fall off the health wagon yourself. The sauce has no meat in it, which people often scoff at, but without variation they are always surprised at how great it tastes - the taste and texture of the peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots ably supplant that of the greasy hamburger meat found in traditional spaghetti sauce. I have had many people complain about the lack of meat in my spaghetti before tasting it, only to proclaim it the best spaghetti they have ever eaten later on.
You will need:
2 cans of your favorite spaghetti sauce (the canned kind comes out better than the jarred kind in this recipe)
2 small cans tomato paste
1 can tomatoes (any kind will do)
1 - 1.5 large onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large bell peppers, chunked
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into circles
1.5 - 2 cups mushrooms (whatever is your favorite type), sliced
1 - 1.5 cups broccoli, the heads torn in small pieces from the stalk
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
basil, to taste
oregano, to taste
1 bay leaf
Any of your favorite herbs and spices, to taste
2 packages wheat thin spaghetti
Sautee onions, garlic, and celery in olive oil at medium high heat until the smell of the mixture strengthens. Add salt and pepper. Add peppers and carrots and sautee for 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and broccoli and sautee for another 2 to 3 minutes (add an additional tablespoon of olive oil if needed). Stir in canned spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Add water based on cooking time - if you have one hour to cook the sauce, fill the empty can from the canned sauce 1/2 full and add to mixture, for each additional hour add an additonal 1/2 can of water. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least one hour. The longer the cook time, the stronger the flavor. Boil noodles and drain. I recommend serving this recipe (and any other spaghetti recipe) buffet style - allowing each person fill his/her plate with noodles and then add the desired amount of sauce, instead of just dumping all of the noodles into all of the sauce and mixing them together. This recipe serves up to 15 people and is even better leftover.
For dieters - I recommend serving yourself a small portion of spaghetti on a salad plate, topped with a minimal amount of reduced fat Parmesan cheese. If desired, eat with 1/2 slice of wheat garlic toast, made with a very small amount of Smart Balance butter (Spread butter thinly over bread, add garlic salt, and heat in oven or toaster oven). This usually leaves me feeling quite full.
The main drawback to this recipe is that it is very hard to figure out the exact amount of calories per serving - you can estimate based on the number of calories in each of the ingredients, but even then you have to spend a lot of time with a calculator only to get a very rough estimate. The number of calories also varies with the brand of noodles or canned sauce that you use. Even so, you can always count on it being healthier than spaghetti made with ground beef.