There’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of meaty, cheesy pasta. This version is just as meaty as its beef-based counterpart, but uses vegetarian ground “beef” in place of the animal protein. We mixed in fresh spinach for added veggie goodness, and portobello mushrooms for a next-level umami flavor and meaty texture. Enjoy this sauce over plain spaghetti, or use it in your favorite lasagna or baked ziti recipe when you have vegetarian guests at the table.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 (24-ounce) jar tomato sauce (such as Rao’s Tomato Basil)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups baby spinach
12 ounces ounces whole-grain spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
How to Make It
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, stirring until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, stirring until onions have lightly browned and mushrooms have softened, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add vegetarian ground beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Add tomato sauce to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in Italian seasoning, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes; stir in baby spinach.
Fill 6 shallow bowls with 2 ounces of spaghetti and top with about ¾ cup of sauce. Top each serving with ½ tablespoon fresh basil and ½ tablespoon cheese.
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