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A Simple Twist on Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Ask the average college student their go-to home-cooked meal, and you’re more than likely to hear spaghetti.  In fact, many people of all ages turn to pasta when it comes to cooking up a quick, cheap meal.  It’s certainly no wonder why spaghetti has become such a favorite comfort food.  In less than ten minutes, pasta with pre-made sauce can be on your plate, and it doesn’t take much to get full off of those carb-loaded noodles.

While pairing pasta with jarred sauce is one of the easiest combos and undoubtedly a college classic, this can quickly get boring.  However, by adding just a few extra ingredients, you can jazz up this standard dish in no time, creating an extra hearty, healthy meal.  The following recipe gives pre-made tomato sauce a twist by adding chewy mushrooms and protein-packed soy crumbles, creating a healthy, vegan-friendly sauce, requiring no more time than what it takes to cook the pasta.

Note:  Choose any brand of tomato sauce of your choice, or make your own.  If I go with a jarred sauce, I usually choose Classico’s Tomato and Basil, which keeps its list of ingredients short, and contains no dairy or sugar.  Also, select the variety of pasta of your preference, but stick to whole wheat to boost fiber and protein.

Pasta with “Meaty” Mushroom Tomato Sauce

-12 oz. whole wheat pasta
-8 oz. button or baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
-1 heaping cup Morning Star soy crumbles
-2 cup favorite pre-made tomato sauce
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-Nutritional yeast, optional

Cook pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.  Add mushrooms, and saute until tender, about 6 minutes.  Stir in sauce and soy crumbles.  Cook another 3-5 minutes, or until sauce is heated all the way through.  Remove from heat.

Spoon sauce over pasta.  Sprinkle nutritional yeast, to taste, on top.