Nik’s Vegetarian “Meat” Sauce

Sorry about the stove…if I’d know you were coming over… 😉
So I thought it’d be nice, after all the flurry of the
Pledge, to post about…food. Remember when we used to talk about food? Me too!
Let’s start doing that again!
This is a quick one but, as always, there’s a story.
My youngest child has decided to become vegetarian. This is
not the first time she’s done this. She’s never much cared for meat, especially
meat that looks like meat. It bothers
her deeply to think that she’s consuming an animal.
While I’m not vegetarian I respect the fact that she (at 12
years old) came to that decision for herself. But life is not easy for a
vegetarian kid living in a meat consuming household. Very often it was hard to
find that wonderful place in the middle of the Venn diagram that is my oldest
child, a self-proclaimed “meatitarian” and my youngest.

But recently – EUREKA! – I found a ray of hope. Quite to my surprise my oldest likes Boca Burgers. That brings us to
last night, when I wanted to make ONE dinner that feels like dinner. The eldest
had been wanting spaghetti. While I could have made a veggie spaghetti (and
grumbled while the oldest picked out most of the veggies and fed them to our
beloved Basset Hound when she thought I
wasn’t looking), I decided to try to build upon her like of Boca meat by using
Boca crumbles instead of meat.
(NOTE: This isn’t a review for Boca products, but you can
look them up for yourself here.)
Here’s the recipe. After I’ll tell you how it was received.
Nik’s Vegetarian
Spaghetti & “Meat” Sauce
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced (or one heaping tsp of jarred minced
  • 12 oz. Boca crumbles (they come in a 12 oz. bag)
  • 1 jar low-sugar spaghetti sauce (I usually get the most
    basic kind and doctor it up myself, as you’ll see below)
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (or, if you don’t have that but
    have dried basil, the same amount)
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes (less or none if you don’t like
    spicy stuff)

Optional (and had it just been me and The Younger, I would
have used), a variety of colorful diced veggies like zucchini, yellow squash,
red peppers, eggplant, really anything!
Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray, set it over medium
heat and allow it to get hot.
Add onions and peppers (and any other veggies you’re using) and
saute about 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Add the Boca crumbles and stir into the veggie mixture.
Allow it to cook about 3-4 minutes.
Add spaghetti sauce and seasonings and stir. Bring it to a
boil, then drop the heat down to medium-low, allowing it to simmer about 10-15
minutes more. The sauce should be a deeper shade of red when finished.
NOTE: This can be made with whatever ground meat substitute
you like. I am trying to watch my younger daughter’s soy intake to make sure
she doesn’t just eat soy as a meat replacement. I know that’s a concern for some
of you as well.
NOW…I served this to them atop whole-wheat thin spaghetti. I
always eat just the sauce, chili-style, with tons of grated Parmesan on top.
The Elder? She loved it! Interestingly, I didn’t tell her it
was vegetarian. The fact that her sister was eating it should have clued her in
but…14 year-olds are sometimes self-absorbed, so what can we do? I’m just glad I
have a good fall-back dinner everyone can eat!

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