I’m married to a fish eating “vegetarian,” but my boys (now ages 17 and 20, so technically, young men) love meat. To the rescue are meat-free crumbles, which look and taste like ground beef and work wonders in tacos, sloppy Joe’s, and this Spaghetti Squash with Meat-Free Bolognese Sauce.
My recipe is easy. Slice two spaghetti squash in half and bake until done. (Check out my previous post on How to Roast Spaghetti Squash for tips and tricks.) Once cooked, top with a mix of sautéed shiitake mushrooms—they taste “meaty”—baby spinach, meat-free crumbles, and fresh basil. Pull it all together with pasta sauce and part-skim mozzarella.
There are several meat-free crumbles on the market, and I’ve experimented with all of them. My new favorite is Beyond Meat. I don’t work for this company, but I did receive some product samples about a year ago. I love the flavor and texture of their crumbled Beyond Beef Beefy Crumble, which is made with pea protein, a blend of non-GMO oils, and spices. The grounds are also gluten free.
When I first tried the grounds, I used them in Have-It-Your-Way Tacos, and no one in my family could tell their dinner was meatless.
- Two 1½ to 1¾ pound spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 3 packed cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- One 11-ounce package, meat-free crumbles (I used Beyond Beef)
- ½ packed cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup pasta sauce
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- Carefully trim off the squash stems. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Brush the insides of the hollowed out squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place, hollowed side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
- While the squash is in the oven, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Raise the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and meat-free crumbles and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is thawed and warmed through and the spinach is wilted, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the basil leaves and pasta sauce and heat until warmed through, 1 minute.
- Remove the cooked squash from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Use a fork to shred the cooked squash into spaghetti-like strands. Top each bowl evenly with the meat-free mixture and the cheese. Melt the cheese by heating in the microwave for 35 to 40 seconds or pop the squash back in the oven for a few minutes.
The recipe yields 2¾ cups mixture, which gets divided among the four squash halves.
What’s your favorite way to use meat-free crumbles in everyday recipes?