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How to Sneak More Veggies Into Spaghetti Sauce

Hey everyone! Today, I’ve got a great recipe for you that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner.

(Almost) everyone loves a giant bowl of spaghetti. And I’m not here to take away from you. Sure, eating loads of refined carbohydrates like pasta can lead to a glucose spike that can trigger weight gain. But done the right way, you can definitely work pasta, spaghetti, and other starchy carbs into your diet in a healthful way. I personally don’t eat pasta, rice, or much bread these days. But I realize this is a tad on the unrealistic side for some of you who are recently transitioning to a healthier diet. It took me years (yes, years) to modify my eating habits and eat like this (these days, I get most of my carbs from fruits, veggies, and root veggies/tubers like yams and sweet potatoes). Check out these simple tips and tricks to work pasta and other carbohydrates into your diet.

spaghetti sauce 1 retouched

Tips For Eating Carbs

  • Realize carbs are a treat, not the norm—In a perfect world, you would not be eating loads of carbohydrates on the daily. Fruit with breakfast is one thing. But chicken tikka masala on a giant bed of white basmati rice is another. Limit your higher/starchy carb days to 1-2 meals a week. For some of you, that might mean indulging in pasta for dinner. For others, that might mean starting the day off with a bagel and cream cheese. This is okay to do occasionally, but if you really want results and changes in your body, realize these type of carbs need to be eaten sparingly.
  • Always go for whole grain—I know there’s this huge hype going on about gluten and grains right now. But let’s set that aside for a minute. When you do decide to eat carbs, try to pick whole grain varieties. That means whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and brown rice instead of white rice. All carbs are going to trigger a release of insulin and a potential insulin spike. However, the fiber that’s still intact in many whole grains slows down the release of insulin, leading to not as high of an insulin spike. Thus, if you’re going to go for carbs, pick something whole grain.
  • Try eating half the carbs and double the protein/veggies—This is a trick I use for pasta sauces and spaghetti, chili and rice, etc. Try eating 2/3 or 1/2 the amount of carbohydrate you’d normally eat in a dish like this, but eat more protein and veggies to help you feel full. This is as simple as taking a smaller portion of pasta and adding some extra sauce and veggies (and it works great with today’s recipe). This way, you’ll still feel like you’re participating in the experience of pasta (which you are), but at a fraction of the calories and carbs. This tip always works great in restaurants and when ordering out!

And now, for today’s recipe. This sauce is a great way to sneak veggies. Even if you have children and/or picky eaters in the family, there’s no excuse for not getting enough veggies. Rich in lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron,  and another antioxidants, this spaghetti sauce is simply divine 🙂

Print Recipe
Hearty Protein and Veggie-Rich Meatsauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
Instructions
  1. In a large pot/dutch oven, sautee the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery in the olive oil for 5-10 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and let simmer until carrots and celery are tender. Blend this mixture in a high speed blender or Vitamix until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In the same dutch oven. brown the meat until no longer pink. Add the other can of tomatoes (crushed tomatoes) and the blended mixture you just made. Add spices and bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes, then allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms and bell pepper. Feel free to season with additional salt, pepper, Italian spices, crushed red pepper flakes, etc. to your tasting. Let the sauce simmer at least another 15 minutes before serving.
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