Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spaghetti with Italian Vegetable Sauce

As part of my weight-loss effort, I have decided to have two vegetarian days a week - just to cut out some more fat in my diet. After the first day of eating no meat, I was completely satisfied with all my meals and was not craving a chunk of cow. The recipes I had were delicious and I am looking forward to these weekly challenges. :)

This Spaghetti with Italian Vegetable Sauce was the first vegetarian dinner I made for us. I added cheese to the top of ours, but it didn't add anything special - so just leave that off. (For everyone that knows me, I will wait for you to come to, since you are probably passed out on the ground - had fainted from the shock of me saying to NOT add cheese to a dish.) ;)

This recipe is unbelievably good. I don't mean that it is unbelievably good for being a vegetarian dish - I just mean that it is unbelievably good, period. We also had sauteed baby portobellos and bread-sticks on the side, which turned out to be the perfect complement to this main dish. This recipe can be used with different greens, herbs and peppers, so be creative!

I am going to have to 'fess up here, the secret ingredient that makes this recipe so easy to make is bottled Italian dressing. I used Kraft Vinaigrette made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It was my first time trying this dressing, which I bought to see if the EVOO made a difference in the taste, and I am pleased to say it does have a lightness in flavor that is different than the regular version made with vegetable oil. Any type of bottle dressing would probably work - just don't take my word for it. ;)

I decided to use Red Bell Peppers and Red Onions (I am one of those people that call it a purple onion, afterall, it is purple...). I diced up 1 small Red Bell Pepper and 1 Red Onion.

Next I added 1/4 cup of the Italian dressing to a skillet and warmed up on medium-high heat for a couple minutes.

Then added the bell peppers, onions and minced garlic for about 5 minutes until veggies were crisp-tender.

Then I added about 10 ounces of fresh spinach and stirred until leaves were starting to wilt, removed from heat...

Then I pu the Italian dressing mixture into a blender along with a cup of fresh basil leaves, an additional 1/4 cup Italian Dressing and 4oz cream cheese..

This is what mine looked like. Don't be fooled by appearances, this is scrumptious stuff right here!

Toss with 1 lb. cooked spaghetti noodles and enjoy immediately. I tried some the next day as leftovers and it just wasn't as creamy when re-heated. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Italian Vegetable Sauce
1 lb spaghetti, cooked
½ cup Italian dressing,
1 small red onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz. spinach leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1. In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add Italian dressing and warm for a couple minutes.
2. Add red onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender
3. Add spinach and stir until leaves are beginning to wilt - just a matter of seconds
4. Put mixture into blender, add basil leaves and pulse until blended
5. Combine vegetable mixture with cooked spaghetti
Serve while still warm and enjoy!


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