Sometimes, pre-packaged food is a big blessing for home-cooks like us, especially when its dinner time, a toddler is proudly displaying one of its terrible-two tantrums, and you are too tired to even think of what to cook! Yesterday was one such evening, though I have to say it happens a lot with me these days, but this time, I had absolutely nothing planned in my mind, and my pantry failed me too, because there was nothing I could make on the spur. That’s when I resort to my Freezer section, and I noticed half a package of Vegan meatballs that we had bought from Trader Joe’s last week. Out came that package, a box of Spaghetti and Barilla’s Pasta Sauce. Cook the spaghetti, throw in the meatballs and sauce, and you have a meal ready in less than 15 minutes!
This is probably the first time that I used all read-made ingredients for a meal, but hey, it tasted great, even my toddler loved it, was a snap to put together, and it gave me a deserving break from the kitchen without opting for a take-out or restaurant food. So if I have to do this again, I would gladly do it. Except, I would make my own Pasta Sauce, and add some more veggies if possible.
I have to say though, Trader Joe’s Vegan meatballs are fabulous! They do not have any fake meat taste – they are healthy, delicious, and can be added to any meal, even Indian curries, to cook a vegan dish in no time. So if you haven’t tried it yet, find a store close to you and go grab a package. This is a simple and good lunch-box recipe for your school-going kids too !
Spaghetti with Vegan Meatballs
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
1 12 oz package of Spaghetti
10 pieces of frozen packaged Vegan meatballs (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
16 oz can or box of crushed tomatoes or Marinara sauce
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 medium chopped garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper – add to your taste
fresh chopped parsley and parmesan chhese (optional, for garnish0
Cook the Spaghetti per package directions. Remove the frozen meatballs and allow them to thaw.
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and saute until fragrant. now add the chopped onions and let it cook until soft and translucent.
Next add the frozen meatballs and cook for 10 minutes until nicely browned all around and fully cooked.
Add the crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil and then simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Pour the sauce over your cooked spaghetti noodles, garnish with some chopped parsley and some parmesan cheese (or any vegan cheese), if you like and serve immediately.
As I said earlier, this is a healthy, wholesome recipe that takes less than 15 minutes to make, and is a perfect go-to recipe for a busy weeknight. We enjoyed it a lot, and next time, i am going to dress it up a bit by adding some mushrooms, peppers, broccoli and more basil to the sauce. This is also a good lunch-box option for school-going kids, and much more healthier than mac-and-cheese!