Have you ever met a person who had a bad thing to say about spaghetti?! For me, spaghetti and meat sauce is one of those comforting dishes that never disappoints. This is my recipe for plant-based Spaghetti & Meat Sauce. It’s savory, sweet, and hearty, and it makes me forget that meat sauce ever came from an animal. I use the word meat here not to describe an animal product, but rather a plant-product which defines the flesh of a plant. I’m going to get some flack for this, but hear me out. In the vegan/plant-based community I see a lot of discussion on verbiage. There is so much energy wasted over discussing the proper way to describe vegan food, or how to categorize vegans vs plant-based followers. It really grinds my gears that so many like-minded people can still find a way to divide themselves and create conflict. In my mind, vegan=plant-based=vegan, and the only way to attract more people to this lifestyle is to embrace inclusivity.The following are some unproductive and mythical concepts I hear far too often in the plant-based world:
- The word vegan doesn’t imply diet, rather it implies a lifestyle of compassion
- Plant-based implies diet alone and not compassion towards animals
- Meat has negative connotations and shouldn’t be used to describe plant-food
- Vegans are extremists with only one agenda – to shame anyone who doesn’t conform to a cruelty-free diet
- Plant-based foodies are not vegans because they emphasize the health and nutrition benefits too much, they should rather focus more on animal rights
So lets set the record straight! If we’re going to get anywhere with this movement, we need to embrace ALL of the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. This compartmentalizing of different types of vegans or plant-based people only divides us and makes it confusing to others who are trying to learn the ropes. I embrace a plant-based lifestyle. Does that mean I’m not a vegan? I care very deeply about animal rights and my choice to live this way is largely driven by my love of animals and my disgust with animal agriculture. But as a healthcare provider, its my duty to provide evidence-based knowledge and interventions to my patients. I have a duty to disseminate information, in this case the health benefits of a plant-based diet. I appreciate the health benefits of my diet every day, and I want to help others learn to feel good in their bodies without having to take medications.
Lastly, the word meat is not synonymous with animal flesh. There is flesh in our fruit, our vegetables, in coconuts, and one could argue in legumes. We need to stop associating the word meat with blood and skeletal muscle. Sure, cow skeletal muscle is meat – its animal meat. The flesh of a mango is plant meat. Nobody flips out over the “skin” of a potato or apple, no different should be the meaty flesh of the same plant. Stop getting angry because someone’s recipe title contains the word meat!
Okay, soapbox rant = over.
Lets get to the recipe! This one is SUPER easy and I swear, your friends and family will flip out when you serve this and probably ask you when you started eating meat again 😛
Spaghetti & Meat Sauce
Time: 30 minutes
- 1-lb whole wheat spaghetti (or any pasta you like)
- 1 package Trader Joe’s Beef-less ground beef
- 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce, I like TJ’s tomato basil
- 1 sweet onion, diced finely
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 leaves fresh basil (optional), for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to boil
- While water is heating, chop onion and garlic, add to a large sauce pan (saute with water, veggie stock, or olive oil) and cook over medium heat until translucent
- Add pasta to boiling water
- Add beef-less ground beef to the onion/garlic mixture, using a spatula to work it into small pieces
- Add tomato sauce, salt and peppers, simmer until bubbling then turn off
- Drain pasta
- Serve sauce over pasta (or traditional style by mixing the sauce and pasta together; if you do this, I recommend adding only half the pasta, to avoid a subpar pasta-sauce ratio).
- Garnish with fresh basil, and fresh ground black pepper
Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!