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Prep 5 mins
Cook 1 hr
Tastes a lot like Chef Boyardee canned mearty pasta. Only much better, and entirely vegetarian (if you can find veggie mushroom gravy mix; Kroger carries it in Mississippi) with a vegan option that I didn't like quite as much as the cheesy version but was still pretty tasty. I came up with it in an effort to make pasta while lacking the technology to boil a pot of water but having an oven handy. I've been making it for almost two years and it has turned out awesomely tasty every time. There are many variations to match what you have on hand but if you want a large batch of handy, healthy brown-bag lunches--what I always make it for--it's worth a special shopping trip. And you don't have to pre-boil the pasta. At all. And it keeps tastily for at least a week in the fridge.
- 1 1⁄2 cups textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 0.5 (7/8 ounce) packet mushroom gravy mix, similar flavoring packets can be substituted or 0.5 (7/8 ounce) packetmexican taco seasoning, enchilada seasoning also works
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 (14 ounce) box spaghetti noodles (If your box is larger, just remove a small amount(about as big around as the average thumb)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 -2 cup shredded cheese, to taste (optional)
- 1 cup hot water, plus enough water to fill medium-size casserole dish
- 26 ounces tomato sauce, of your favorite variety
- Rehydrate TVP, first adding mushroom gravy mix and/or taco seasoning, then oil, then 1 cup hot water.
- In greased medium-size casserole dish layer (in this order from bottom up) cheese (opt.), TVP 'meat', onions, dry noodles, and tomato sauce until out of layering material; top with cheese.
- Fill empty tomato sauce jar with water and pour over other ingredients; carefully wiggle a knife around in it to make sure the water gets to the bottom (but do not stir as the layers contribute to the goodness).
- Bake at 425 F for about one hour (a few minutes less or more never seems to hurt it).
- Serve with grated Parmesan for extra goodness.
The pasta was perfectly cooked, BUT, it absorbed all of the liquid, leaving no sauce. I added an additional, small can of tomato sauce on top just before serving, which helped a little...but I still wish it were saucier, like Chef Boyardee. It needs salt, too. Also, the recipe calls for a "medium-sized casserole dish," which I took to mean a 2-quart rectangle dish, but I think actually means a 9x13-inch dish. It tastes SORT OF similar to Chef Boyardee, but not enough to be named after it. Anyway, I won't make this again, but I'm glad to have at least tried it.