Spaghetti Sauce with or without "meat"balls*

 meatballs_exp.jpg

The marinara sauce is modified from Lowfatveganchef.com

The "meat"balls are made from Gimme Lean (brand) 'Ground Beef Style Veggie Protein'

Editor:    "We were surprised to learn that about a third of the calories in store-bought spaghetti sauce come from fat, and loaded with salt.  Salsa is usually fat-free.  We liked this recipe better than "Simple Marinara Sauce" from PCRM's  'The Cancer Project,' maybe because of the tomato paste. 

The "meat"balls are primarily TVP:  textured vegetable protein, i.e. soy protein.  It is a processed food, not as healthy as whole foods, but head and shoulders healthier than ground beef!  Other brands tend to have about one third of calories from fat, with no significant difference in taste, so a brand like 'Gimme Lean' is preferable.  Let us know if you find another low- or no-fat brand that you like!

INGREDIENTS:

1  large onion, diced
5  cloves of garlic, minced
2  24-oz cans of crushed tomatoes, (or three 15-oz cans, which is not quite as much, but also works). 
    (If you use fresh, whole or diced tomatoes you would want to put the sauce in a blender, or use an immersion blender which is easier). 
1  6 oz. can tomato paste
1  Tbsp sugar or sweetener, or to taste
2  tsp dried oregano
3  tsp dried basil
OPTIONAL:  1 or 2 TBSP of white or red wine (generally you'll omit this because it isn't necessary, and not worth the trouble of finding some left-over wine).


Optional "Meat"balls:  'Gimme Lean' Ground Beef Style Veggie Protein (pictured below)
Optional BBQ sauce and maybe hot sauce for the meatballs.


INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large skillet or pot, add the onions and sauté for several minutes until almost translucent.  (If it's a regular pan, i.e. not 'non-stick,' you'll need a little liquid with onions).  Add the garlic and sauté another minute or so. Add the tomatoes and seasonings and simmer for 10 more minutes or so.   The wine is completely optional (we don't usually use it), but if you like you may mix in 1 or 2 TBSP of white or red wine.    

If you're using "meat"balls, the Gimme Lean instructions say to form balls about 1/4," and brown in a pan with a bit of oil.  (Small meatballs tend to absorb the sauce & flavors better than larger ones).   If you want to boost their flavor, toss them with a little Barb-B-Q sauce, then broil them in the oven on aluminum foil, turning several times to get them brown.  You can't fry them in a pan with BBQ sauce which tends to ruin your pan.  Hot-sauce also boosts the flavor, if you like it:  mix some Tobasco into the BBQ sauce before applying it to the balls. 


Serve with pasta

Another variation, whenever you're having pasta is "pasta primavera!"  In other words, throw in a bunch of veggies: steamed or dry-fried.

marinara_sauce_exp.jpggimme_lean_exp.jpg

   Without "meat"balls                                              These "meat"balls are fat-free & taste great.

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published this page in Quick Recipes 2012-01-15 22:34:00 -0500