I grew up eating spaghetti. My mom always made it with spaghetti noodles, ground beef, and jarred sauce. I have several variations of gluten free spaghetti around here, and my husband and I have a different favorite. He likes his with sausage added, and I like mine with veggies added. To me it’s like having comfort food mixed with healthy veggies. For my variation I use carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini, which are all some of my favorites!
In my opinion you can never have too many mushrooms! They’re perfect in pastas, soups, salads, you name it! I used to hate them and be terrified of them (what kid isn’t?)! But one day when I was a teenager my dad forced me to try one that he had sautéed in butter. LIFE. CHANGED. I’ve been officially a convert to mushroom love ever since. I might make that a hashtag for this delicious pasta.
Note: my husband gets super mad when I call this spaghetti haha. He says that you shouldn’t call it that unless it actually has spaghetti noodles. As someone living the gluten free life, you’ll understand that spaghetti noodles are a bit of a headache. While they may taste good, many of them fall apart into bite sized pieces after they’ve been cooked. Great for kids, not ideal for swirling noodles around a fork. My kids have been all about this movie lately (Disney animation was spot on in the 50’s!) so I was inspired to add these little spaghetti sharing love birds.
You’re going to use the slow cooker for the majority of this recipe, cause this busy mom loves anything I can set and go. I also love this because it happens in 4 hours so if you’ve forgotten to think about dinner until lunchtime, you’ll still have a home cooked healthy meal. To start let’s get those vegetables softened up. Add the carrots, mushrooms, garlic, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to your slow cooker, turn on HIGH, and cook for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, your house should be smelling delicious. My daughter wandered into the kitchen after 30 minutes and said, “something smells gooooood.” High praise coming from a picky 4 year old that lives on cheese sticks and applesauce. Back to our sauce. When I first started making this I added the zucchini at the beginning. The result was perfectly cooked carrots but pulverized zucchini. The difference in their texture requires a difference in cook time. While I’m chopping my zucchini I start browning the ground meat. Both get added to the slow cooker along with tomato paste. Move the cooker to LOW and let it simmer for another hour.
During this time cook up your favorite pasta. I’m working on a comparison review post for several different brands of gluten free pasta. For now, my favorite is the brown rice and quinoa blends from Aldi. I really like Fusilli with this sauce because it makes it fun (maybe I’m just silly, but I love the spirals!). Cooking tip for gluten free pasta: follow the directions exactly on the package, and cook it on the shortest time. When the sauce is done, I simply add it to the cooked pasta, so I can store it in the refrigerator in one container for leftovers. Gotta keep it simple over here! Garnish with some parsley and shredded Parmesan and voila: veggie “spaghetti”…or for my husband, Meat and Veggie Marinara Fusilli.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!
- 4 medium carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 16 oz mushrooms sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1-15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 large zucchini chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1-6 oz can tomato paste
Add chopped carrots, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to slow cooker. Turn on HI and cook for 3 hours.
Add zucchini to slow cooker and stir.
Cook ground beef over medium high heat until there is no pink. Drain off grease.
Add ground beef and tomato paste to slow cooker.
Continue cooking on LOW for 1 hour.
Serve with your favorite gluten free pasta, top with parsley and shredded cheese.