Updated: Apr 11, 2022
This is your classic comfort-food spaghetti and meat sauce, but with a few fun tweaks. First, it’s vegan. You can certainly add your favorite meat instead, but you probably won’t notice the difference, so this is a perfect meatless Monday meal. Secondly, pasta is swapped out for spaghetti squash which means way few calories per serving and a whole lot more of your food BFF, fiber (hooray for happy guts and metabolisms. Third, the flavor profile starts with your basic bolognese (carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomato) and elevates them brats instead of beef/veal and with smokey, spicy, and unique harissa and cumin. All told this is the perfect way to jazz up pasta night and feel good about what you’re putting in your body.
I have been reading about harissa for months now and it piqued my curiosity, so I decided to learn how to work with it. It comes as a powdered spice and a paste, the main difference being moisture content. I bought the powder so that’s where my journey with this awesome spice begins, but experimenting with the paste will absolutely be happening in the near future. Pepper, smokey, with hints of garlic and citrus, this spice originally hails from Tunisia and is commonly found in North African and Middle Eastern dishes. It is an instant winner in my book and look forward to playing more with this delicious spice.
If you’ve never worked with spaghetti squash I highly recommend giving it a try, especially if you are looking to up your fiber intake and/or cut down on refined carbs. One cup of spaghetti squash has 42 calories vs 150 for regular pasta and it has fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. It’s a “winter squash” like butternut or acorn, but when it cooks its flesh becomes stringy like pasta. You can steam, boil, or microwave it, but I prefer to cook mine up by roasting it in the oven and then dressing it as you would any type of pasta.
As with most of my recipes, this one will feed a crowd (6 servings) or you all week long. I always aim for making 3 to 4 dishes a week that require minimal time in the kitchen and make it easy to opt for healthy choices all week long. Store this dish in the fridge for up to a week.
Serving: 6 | Easy | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time 1 hour | Active time: 30 minutes
Calories: 257 | Protein 11 g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Carbohydrates: 41 g | Fiber: 7 g | Sugar: 16 g
Sodium: 291 mg | Calcium: 51% | Iron: 12% | Vit. A: 215% | Vit C: 41%
2 lb spaghetti squash
1 tbsp olive oil
4 beyond sausage brats
28 oz crushed tomatoes no salt
1 clove garlic
2 ribs celery
2/3 cup onion
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup vegetable stock no salt
3 tsp harissa powder + ½ tsp
½ tsp cumin + ¼ tsp
1 tbsp dried parsley
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ tsp salt and pepper
½ cup fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the squash in half (short-wise) and remove the seed. Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil and rub it into each half. Sprinkle with ½ tsp each harissa powder and cumin. Place cut-side down on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake until knife tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool until you can hold the squash.
Chop the celery, onion, and carrots into very small dice. Slice mushrooms and brat (use separate board) into bite-sized chunks. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add the sausage. Toss and brown for 5 minutes then add the onions, celery, and carrots. Sweat and stir the vegetables for 3 – 5 more minutes and then add the garlic, mushrooms, tomato paste, and dried spices. Stir and cook for a few more minutes and then add the stock and crushed tomatoes. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to get any brat bits off. Bring to a simmer and then cover and let cook for 10 – 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes and taste for seasoning, adjust as needed. Once the vegetables are soft and seasoning is how you like it, stir in the nutritional yeast.
Using a fork, gently run it around the inside of the squash, creating spaghetti-like strands. Add the squash to the pot and stir all together. Serve with fresh parsley and more nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese if you prefer dairy.
Notes and Variations
Switch out the brats for another protein, use animal brats, Italian sausage, ground turkey or beef, another plant-based ground meat, or even a drained can of beans (if using beans add when you add the tomatoes.
Add additional veggies you love like eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, or broccoli.
Store in the fridge for up to one week.