Pesto Spaghetti

Here’s the trick to getting the creamiest pesto spaghetti evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner. It’s late summer and our basil plant is massive. We’ve got pesto coming out of our ears over here. The best way to make this tasty sauce into a fast and easy dinner? Pesto spaghetti! It’s herby, Parmesan-y, garlicky and always a crowd pleaser. We’ll show you the trick to getting a silky sauce covering all your noodles: no more gummy, dry pesto here! Serve them as is, or top with veggies or shrimp for a fast and easy dinner. Here’s what you need to know to make the best spaghetti pesto around! Another idea? Try our Easy Pesto Cream Sauce. How to get the best pesto coverage: pasta water! Here’s the thing. You can make spaghetti pesto by simply mixing pesto with spaghetti. Ever done this and ended up with dry, gummy pasta? It’s a problem. The nuts and the cheese in the thick pesto sauce cling to the noodles if you don’t give them a little help. Here’s what to do to make the pesto perfectly coat the noodles: Add pasta water! […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s the trick to getting the creamiest pesto spaghetti evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner.

Spaghetti pesto

It’s late summer and our basil plant is massive. We’ve got pesto coming out of our ears over here. The best way to make this tasty sauce into a fast and easy dinner? Pesto spaghetti! It’s herby, Parmesan-y, garlicky and always a crowd pleaser. We’ll show you the trick to getting a silky sauce covering all your noodles: no more gummy, dry pesto here! Serve them as is, or top with veggies or shrimp for a fast and easy dinner. Here’s what you need to know to make the best spaghetti pesto around!

Another idea? Try our Easy Pesto Cream Sauce.

How to get the best pesto coverage: pasta water!

Here’s the thing. You can make spaghetti pesto by simply mixing pesto with spaghetti. Ever done this and ended up with dry, gummy pasta? It’s a problem. The nuts and the cheese in the thick pesto sauce cling to the noodles if you don’t give them a little help. Here’s what to do to make the pesto perfectly coat the noodles:

  • Add pasta water! This is a common Italian technique for cooking pasta. You’ll add cheese and then toss it with the pasta water to create a quick sauce. The starchy pasta water makes the perfect thick and creamy sauce. Same goes for pesto! Start with 1/2 cup pasta water, then add more as necessary until the noodles are slick.
  • Toss the noodles and pesto in a bowl: not the pasta pot. The pasta pot is still hot from cooking the pasta. So it can turn the basil brown and stick to the bottom of the pot. So toss the noodles and pesto together in a bowl: it works much better (we picked up that method here).
How to make spaghetti pesto

Spaghetti pesto is best with homemade pesto

It goes without saying that spaghetti pesto tastes the best with homemade pesto. The flavor here is beautifully fresh: and our pesto recipe has lemon for just the right zing! But we get it: basil isn’t always available. If you’re going storebought, go to the next section. But if you do have basil on hand, here are some things to know:

  • Make pesto with any nut you like. Pine nuts, the traditional nut in pesto, can be expensive and hard to find. So you can easily use cashews or walnuts! Here are our best pesto recipes using all three: Basil Pesto, Cashew Pesto, or Walnut Pesto.
  • You can make vegan pesto, too. Nix the Parmesan and you’ve got a dairy-free pesto! Try this Vegan Pesto that uses a secret ingredient.
  • There’s also a nut free option. This Basil Sauce has no nuts or cheese!It’s so oily on its own you don’t need to add pasta water, skip that step if using this one.
Basil pesto

Or, use best quality purchased pesto!

To make this spaghetti pesto an easy weeknight meal, just use storebought pesto! It’s easy to find, but there are a few things to know about purchased pesto:

  • The quality of brands varies greatly: so experiment! All brands vary quite a bit in flavor: some are light and fresh, others can taste stale or dull. Make sure to experiment to find one you like.
  • The salt quantity also varies, so adjust the added salt as needed. After tossing the pesto and spaghetti, add additional salt to taste. With homemade pesto we added 1/4 teaspoon salt, but we change it when we’re using a purchased pesto brand.
Spaghetti pesto

Variations on spaghetti pesto

Once you’ve made your pesto spaghetti, there are lots of tasty adders to make it an even tastier meal. Add other vegetables or proteins to customize your pasta: or different pasta shapes!. Here are a few ideas for how to switch it up:

  • Use different pasta — like bucatini or penne. Bucataini is like hollow spaghetti, and it’s our favorite type of pasta. Or use a short-cut shape like penne, cavatappi or bowties.
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes. Slice them up and they add a beautiful color.
  • Tomatoes & fresh mozzarella chunks. Makes anything better.
  • Raw thin sliced zucchini. It adds a nice crunch!
  • Roasted red peppers. Another easy addition.
  • Shrimp. Try it with Pesto Shrimp to make a full meal.
  • Scallops. Make a fancy meal by adding Pan Seared Scallops.
Spaghetti pesto

Make it a meal: what to serve with pesto pasta

What to serve with spaghetti pesto? This is an especially good question if you’re making this as a vegan or vegetarian dinner idea. It’s important to integrate a source of plant-based protein so that the meal is filling. Here are some options for what to serve as a side dish with pesto pasta:

This spaghetti pesto recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, use Vegan Pesto. For gluten-free, try gluten free or legume-based pasta.

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Spaghetti pesto

Spaghetti Pesto


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s the trick to getting the creamiest pesto spaghetti evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner.


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini pasta
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup basil pesto*
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves, to garnish (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes). Just before draining, reserve 1 cup pasta water! Then drain the pasta.
  2. Place the pasta in a bowl (not the pasta pot). Stir together the pasta, pesto, and 1/2 cup pasta water, tossing with tongs until the pesto is well distributed and the pasta water forms a creamy sauce. Add more pasta water if desired. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and taste. If the flavor doesn’t pop, add a few more pinches until it does (the salt content in purchased pesto brands varies, as well as the amount of salt you used in the pasta water). Serve immediately.
  3. Store any leftovers refrigerated: note that pesto can get gummy when reheated, so it’s best to eat leftovers cold or room temp.

Notes

*This spaghetti pesto tastes best with homemade pesto! If fresh basil is not available, use your best quality store brand. Brands vary widely especially in salt content, so adjust salt to taste.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Pesto spaghetti, spaghetti pesto pasta

More recipes with pesto

There are so many great ways to use pesto! Try these pesto recipes:

  • Pesto Pizza Full of big flavor! Top with mozzarella and thin sliced tomatoes and dinner is serve.
  • Pesto Mac and Cheese A swirl of basil pesto brings so much flavor to this classic comfort food! This one features Havarti cheese for ultra creaminess.
  • Pesto Aioli This pesto aioli is full of incredible basil and Parmesan flavor! Use it for dipping French fries or to slather on a burger or sandwich.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Pasta Carbonara

My favorite recipe for authentic Italian pasta carbonara that’s easy to make, full of the richest flavors, and made with four basic ingredients. A few months ago while I was in Valencia doing a two-week Spanish language intensive, I became good buddies with my fellow classmate, Alessio, who proudly hailed from Rome.  He and I […]

My favorite recipe for authentic Italian pasta carbonara that’s easy to make, full of the richest flavors, and made with four basic ingredients.

Pasta Carbonara

A few months ago while I was in Valencia doing a two-week Spanish language intensive, I became good buddies with my fellow classmate, Alessio, who proudly hailed from Rome.  He and I instantly connected over a shared obsession with his hometown’s famous cuisine (he was so delighted that I was a fan!) and had a blast chatting each day about our favorite dishes, and tips for how to authentically make them, and where in Rome to find the best so-and-so.  But the joke amongst our classmates was that not a single day could pass without one of us somehow bringing the group conversation back around to one Roman dish in particular…

pasta alla carbonara. ♡

Now, lol, I may have gravely disappointed Alessio when he asked my opinion about pineapple on pizza.  (“Have to admit — I love it.” / “Noooooo, Ali — no pineapple on pizza ever!”)  But I did earn a bit of Roman cuisine street cred when he asked how I make my carbonara.  (“Eggs, pasta, guanciale and Pecorino Romano — no cream.” / “Yesss, that is correct!”)

According to Alessio, the greatest tragedy of this Roman dish being exported around the world has been the addition of cream.  It’s often used as shortcut to make the sauce extra creamy, but it is actually completely unnecessary.  When made properly, the eggs in carbonara should melt with the starchy water and cheese to create a creamy, silky, luxurious sauce all on their own.  Then when combined with chewy al dente pasta, lots of guanciale (or bacon), and a generous crack of black pepper — I mean, does Italian comfort food get any better than this?!

I think not.  We’d better make some.

(more…)

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Y’all know I’m obsessed with meatballs, right? They’re just so easy, delicious, and something that I’m always in the mood for. So, when I got an unexpected pound of ground chicken in my Instacart order a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what to do with it—Chicken Parmesan Meatballs! While ground chicken isn’t my […]

The post Chicken Parmesan Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Y’all know I’m obsessed with meatballs, right? They’re just so easy, delicious, and something that I’m always in the mood for. So, when I got an unexpected pound of ground chicken in my Instacart order a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what to do with it—Chicken Parmesan Meatballs! While ground chicken isn’t my favorite, you can never go wrong with a meatball. Plenty of Parmesan and a few simple herbs and spices turned that lack luster ground chicken into something totally crave-worthy. Meatballs for the win!

And don’t worry, even though I did not actually order the ground chicken, I still paid for it. ;)

Simple Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and Pasta

A bowl of spaghetti with sauce and chicken parmesan meatballs, a black fork twirled in the pasta on the side.

The recipe for these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs is one that you’ll want to memorize. It’s just a really good, simple, basic meatball that you can use with any ground meat that you have on hand. 

Can I Bake the Meatballs?

Yes, if you prefer to make the meatballs in the oven instead of a skillet, simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165ºF. Do keep in mind that baked meatballs will not achieve the nice browning on the outside that you get with cooking in a skillet. The browned surface does provide additional flavor.

Can I Freeze the Chicken Meatballs?

Yes, you can freeze the meatballs either cooked or uncooked. Either way, freeze the meatballs on a lined baking sheet first to prevent them from sticking together. Then, once frozen solid, transfer to a zip top freezer bag for long term storage (about 3 months).

To cook meatballs that were frozen raw, let the meatballs thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then cook in a skillet just as directed below.

To cook meatballs that are frozen after cooking, simply drop them into a pot of hot pasta sauce directly from the freezer, and allow them to heat through in the sauce.

Can I Use a Different Kind of Ground Meat?

Yes. This mixture of Parmesan and herbs is so versatile that it goes great with just about any type of ground meat. Try it with pork, turkey, or even beef.

Two chicken Parmesan meatballs on a wooden spoon held above the pot of sauce.

 
Close up side view of chicken Parmesan meatballs on a pile of spaghetti with sauce
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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

This simple recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatballs is an easy weeknight dinner win! Swap out any ground meat you have for a quick and delicious dinner.
Total Cost $7.57 recipe / $1.89 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 5 meatballs each
Calories 728.83kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

  • ½ cup breadcrumbs $0.13
  • cup ground Parmesan $0.59
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 lb. ground chicken $3.29
  • 1 large egg $0.23
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08

For Serving

  • 12 oz. pasta $1.00
  • 1 24oz. jar pasta sauce $2.09

Instructions

  • Combine the breadcrumbs and seasoning first. In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the ground chicken to a large bowl, then add the seasoned breadcrumb mixture and the egg. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until evenly mixed.
  • Shape the meat mixture into meatballs, about 1-1.5 Tbsp each. You should get around 20 meatballs.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot and the oil is shimmering, add half of the meatballs. Cook the meatballs about one minute on each side, until all six sides are browned and the meatballs are cooked through. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a clean plate. Add the second tablespoon of cooking oil to the skillet and cook the second batch of meatballs in the same manner.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, begin the pasta and sauce. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander. Add the sauce to a medium sauce pot and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  • Once all the meatballs are finished cooking, add them to the pot of heated pasta sauce and stir to coat. If needed, allow them to heat for a few minutes in the sauce.
  • Serve the cooked and drained pasta topped with sauce and meatballs.

Notes

If you prefer to make your own pasta sauce, try my 5-Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 728.83kcal | Carbohydrates: 88.25g | Protein: 38.75g | Fat: 23.63g | Sodium: 1259.88mg | Fiber: 6.48g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

More Meatball Recipes

Do you love meatballs as much as me? Try these other meatball recipes:

Close up side view of chicken Parmesan meatballs on a pile of spaghetti with sauce

How to Make Chicken Parmesan Meatballs – Step by Step Photos

Breadcrumbs Parmesan and herbs in a bowl

First mix the dry ingredients for the meatballs. In a bowl, stir together ½ cup breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Ground chicken, egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs in a bowl

Next, add 1 lb. ground chicken, 1 large egg, and the seasoned breadcrumb mixture to a bowl.

Mixed chicken meatball mixture

Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they are evenly mixed.

Shaped chicken meatballs on an orange plastic cutting board

Shape the chicken mixture into meatballs, about 1 to 1.5 Tbsp each, or about 20 meatballs.

Cooked meatballs in a skillet

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet is hot and the oil is shimmering, add half of the meatballs. Cook the meatballs for about one minute on each side, until all six sides are well browned and the meatballs are cooked through. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a clean plate, add another tablespoon of oil, and cook the second batch of meatballs in the same manner.

Cooked meatballs in a bowl

While the meatballs are cooking, begin the pasta and sauce. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander. Add the sauce to a medium sauce pot and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Cooked meatballs added to pot of pasta sauce

Add the cooked meatballs to the heated sauce and stir to combine. If needed, let the meatballs heat for a few minutes in the sauce.

A bowl full of spaghetti with sauce and Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, with a fork in the side.

Serve the cooked and drained pasta with sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!

The post Chicken Parmesan Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Roasted Eggplant Pasta

This eggplant pasta is flavor-packed with roasted eggplant & zesty marinara sauce! An impressive plant based dinner, it works for weeknights or parties. Meet your new favorite dinner recipe. Yes, this eggplant pasta has got it all! It’s packed with savory and zesty flavor: tender roasted eggplant, zesty marinara sauce, and peppery basil. It’s 100% plant-based, but lacking nothing in the flavor department. Even better, this Mediterranean-style dinner is incredibly versatile: it works for weeknights and for serving to company! (Like your favorite jeans that work for going out or staying in, right?) There’s something about it that’s cozy but elegant at the same time. Curl up with your honey and make it on an evening in…or serve it on a big platter as a family dinner! First, you’ll make roasted eggplant. The first time we made this roasted eggplant, I took one bite and shouted “Wow!” (We love recipes like that.) I expected it to be good, but not that good. Roasting eggplant breaks it down into silky, savory tender goodness. Even with no flavoring, it tasted incredible. We dressed it up with a little grated garlic and chopped basil to take it over the top. You can serve […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This eggplant pasta is flavor-packed with roasted eggplant & zesty marinara sauce! An impressive plant based dinner, it works for weeknights or parties.

Eggplant pasta

Meet your new favorite dinner recipe. Yes, this eggplant pasta has got it all! It’s packed with savory and zesty flavor: tender roasted eggplant, zesty marinara sauce, and peppery basil. It’s 100% plant-based, but lacking nothing in the flavor department. Even better, this Mediterranean-style dinner is incredibly versatile: it works for weeknights and for serving to company! (Like your favorite jeans that work for going out or staying in, right?) There’s something about it that’s cozy but elegant at the same time. Curl up with your honey and make it on an evening in…or serve it on a big platter as a family dinner!

Roasted eggplant

First, you’ll make roasted eggplant.

The first time we made this roasted eggplant, I took one bite and shouted “Wow!” (We love recipes like that.) I expected it to be good, but not that good. Roasting eggplant breaks it down into silky, savory tender goodness. Even with no flavoring, it tasted incredible. We dressed it up with a little grated garlic and chopped basil to take it over the top. You can serve this as a side dish, but it was so good we had to make it into this eggplant pasta. Here’s how to make Roasted Eggplant:

  • Chop: Cut 2 eggplants into 1-inch diced pieces.
  • Mix with olive oil and salt: Mix with 1/4 cup olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix it right as soon as the oil hits its flesh.
  • Roast at 425 degrees: Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes until the eggplant is browned and tender. Because eggplant has so much water, it will deflate quite a bit. The roasted pieces come out much smaller!
Eggplant pasta

No salting and draining for this eggplant pasta! Phew.

Many eggplant recipes call for letting the eggplant drain with salt on it for 1 hour to extract some of the bitterness from the eggplant. If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered: is this extra step really necessary?

You’re in luck: it’s not! According to Epicurious, salting eggplant used to be conventional practice with eggplants years ago because they were more bitter. Today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter, so there’s no need to waste an hour salting the eggplant. Now we know!

Easy marinara sauce

While it’s roasting, make the marinara.

This eggplant pasta is all about components. Roast the eggplant, make the marinara, boil pasta, and then stir them all together. Voila: dinner! The nice part about the component approach is it teaches you how to make 3 different things: roasted eggplant, marinara sauce, and eggplant pasta. You can serve the roasted eggplant as a side dish, or use the marinara as a pasta sauce in many other dishes.

This recipe stars our Easy Marinara recipe, which we designed to be quick and ultra flavorful. Here are the key elements to the sauce:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes: The flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes is sweet and mild, and they require less cooking than other canned varieties. (If you can’t find them, use the best quality canned tomatoes you can find.)
  • Garlic powder: As a shortcut to fresh garlic, this sauce uses garlic powder so you don’t have to dirty a knife. It melds in perfectly and adds great flavor.
  • Fresh basil: Fresh basil makes everything taste better! If you’re not growing it in your garden, look for it near the other fresh herbs in the grocery.
  • Balsamic vinegar: A hint of balsamic vinegar rounds out the flavor: it makes a subtle but important difference!
Mafaldine pasta

Cook this eggplant pasta to al dente. Please!

You absolutely must cook the pasta for this eggplant pasta to al dente. A lot of home cooks mess this up, resulting in limp pasta. What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite.” It refers to pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Here are our tips on how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check pasta continually for doneness.
  • As soon as the pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, drain it! Even a few seconds can be the difference between al dente and limp noodles.

What type of pasta to use?

Honestly, you can use any type of noodle for this eggplant pasta! It works with any type of long or short noodles. The noodles we used are a fancy noodle called mafaldine that we found at our local grocery. Mafaldine pasta is a ribbon-shaped pasta with wavy edges on both sides, almost like a long and thin lasagna noodle. But really any noodle works! Here are some options:

  • Long pasta shapes: Spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, bucatini, pappardelle, mafaldine
  • Short pasta shapes: Penne, rigatoni, shells, campanelle, fussili, spirali, radiatore, orechiette, farfalle, rotini, gemelli
Capers

The final flavor secret: capers!

The last thing you need to know about this eggplant pasta: capers add the final flair! What are capers? Capers are a berry of the caper bush that’s native to the Mediterranean. They’re round and dark green gray, about the size of a peppercorn.  You’ll find them in Italian and Mediterranean recipes, most well known in chicken piccata. They’re served pickled, and you’ll find them in jars near the olives.

What’s so great about capers? They taste tangy, briny and salty, and add big flavor to any dish. Since this is a vegan pasta dish, instead of adding Parmesan cheese for salty savory flavor, we’ve added capers. If you’ve never cooked with them, prepare to fall in love.

Eggplant pasta

This eggplant pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian, plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

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Eggplant pasta

Roasted Eggplant Pasta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

This eggplant pasta is flavor-packed with roasted eggplant & zesty marinara sauce! An impressive plant based dinner, it works for weeknights or parties.


Ingredients

For the roasted eggplant

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium to large eggplants (about 2 pounds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the pasta

  • 1 recipe Easy Marinara Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 pound long pasta noodles: spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine (gluten-free as desired)*
  • Fresh basil, to garnish (leftover from the marinara recipe)
  • Optional: Add grated smoked mozzarella or Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the eggplant: Cut the eggplant into 1-inch chunks. Quickly mix with olive oil and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (the eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix as soon as you add it). Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until browned and very tender, gently stirring the sheet at about the 25 minute mark.
  3. Make the marinara sauce: Meanwhile, make the Easy Marinara Sauce. Let it simmer covered until the eggplant is done.
  4. Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  5. Season the eggplant: When the eggplant is done, remove it from the oven and gently toss with the garlic and herbs, making sure to spread out any chunks of garlic that stick together. The eggplant will be very tender so handle it gently.
  6. Serve: Add the drained capers to the marinara sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix to combine. To serve, add noodles to a plate, then top with roasted eggplant and finely chopped basil. (If you’d like, you can add cheese: but it’s not necessary for flavor!)

Notes

*Here we used a fancy long pasta called mafaldine we found at our local grocery. You also can use any short pasta shape: it’s just as good!

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Eggplant pasta

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Spaghetti.

Meet one of the loves of my life: chicken parmesan meatballs. That’s saying a lot because we have chicken AND tomato sauce here. Perhaps I should say newer loves of my life. Newer as in… the last few years. I still don’t LOVE tons of tomato sauce. And as you’ll see here, I like to […]

The post Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Spaghetti. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Meet one of the loves of my life: chicken parmesan meatballs.

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

That’s saying a lot because we have chicken AND tomato sauce here. Perhaps I should say newer loves of my life. Newer as in… the last few years.

chicken meatball mix

I still don’t LOVE tons of tomato sauce. And as you’ll see here, I like to bake my meatballs in a thin layer of sauce, so that sauce thickens even more and gets almost caramelized in a baking dish! In the recipe below, I suggest adding a second jar of sauce if you LOVE sauce. And I’m guessing that most of you will. 

I’m always the odd man out in my lack of love for tomato sauce. 

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

If you’re a longtime reader, then you’ll remember that I love to serve something tomato-sauce based in December. It’s comforting, but not like the holiday flavors and food we eat at parties. I’ve done a meat lovers pizza, slow cooker short rib sauce and lasagna bolognese just to name a few. 

They make for the best December meals!

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

So the chicken parmesan meatballs.

Let’s talk. 

Take some ground chicken and mix in a bunch of herbs. An egg, a bread crumb shower, some seasonings and lots of parmesan cheese. I like it finely grated so it flavors the chicken but doesn’t come seeping out of all the meatballs while you bake them.

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

Oh yeah! That’s another thing. These are baked! You can bake them on a baking sheet by themselves. You can stick them in a baking dish and cover them with sauce and do it that way.

And the best part is that you can make these ahead of time AND freeze them.

First, you can make them ahead of time and cook them and the leftovers are fab.

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

But to freeze, this is one of my go-tos. I have a recipe for perfect freezer meatballs in Seriously Delish and they are a lifesaver. 

Make the meatballs and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flash freeze them for 30 minutes or so, then stick them in a resealable bag (I love stasher bags!) and toss them in the freezer. 

When you’re ready to cook, I suggest throwing them in a slow cooker with lots of sauce and heating on low for eight hours or so. Everyone LOVES them. SO easy.

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

Guess what we’re going to serve these on? A bed of roasted garlic spaghetti. OHHH YES.

Roast a few heads of garlic until caramely. Make a pound of whole wheat spaghetti and toss it with olive oil, parmesan and the golden cloves. It’s not a saucy pasta, but that thickened tomato sauce from the meatballs adds a ton of flavor.

I don’t know what is better!

But together? This meal is insane.

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Spaghetti

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • Olive oil for drizzling the garlic and spaghetti
  • 1 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 large egg, (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, (plus extra for topping)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons fresh herbs, (like basil, parsley, thyme, oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup of freshly grated mozzarella/provolone cheese
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 2 24 ounce jar(s) of your favorite marinara sauce (add a second jar if you LOVE sauce)
  • fresh basil for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Slice off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal the cloves. Lightly rub back and forth to remove the paper on the sides and peel any excess paper off. Drizzle about a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil on top the garlic cloves. Wrap the garlic head up in foil and place it on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes. You can stick it in the oven now and then keep it in there while you bake the meatballs!
  3. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (or a large baking sheet) with nonstick spray.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, egg, olive oil, garlic, parmesan, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Gently combine the mixture (don’t overmix!) until it’s combined. Roll the mixture into meatballs about 1-inch in diameter. If you wet your hands slightly, it helps to roll the meatballs!
  5. Add half of the jar of tomato sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish (or a baking sheet, or oven-safe skillet). Place the meatballs in the sauce, about 1-inch apart.
  6. Place the meatballs in the baking dish. Cover each meatball with a bit more sauce and top with the grated mozzarella or provolone.
  7. Bake the meatballs for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center of the meatballs reach 165 degrees F.
  8. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti in salted water as the directions call for, then place it in a large pot or bowl. Drizzle to 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the garlic cloves have finished roasted and they are caramely, squeeze the cloves out of the paper and into the spaghetti. You can gently mash them with a fork if you wish. Stir in the ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Serve with the meatballs once they are finished!
  9. You can also top the meatballs with extra sauce if you’d like, extra parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
  10. To make fully and freeze: prepare the meatballs as instructed, then let them cool completely. Place them in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  11. To prepare and freeze: make the meatballs and roll them into balls. Place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Flash freeze (stick it in the freezer, uncovered) for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove the meatballs and stick them in a resealable bag. To cook, place them in a pot or slow cooker and cover with sauce. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours until cooked through!

Chicken parmesan meatballs are baked and super flavorful! Serve with roasted garlic spaghetti for the best dinner ever! You can make them ahead of time too!

Gimme the garlic bread.

The post Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Spaghetti. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main […]

The post Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main and two sides. Ammiright? So, to make dinner a little easier, I give you Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli!

Quick & Easy Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Two black plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and broccoli next to the pan and a bowl of sliced green onions.

What is Oyster Sauce?

This recipe revolves around one ingredient—oyster sauce. It’s a thick, rich, salty sauce that packs a huge umami punch. But don’t worry, this sauce doesn’t taste fishy at all. It’s just salty, rich, and good. You can find oyster sauce in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, near the other Southeast Asian ingredients. It’s usually fairy inexpensive, but you’ll be able to get an even better deal if you go to an Asian market. Scroll down to the step by step photos below the recipe to see the kind of oyster sauce I used.

Can I use Hoisin Sauce Instead?

I’ve had several people comment on my original Garlic Noodles recipe stating that they have used hoisin sauce in place of the oyster sauce and enjoyed the results, but I have not tried this swap myself. While the two sauces are similar in color and consistency, they differ quite a bit in flavor. Hoisin sauce is much sweeter and not nearly as rich, so your end results will definitely be different.

Can I Freeze Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli?

I wouldn’t suggest this dish for freezing, as the sauce would probably absorb into the noodles and become dry.

Is This Recipe Spicy?

No. The Garlic Noodles themselves are not spicy at all (I often suggest them as a non-spicy alternative to my Dragon Noodles), but if you top them with red pepper flakes, as I did, you will get some heat. If you prefer a totally non-spicy dish, simply skip the crushed red pepper flakes at the end.

Close up of a fork twirling some Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli on a black plate

 

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli is a quick and easy all-in-one bowl dinner recipe with a rich, buttery, salty, and sweet sauce.

  • 4 Tbsp oyster sauce ($0.40)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.12)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil* ($0.30)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef ($2.65)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets ($1.30)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti ($0.55)
  • 4 green onions ($0.40)
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes ($0.05)
  1. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl (microwave for about 20 seconds) then add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir to combine, then set the sauce aside.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the spaghetti is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

  3. While the spaghetti is cooking, begin the beef and broccoli. Add the remaining tablespoon butter to a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to cook over medium heat until the beef is cooked through (5-7 minutes). If you're using a higher fat content beef, drain the fat before moving onto the next step (I used 10% fat and there wasn't enough to drain).

  4. While the beef is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the browned beef and continue to cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes more, or until the garlic has softened slightly.

  5. Add the frozen broccoli florets to the skillet with the beef and garlic. Continue to sauté over medium heat just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so it does not need to be completely heated through at this point.

  6. Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and the prepared sauce to the skillet with the beef and broccoli. Continue to cook and stir until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

  7. Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving, along with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

*Toasted sesame oil does not always have the word “toasted” on the label. Look for sesame oil that is deep brown in color, not a light straw color. Toasted sesame oil has a much stronger, nutty flavor compared to regular sesame oil. Scroll down to the step by step photos to see the kind I used.

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

 

How to Make Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Prepared oyster sauce mixture in the bowl

Begin by preparing the sauce. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl, then add ¼ cup oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil. Stir to combine. Set the sauce aside.

Bottle of oyster sauce

This is the bottle of oyster sauce I used. It’s very inexpensive and can be found at most major grocery stores in the International aisle, although you’ll probably get a better deal (and better product) if you go to an Asian grocery store.

Toasted sesame oil

And this is the toasted sesame oil I used (from ALDI). Toasted sesame oil can also often be found in the International foods aisle. Don’t confuse this with untoasted sesame oil, which has a much more mild flavor and a light straw color. Once you start using this super potent nutty oil, you’ll want to add it to everything!

Cooked Spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the spaghetti. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

Browned beef and minced garlic in a skillet

While the spaghetti is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the dish. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once melted, add ½ lb. ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is cooked through. If you’re using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat. Mince 4 cloves garlic, then add them to the browned beef and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more.

Frozen broccoli added to the skillet with beef

Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets to the skillet and continue to cook over medium just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so no need to cook to the point where it is heated through here. Just cook until it is no longer frozen.

Spaghetti and sauce added to the skillet with beef and broccoli

By this point the spaghetti should be finished and drained. Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet along with the prepared sauce. Continue to cook and stir everything over medium heat until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

Finished Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

Slice four green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving. If you like a little spiciness, add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes on top as well.

Two plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli next to a bottle of oyster sauce and a small bowl of sliced green onions

Enjoy that big ol’ plate of rich noodles!!

The post Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

The best way to eat everyone’s favorite squash? These spaghetti squash spaghetti noodles are sauteed with herbs, then topped with marinara and Parmesan. What’s better than scooping the inside of a squash out into long noodles? Pretty much nothing. We’re smitten with the spaghetti squash over here! There are so many ways to eat everyone’s favorite squash, from swirled with pesto to pad Thai. But the very best way to eat it? As spaghetti! Of course Italian flavors go well with a squash like this, so we’ve doused it in our very favorite marinara sauce and called it meal. Here’s how to cut spaghetti squash, how to cook it, and how to make it into a healthy dinner idea. Quick video: How to roast spaghetti squash (1 minute!) Now, there are two ways to cook the squash for this recipe: in the oven or in the Instant Pot! To demonstrate, we made you a quick video showing how to cut it and roast it. Because the easiest way to learn is to actually watch it, right? Here’s Alex showing how to cut and cook spaghetti squash! Two ways to cook spaghetti squash The hardest part of spaghetti squash: figuring out […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

The best way to eat everyone’s favorite squash? These spaghetti squash spaghetti noodles are sauteed with herbs, then topped with marinara and Parmesan.

Spaghetti squash spaghetti

What’s better than scooping the inside of a squash out into long noodles? Pretty much nothing. We’re smitten with the spaghetti squash over here! There are so many ways to eat everyone’s favorite squash, from swirled with pesto to pad Thai. But the very best way to eat it? As spaghetti! Of course Italian flavors go well with a squash like this, so we’ve doused it in our very favorite marinara sauce and called it meal. Here’s how to cut spaghetti squash, how to cook it, and how to make it into a healthy dinner idea.

Quick video: How to roast spaghetti squash (1 minute!) Now, there are two ways to cook the squash for this recipe: in the oven or in the Instant Pot! To demonstrate, we made you a quick video showing how to cut it and roast it. Because the easiest way to learn is to actually watch it, right? Here’s Alex showing how to cut and cook spaghetti squash!

Two ways to cook spaghetti squash

The hardest part of spaghetti squash: figuring out how to cook it! There are pros and cons to each method. But if you have an Instant Pot, we’d recommend you use it for this one! The flavor difference between the two methods is not perceptible, and the pressure cooker method takes only 30 minutes. (Score!)

Method 1: Roast it in the oven.

This method takes a little over 1 hour total. To get the longest noodles, you’ll cut the spaghetti squash width-wise instead of lengthwise. Because the strands of squash run width-wise, this method gives you long, luxurious noodles. Then you’ll roast it for 40 to 55 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the squash. Go to: Roasted Spaghetti Squash (the Right Way!).

Method 2: Cook it in the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot spaghetti squash takes only 30 minutes total! You’ll cut the spaghetti squash in the same way. Then it’s just a pressure cooker on High for 8 minutes and a quick release! After draining for 10 minutes, it ends up being just under 30 minutes. It’s the fastest way we know to get to spaghetti squash spaghetti! Go to: Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash.

Spaghetti squash in pan

Important notes on this spaghetti squash spaghetti!

Once you’ve cooked the spaghetti squash, you’ve gotten most of the effort out of the way! For this spaghetti squash spaghetti recipe, you’ll also saute the “noodles” with butter, garlic and herbs to infused those Italian flavors! Then top with your favorite marinara. Here are a few notes on this recipe to keep in mind:

  • The noodles are heightened with garlic and herbs. To get the best flavor out of spaghetti squash noodles, don’t just eat them plain! Follow our method for sauteing them with garlic and herbs in the recipe below.
  • Note the serving size: 2 to 3 servings. This recipe is for 1 spaghetti squash, and because they’re not as filling as normal noodles, we’d say it’s enough for about 2 to 3 servings. You can double the recipe, but if so you’ll have to use the roasting method. Instant Pot spaghetti squash only works for one squash at a time.
  • IMPORTANT: Add protein to turn into a healthy dinner! Because squash noodles are not as filling as standard noodles, you’re definitely going to need some protein here. Depending on the protein, you could maybe stretch the servings to 3 to 4. See below for ideas! Or you can serve this as a side dish for 4 or more.
Spaghetti squash spaghetti

How to make spaghetti squash spaghetti a meal (protein ideas)

If you want to serve this as the main dish for a healthy dinner, you’ll need to add some filling protein! For the marinara, use your favorite jarred sauce or our Easy Marinara Sauce. Then decide how to add more protein to the meal. Here are some ideas for how to serve it:

  • Goat cheese. Add dollops of goat cheese, or use our Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta Sauce.
  • Meat. (Obvi.) Serve with your favorite bolognese sauce or meatballs.
  • Lentils. To keep it vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based, try our Seasoned Brown Lentils: they’d be a perfect plant based protein adder.
  • Lentil bolognese sauce. This one looks good.
  • Veggie meatballs. This would add a bit of prep, but our Vegan Meatballs would go great here. Use a jarred red sauce to keep it simple.
  • Add a filling side dish. Sides with lots of protein work too. Try a hearty salad with nuts and cheese, like our Tossed Salad or Beet Salad.
Spaghetti squash spaghetti

What people are saying

We had a few recipe testers give this spaghetti squash spaghetti a test run! Here’s what they had to say:

  • “I loved sauteing the spaghetti squash with spices and butter and oil before adding sauce! Made it more flavorful! I’ll make spaghetti squash spaghetti like this always!” -Kristi
  • “We all thought it was yummy, flavorful and we would love to have it again. I will put it in the Instant Pot rotation!” -Claire
Spaghetti squash on fork

This spaghetti squash spaghetti recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, follow the vegan option in the recipe below.

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Spaghetti squash spaghetti

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 3 as a main, 4 as a side

Description

The best way to eat everyone’s favorite squash? Spaghetti squash spaghetti! The noodles are sauteed with herbs, then topped with marinara and Parmesan.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium squash (3 pounds)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (or sub olive oil for vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve (or Vegan Parmesan Cheese)
  • Marinara sauce, to serve (use your favorite jarred sauce, or our Easy Marinara Sauce)
  • Protein, if serving as a main dish (Since squash isn’t as filling as normal noodles, you may want to serve with meat, lentils or another plant based protein. We served with goat cheese, bread, and a salad)

Instructions

  1. Cook the spaghetti squash: Make Roasted Spaghetti Squash or Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash.
  2. Mince the garlic.
  3. When the squash is cooked, heat a large skillet to medium low. Add the butter and olive oil and warm until melted. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, onion powder, and garlic powder. Warm, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes until garlic just starts to brown. Remove from heat and add squash noodles, kosher salt and grated Parmesan cheese. Toss until well combined. Taste, and add salt as necessary.
  4. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and a bit more grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Roasted / Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Squash

Keywords: Spaghetti squash spaghetti

Spaghetti squash spaghetti

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is such a comfort food classic! The meatballs are made from ground beef and Italian sausage, served with a sauce with mushrooms, onions, basil, and Parmesan. Dig in! Continue reading “Spaghetti and Meatballs” »

Spaghetti and meatballs is such a comfort food classic! The meatballs are made from ground beef and Italian sausage, served with a sauce with mushrooms, onions, basil, and Parmesan. Dig in!

Continue reading "Spaghetti and Meatballs" »