Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vegan MoFo #30: MacGyver Spaghetti

Giving the lie in the very throat of my previous post about the periodic paucity of pasta on my personal plate (how's that for alliteration?), I give you: last night's emergency dinner! Well, not an emergency in the sense of there being any actual danger, but in that of being hungry with few available ingredients and absolutely no ambition whatsoever. Such was the situation chez moi after a very long day that started way too early and encompassed way too much stuff; by 7pm I was too tired to go out or even decide on take-out. I addressed this parlous state of affairs in the usual way: grubbing around in the vegetable crisper until something suggested itself, and in this case that thing was spaghetti with what we'll call "MacGyver Sauce."

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should confess that I have never actually seen a single episode of MacGyver, but the character's ability to make do with whatever lay at hand was the recurring and highly amusing joke of a former colleague, and I love the Simpsons episode where Patty and Selma kidnap him and devise increasingly difficult situations from which he's supposed to escape. I'm not sure when my partner started calling me "MacGyver in the Kitchen," but it makes me laugh, and I admit that there is a certain satisfaction in producing a meal--even a basic, workmanlike one--from an apparently empty larder. So here you have pretty much everything that was left in our refrigerator and cupboards, interpreted as spaghetti and "meat"balls; NB that we don't use a lot of meat analogues, but they were sitting there in the freezer, saying, "here we are, so eat us already," so in the spirit of the occasion, we did. I guess this means I have to go grocery shopping now!

MacGyver Spaghetti

~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 2 cups chopped yellow onions
~ 1 cup chopped bell pepper
~ 2 cups sliced mushrooms
~ 1 tsp. each salt, oregano
~ 2 tsp. basil
~ Fresh black pepper
~ 2 15 oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes, drained

~ 1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained
~ 1 package Trader Joe's meatless balls (this is totally optional, or use whatever brand you like/have on hand; I just really like typing "meatless balls!"), cooked in the oven according to directions and set aside.

~ In a big skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium and add the garlic.
~ Saute the garlic for a minute or two, then add the onions; continue cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
~ Add the peppers, mushrooms and seasonings and continue cooking about 5 minutes more,
~ Pour in the drained tomatoes and stir throughly to combine. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.
~ Add the cooked meatless balls (there's that phrase again) if using, bring everything to just about a boil.
~ Serve over your cooked spaghetti with a salad and some bread; not bad for there being "nothing in the house!"


  1. Hahhahah-- I love the MacGyver Meal idea. Looks like it worked, too!

  2. My mom was in love with MacGyver and I susupect I'll be MacGyvering a meal together in my house tonight too. We have a left over that needs a face lift and some frozen sausages, sounds like almost a meal to me.

  3. When I first went vegan I practically lived of some incarnations of your MacGyver spaghetti. I found out chickpeas are really good with tomato sauce and penne pasta among other things.