Meatless Monday: “Meatballs” and Penne Pasta Recipe

1 Oct

When you’ve got the blues, do you have a go-to dish that serves as comfort food? For me, it’s usually some sort of pasta dish. Recently, it was Meatless Meatballs and Penne Pasta.

When I was making this dish, I couldn’t help but hum the lyrics to That’s Life. Yes, I was feeling gloomy on this particular day. It was stuck in my head while I was measuring spices, so I decided to look up the song and listen to it (side note: I found this cool video that goes along to the music).

My parents always had Frank Sinatra playing in the background at our house when I was growing up, and I loved listening to his soothing voice. I guess the combination of the song and the Italian meal made me feel comforted like I was back under my parent’s roof, being a child with no worries or care.

In case you need some cheering up, here’s a recipe to try out.

Meatless Meatballs and Penne Pasta Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb whole grain penne pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 (9 oz) container of Veggie Patch Meatless Meatballs
  • 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • a dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 heaping cup squash, diced
  • 1 heaping cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Parmesan grated cheese (optional)
Steps:
  1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic until softened, or about 3 minutes.
  2. Add all spices until fragrant, or about 1 minute.
  3. Add red wine vinegar and stir. Add squash, zucchini and red pepper and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes, lower heat to simmer, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add mushrooms, recover the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add meatless meatballs and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes (or longer, if time allows).
  8. Meanwhile, boil water for pasta. Follow instructions on pasta box to cook the penne.
Serve with Parmesan grated cheese (I used soy Parmesan cheese if you want the vegan alternative). I also made side salads with this dish. If you really want to top it all off, make some garlic bread to go along with this dish. I hope this meal brings you as much comfort as it did (and does) for me. Cheers!
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