Friday Flashback: Vegan Spaghetti-Os (!)

by Sarah on October 19, 2012 · 13 comments

Not having TV–and, well, not really being all that interested–I’ve never actually seen an episode of this TLC phenomenon known as “Honey Boo Boo.” But I do read US Weekly. So I know who she is.I also listen to Cosmo Radio almost exclusively in my car, and on a recent ‘Fat Kid Friday’ segment on Wake Up WIth Taylor, Kenny and Taylor were discussing–and eating–Honey Boo Boo’s favorite food: Sketti.At first they were talking about it like it was disgusting. But, I have to be honest with you: spaghetti covered in butter and ketchup sounds like a lot of kids’ (and adults’) dream come true. The talk of it reminded me of Spaghetti-Os. And the time I made vegan ones. Which were delicious.

So for this Friday Flashback, I offer you a childish recipe redux.

Thank me later.

You can never tell when a craving is going to strike. Or what that craving is going to be. Being a self-proclaimed Queen of Crazy Cravings, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that during my month of veganism, I suddenly developed a strong, but unusual, desire for a childhood favorite: Spaghetti-Os.I thought about making Vegan Spaghetti-Os all month long. I stocked up on the spices and other ingredients I thought I would need based on studying the can of the closest thing to Spaghetti-Os we had at the (“high end gourmet”) store where I work.*

*We sell Velveeta, but not Spaghetti-Os. Just in case you were wondering.But everything sat on the shelf in my pantry, as I continued to devour fresh (and frozen) vegetables and eat my weight in winter squash. And then I was faced with an empty fridge and I realized: now was the time.This couldn’t be easier, really. It requires a few more spoons, and an extra pa, but other than that, it’s just as simple as heating up the “real stuff.”*

*Although how ‘real’ is it, honestly?

And the best part?

It actually tastes like Spaghetti-Os!

Well, maybe I don’t actually remember what they taste like exactly, but it certainly meets the “gooey, sweet, subtly cheesy red sauce covering noodles” craving pretty darn well.It’s hard to find tomato puree in a smaller can than 29 ounces, but I wanted the puree so tht it would be unadulterated (no spices or herbs added as with tomato sauce).I ended up measuring out about half of the can, and using the other half for a more “advanced” recipe.

But we’ll get to that another day.

For the originial version, I took a cue from Annie’s Bernie-Os and seasoned with salt, pepper, both onion and garlic powder, dred parsley, and a heavy dose of paprika. I thought about using fresh onion and garlic but I mean…how fancy do Spaghetti-Os really need to be?

clearly my SPICES aren't fancy...

Spaghetti-Os are so delicious because they are savory and sweet at the same time. Instead of  high fructose corn syrup–which I wouldn’t know where to find even if I wanted to–I went with a dribble (yes, dribble) of brown rice syrup. [Agave would work, too.]

Now, what to do about the (cheddar) cheese?Duh!Nutritional yeast:

Never leave omnivorism without it.

Once your sauce is ready….it’s time to eat! Even as a vegan, you can eat Spaghetti-Os.

Well, OK, Spaghetti-Os and As and Ps….

It’s a bit hard to find O-shaped pasta on the store shelves. But no matter.A bag of the whole alphabet costs 38 cents, and when they cook they get sort of mushy so it’s hard to even tell’em apart anyway.Seeing as how this was a childhood meal re-imagined, I could only think of one vegeable side to serve.I’m pretty sure over 85% of my meals as a child were served with mixed vegetables, from which I carefully removed all trace of lima beans. [Interestingly enough, now one of my favorite parts.]

Childhood comfort in a bowl.But just a little bit healthier this time around.

[Although if you find whole wheat letras, let me know. ;)]Vegan Spaghetti-Os

  • 1 3/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. brown rice syrup or agave
  •  3/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley fakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 package alphabet pasta, cooked according to package directions
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients (except pasta).
  2. Bring to a simmer, and allow to heat through/cook for at least 5 minutes for flavors to meld.
  3. Combine sauce with pasta.
  4. Enjoy!
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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Tricia @ Saving room for dessert October 19, 2012 at 9:48 am

Perfect Sarah! I’m with you. I’ve never seen an episode of that show and only found out about honey boo-boo last night! I have been busy however. Hope you are well and hope the new position is terrific. I waved at you as we drove through Charlottesville on Tuesday!


Calee (@chimes) — life + running October 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

I’m pretty sure that TLC has turned into the FSC (freak show channel) with all the crap they’ve had on lately.

Sketti makes me gag. So gross. Though, I used to love spaghettios …


Heather @ Better With Veggies October 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I LOVE IT!!! Comfort foods made better – what a great idea! And so much better than the canned version. :)


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I LOVED this recipe when you first posted it. I made a version using TJs tomato-red pepper soup and it was lovely. Yay for kids food!


Maria October 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Honey Boo Boo might be another good reason for us to get rid of of cable (see also: Real Housewives, Jersey Shore and any other show that makes me embarrassed for the American people). But I have yet to see it either and have heard about Sketti.

(more) proof that you are amazing: you take something as gross as that sketti concept and turn it into something that actually looks quiet tasty. My mom would always make me a simple dish of macaroni with cooked tomatoes and a little bit of cheddar cheese – reminds me a lot of this!


Kristen @ notsodomesticated October 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Only you. 😉 I love that you made vegan spagehetti-O’s. Personally, I was never a fan of spagehetti-O’s. But yours look quite tasty!


Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut October 20, 2012 at 3:02 am

Yea…I grew up on Chef Boyardee and still occasionally give into the urge and buy beefaroni or ravioli that has meat in it that for some reason doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Good for you for making a healthified version!! 😉


Fran@BCDC October 21, 2012 at 7:20 am

This sounds really good. I don’t think I really ate Spaghetti-O’s very often when I was growing up. I should give these a try.


Brittany @ Delights and Delectables October 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm

YUM!! I have got to find some GF noodles and make this! I used to love spaghetti-os


Carla October 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Monday is national nut day, fyi. 😉


Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli October 25, 2012 at 12:46 am

Ugh…I’m sorry, but even the THOUGHT of Spaghetti-O’s makes my stomach turn! But I will say, yours look to be the REAL deal! I was never a fan of them when I was little either, but I could DEFINITELY put away some Chef Boyardee Ravioli! I would eat it for lunch AND dinner in the same day during the summer…when my mom wasn’t paying enough attention to my meals to suggest otherwise! 😉

Hmm, spaghetti, butter, and ketchup? Interesting. Never have…never will watch that show. It amazes me what people find entertaining these days! Lol


Susan February 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Always looking for new food ideas for my vegan family. Thanks for the recipe!

I just purchased EDEN Organic Pasta Vegetable Alphabets. They are tiny, vege-colored and 60% whole grain. Website is I made a yummy vegan no-chicken alphabet soup with them with small chopped cauliflower, fresh spinach leaves, onion, garlic, carrot slivers vegan bullion and spices. (I just throw in whatever veges I’m in the mood for and wing-it on the broth.)


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