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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