If you could translate a hug into food, it would probably become spaghetti pie. It’s warm, comforting, familiar, simple and, like the very best embraces, noodley. (Note: I may have abnormal hug preferences).
The story of spaghetti pie begins with my mother, who I am like in most every way. We both love classic films and jet-fuel-strength black coffee. We both become apoplectic in crowded situations. And we also both have a tendency to burst into made-up-on-the-spot lyrics when frustrated. In short, we are both a little odd (and okay with it).
My mama does not, however, share my love of cooking.
She’s good at it, no doubt, but would just rather focus her energies in other areas, such as spoiling her dog rotten.
So when I was growing up and she did spend time in the kitchen, what resulted was usually a treat. One of my very favorite dishes was spaghetti pie, probably because it’s also a bit of an oddball. Noodles in a dessert dish? Wah?
At my mom’s genius suggestion, I devised a vegan version of this comfort food champion for all of us plant-eaters, replacing cottage cheese with crumbled tofu, swapping in vegan butter for the cow kind, and calling for egg and meat substitutes.
For the meaty part you could use chopped mushrooms, seitan, or vegan beef crumbles.
I chose to use a combination of baby bella mushrooms and diced up Tofurky Italian sausage, which I am kind of obsessed with.
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance is uh-may-zing)
- 2 flax eggs (Dissolve 2 Tbsps ground flax seed in 1/2 cup super hot water, then set in fridge for 15 minutes to thicken)
- 1 cup drained and pressed tofu, squished through your fingers until it resembles cottage cheese
- 1 pound vegan beef substitute (I used finely diced Tofurky Italian sausage)
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (I am a member of the Daiya cult)
- A couple shakes of Italian seasoning, if you so desire
Build a Pie
- Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions and drain.
- Mix your butter into the still-hot spaghetti until it’s all melted.
- Stir in the flax eggs until the noodles are coated.
- Place the mixture in a buttered 10-inch pie pan/tin, and form it into a crust-like shape.
- Spread the crumbled tofu over the bottom of your spaghetti crust.
- Cook up your meat replacement of choice in a skillet, along with the onions, mushrooms and peppers, over medium heat until the meat replacer is browned and the veggies are soft.
- Add the spaghetti sauce and heat the mixture through.
- Pour the skillet mixture into the pie pan, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the pie with the mozzarella cheese and some Italian seasoning, if you wish, and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and browning and calling your name.
That’s it! Let it cool for about 10 minutes before digging into your very own noodly hug.