Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Betty Crocker Project : Spaghetti Pie & Garlic Bread

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I love Betty. I mean POWER BALLAD love Betty. This project has really become a huge positive part of our lives and I am really grateful to Betty. I love her so much that I feel a little guilty about this blog post. If this recipe wasn't printed in a book that was sold to millions, I would feel like I had betrayed her trust by telling you this.

This is Betty's Original Spaghetti Pie : Spaghetti with tomato paste pushed into a pie pan into like a crust and then you put in layers of ground beef, mozzarella cheese and a secret ingredient layer in the center : Cottage Cheese. I know. I know. Please don't tear her apart too much in the comments. We all do weird shit.

As many of you know, my mom is Sicilian and I grew up eating lots of baked pasta dishes. So my version of Spaghetti Pie is a little off the Betty map BUT really it is quite delicious, not too unhealthy and not the Crayola colored vision that the Betty recipe is.  I admit that this version of Spaghetti Pie kinda came kind of naturally to me - like that little part of you that knows the lyrics to songs you awkwardly slow danced to with someone you don't remember like a lifetime ago. I hope if you were expecting the other pie - you can find a place in your heart for this version which will rock your face* - in a good way. Just try it.

Spaghetti Pie
  • 3/4 Package Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 15 oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Tomatoes (diced) 
  • 2-3 Stalks Celery (diced)
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine (you're going to need a splash for cooking the Boca Crumbles later)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 3 Pinches Celery Seed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Oregano (dried - you'll some extra to sprinkle over the top)
  • 2 Tablespoons Braggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Parsley (fresh and diced)
  • 2 Teaspoons Basil (fresh and diced)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1 Red Onion (diced)
  • 1 Package Boca Crumbles (really any fake ground beef will work - I really like the Boca Crumbles. If you haven't tried them - really you should. Litelife Smart Ground is also a favorite. )
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutirtional Yeast
  • 1 Package Firm Tofu (mashed)
  • 1 -2 Cups Daiya Mozzarella  Cheese (we had like a small handful of Cheddar leftover from another meal so I threw that on top of the Mozzarella)
  • Olive Oil for cooking
Heat oven to 375.

In a saucepan, add Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes, Celery, Red Wine, Garlic, Celery Seed, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Braggs, Parsley & Basil and let simmer on a medium heat. Stir occasionally and once it starts to bubble - gently mash the Tomatoes a bit with your spoon.

Cook Spaghetti per the instructions on the box. Make sure when you drain it - you get most of the water out.

In your trusty little cast iron skillet, heat Olive Oil ( about 2-3 Tablespoons) and a dash of Red Wine on a medium heat. Add Green Peppers and Boca Crumbles and stir to cover with hot oil. When it starts to brown, add the Red Onions. While the Crumble mix is browning, mix the Nutritional Yeast and mashed Tofu. Add the Tofu mix to the browning Crumble Mix. Keep flipping the Crumble mix till it browns completely. If it starts to stick - add another dash of Red Wine.

Once the Crumble mix starts to have crispy edges and the Red Onion is transparent, pour the sauce into the skillet and heat. Stir occasionally. Once it starts to boil, remove from heat.

Put the cooked Spaghetti in a large bowl. With a slotted spoon, add Saucy Crumble mix to the  Spaghetti and toss. Make sure it gets thoroughly mixed.

Now add the Spaghetti mix to a glass pie plate. Really push it in there. Once you have filled the plate  - with a little pie like mound in the middle - cover the top Daiya Cheese - push the Daiya in there too. Sprinkle the top with dried Oregano and put in the oven.

Let it bake around 20-30 minutes. Pull out your pie when the cheese is melted and starts to brown a bit. Slice up like a pie and EAT!

LEFTOVER TIP : You may notice you have a lot of sauce/liquid leftover in the sauce pan. The extra moisture will make your pie mushy so you can't use it in the pie but I made the rest of the package of Whole Wheat Spaghetti and mixed it with that and a can of Artichoke Hearts. It was a great lunch.

Garlic Bread ( I feel bad posting this as a "recipe" but sometimes you have to just go with things)
  • 1 Baguette (sliced in half and cut into desired pieces)
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic per piece of Bread (minced)
  • Margarine 
  • Oregano (dried - to sprinkle over the top)
Preheat oven to 350.

Spread a "healthy" as in LARGE amount of Margarine on each slice of bread and then spread the Garlic over that. Put int he oven pull it out when the Margarine is melted and it is browned. Sprinkle with Oregano.

*You had to see that coming.


  1. Sounds so yummy! I pretty much live for pasta in any glorious form. -Breton

  2. YUM!! This looks so amazing... crazy mix o'stuff though, Annie.

  3. First, I've been enjoying your blog - I also own an edition of the classic red Betty Crocker cookbook and I've been able to successfully veganize many dishes, even meat dishes, from it.
    Second, though - your comments about the original spaghetti pie sound a little snobby when maybe they shouldn't be... I should say here that my aunt used to make a version of this that I really disliked - with saltine crackers as the top crust and Velveeta cheese. And since my midwestern small-town days of velveeta spaghetti pie, and cottage cheese and hamburger lasagna, I managed to become something of a food snob.
    Then, I went vegan three years ago. And I had to hear people telling me how "it's not really lasagna if you use tofu..." or it's not really piccata without the real piece of veal or pounded chicken breast, blah blah blah.
    I'm just saying, I have a newfound appreciation and sympathy for my mother and aunts now who dare to cook "authentic" recipes with cottage cheese and Velveeta and who make cheesecakes with Jello pudding. I'm not saying it's good - I'm sure it's still just as awful as ever - and honestly, my tofu/seitan based cuisine is much tastier and appetizing, probably because I also actually use herbs and spices, :). I'm just saying I can relate now because I have had to make similar bastardizations to classic dishes.
    I also really dislike Boca burger, I think it tastes like cardboard, no matter how what you do with it. I would use tempeh crumbles, myself. :)
    Anyway, just my .02. Looking forward to the rest of the recipes.

  4. I can't wait to make this recipe. I have a special place in my heart for spaghetti pie -- my mom used to make Betty's recipe for me when I was a kid. Do you have a recommendation for replacing the wine in the recipe? Thanks!

  5. I'm just saying, I have a newfound appreciation and sympathy for my mother and aunts now who dare to cook "authentic" recipes with cottage cheese and Velveeta and who make cheesecakes with Jello pudding.

  6. Made this last night! Super Yummy - your recipes are awesome!!

  7. Well now, this was EXCELLENT! But I do have a few notes:
    1. Tofu drained or not? I drained it and didn't have the leftover liquid you mentioned. I got a nice, cohesive mixture.
    2. How BIG is your "little cast iron skillet?" Mine is a 12-incher and again your recipe outgrew it. (I had this happen with another of your recipes) Next time I'll whip out my cast iron dutch oven or fryer.
    3. Pie plate? More like 9x13 pan. And now I have plenty of awesome leftovers.
    Substitutions (they all worked):
    1. Trader Joe's corn pasta because my guys HATE whole wheat.
    2. Trader Joe's marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce because I forgot to buy the other.
    3. Drained 14 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes because my fresh tomatoes are about played out for the summer and the grocery store ones suck.
    4. Baby red, yellow and orange bell peps because I needed to use them up.

    And OH MAN! Thank you for mentioning Boca crumbles! I've used Morningstar Farms since I went vegetarian 2.5 years ago and I've always thought, "There's gotta to be something better." THIS IS IT! We love it! They aren't gummy and they have a great flavor.
    Oh yeah, I also added a bit of salt to the tofu mixture and then to the tomato mixture. I felt like the tomato mixture seemed a bit bitter. The salt evened it out pretty well.

    Great job!

  8. Let's see -
    1. Drained
    2. 15 inches

    I think that answers the questions...

    I'm so glad you liked it though! The substitutions sound pretty great actually!