Vegan or meat spaghetti with a kick, protein boost and more health benefits!

Beautiful spaghetti with minced meat and vegetables, top view

It’s a long weekend for parts of Canada and in the US. In Canada, the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan are celebrating Family Day on Monday. It always coincides with President’s Day in the US, except in British Columbia where it’s celebrated a week earlier. In Ontario, we started celebrating Family Day in 2007 (full disclosure, I had to look this up). Happy 10 year Anniversary Family Day!

So, now that I’ve either bored or intrigued you with a little Canadian history, this was my long way of saying it’s a weekend to spend with a lot of family and even more food. And what dish translates better than spaghetti for any age group or food taste? I’m kind of asking this as a serious question if you know of one tell me! I’m making spaghetti for lunch today, mostly because it works for many people, but also because I love spaghetti. I honestly can eat variations of it every day.

As you may know from some of my other posts, I have a significant gluten intolerance. I have yet to make my own pasta from scratch but found a recipe I am going to try and hopefully post one day if it turns out. In the meantime, I am totally hooked on lentil pasta. I just started using it in the past month, and I love it because of the additional protein. It has 18g of protein in 85g (3oz) instead of 4-6g of regular or other gluten-free noodles.

Some of the health benefits of this recipe include boosted immunity, promotes weight and stress management (if you use the peppers) and the lentils in the noodles help with digestion. The full nutrition and health benefits are listed after the recipe.

Vegan or meat spaghetti recipe

Makes: 4-6 servings
Total time: 1 and a half hours, cook time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, prep time: 15-20 minutes



  • 700g of ground tofu, or extra-lean beef or chicken
  • 500 g lentil pasta, I use Tolerant brand
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white, purple or yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cup crimini or button mushrooms, diced
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 540 mls strained tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 chili peppers, omit if you don’t want spice



  1. Marinate tofu for at least 5 minutes in advance with ¼ of the cup of strained tomatoes, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper to your taste. If using meat, marinate for an hour with the same ingredients.
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ground tofu, beef or chicken, onion, garlic, mushrooms and green pepper in a large saucepan. Cook and stir until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain grease.
  3. Stir in the Roma tomatoes, strained tomatoes, remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Add in salt, pepper, oregano and 1 and ½ tablespoons of the basil.
  5. Simmer spaghetti sauce for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. At the 50-minute mark, add in remaining basil and all the parsley if using it and stir into the sauce.

Approximate nutritional information for 1 serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

With tofu

  • Calories: 362.83
  • Fat:  8 g
  • Carbs: 59 g
  • Protein: 26 g

With beef

  • Calories: 562.83
  • Fat:  16 g
  • Carbs: 59 g
  • Protein: 38 g

With chicken

  • Calories: 525
  • Fat:  12 g
  • Carbs: 59 g
  • Protein: 35 g

Some of the health benefits

Sliced Bell Peppers - Diagonal

  • Garlic: improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and immunity, and helps reduce stress
  • Onions: improves bone density and cardiovascular functioning, and is an anti-inflammatory.
  • Chilis: Protects against stress and certain diseases, help with pain management and inflammation, and have weight management properties.
  • Bell pepper: An antioxidant, has weight management properties and can help protect against certain diseases.
  • Lentils: Is an antioxidant and helps with intestinal health.
  • Protein, carbs and fat:  As mentioned in The basics for a proper diet, these two, along with fats, are key building blocks for your body’s functioning.


  1. Thanks for the background info! Need to have Family day in US as well!! Didn’t think it was so new for Canada. Anyways another amazing dish. I never knew lentil pasta existed haha 😜

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