WIAW and Spaghetti with Meatless Meat Sauce Recipe

Happy WIAW! How's everyone doing this week? Well, today I'm going to share some of my favorite quick, simple, and cheap gluten-free, vegan foods to show that you don't have to break the bank or eat all kinds of crazy, fancy, hard-to-find ingredients to follow a plant-based diet. On top of that, usually by the middle of the week, I'm not in the mood to cook for hours on end when I get home from work, so I'm all about finding quicky and easy meals that are still healthy and delicious.  So let's get my food for today going, followed by one of my favorite "quick, easy, and cheap" recipes: "Spaghetti with Meatless Meat Sauce".

Just woke up snack: Rudi's Multigrain gluten-free toast 
with Earth Balance butter and organic strawberry jelly.
Workout: 1 hour on the treadmill, my favorite kind of intervals: run 2 minutes, walk 1 min. 

Breakfast:  Chocolate Ice Cream Smoothie Get your fill
of spinach in this smoothie, guilt-free and full of raw
chocolate goodness!

Mid-morning snack: Gluten-free, vegan pancakes from
Cinnamon Quill with Maple Agave Nectar as my syrup,
and a "shot" of orange juice to drink.

Lunch: "Cleaning out the pantry nachos": organic
corn tortilla chips, black beans, roasted corn, salsa,
Dayia cheddar cheese.  So simple, quick, easy...
and of course, delicious!

Afternoon snack: 1 organic orange

Afternoon Snack #2: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar
(aka a "Snickers Bar:" as I call it!).

Just got home/Playing with Avery Snack: "Peachy Kale Smoothie"
 Avery joined me for this smoothie as she played and climbed the stars. Here's some of the fun we had...

Fueling up on her green smoothie before playing.

"Oh but this smoothie tastes so much better in your glass straw

"Wait! Take a break...time for a snack!"

"Okay sure, one picture I suppose."

One of my new favorite things she does right now: go
from crawling to sitting. She'll crawl, crawl,
crawl...and then sit herself up super straight like this.
Love it!

Dinner: Spaghetti with Meat-less Meat Sauce  (see recipe below)

Let's find out what Avery thought of the spaghetti...

Don't let that skeptical face fool you...

Avery loves spaghetti!

Oh, and her Dad, who she loves to eat with.

Other fun new thing she's doing: sticking her tongue out
when she smiles. He he!
One minor downside to baby-led solids: the clean-up!
Good thing we're on the tile!  Too bad it was my night to clean
the kitchen while Brandon gave Avery a bath!
This is who I called in to help with the spaghetti on the floor.
Now although she's was very intrigued by the carrot, seen here,
she did eat all the spaghetti that was on the floor!
Thank you Jilly!

Dessert: 2 Gluten-free, vegan cookies from Cinnamon Quill.

Okay so now that you know what I ate today, let me share one of my favorite quick, easy, cheap, and healthy vegan dinners: Spaghetti with Meatless Meat Sauce.

First up, let's talk about it's main ingredient: TVP (or it's real name: Textured Vegetable Protein). Sounds kind of strange right? Don't worry, it's just "defatted soy flour" that has been cooked under pressure and then dried. Still confusing...bear with me! It comes in a granule-type form that looks a bit like oatmeal and when liquid is added to it, the granules "re-hydrate" and take on a texture similar to ground beef. 

TVP granules (aka my gluten-free vegan "ground beef")
Ever tried a meat-replacement like a Boca Burger or Morningstar Farms hot dog? Well, you can pretty much bet that one of the main ingredients in those "meats" was TVP.  With that in mind, one benefit of using plain TVP is that we're cutting straight to the source!

Instead of pretend "meat crumbles" with a long ingredient list (that usually includes wheat- a "no no" for me) I stick with plain ol' TVP to give me that reminesencet ground beef texture, minus all the extra sodium and preservatives. 

Health benefits of TVP: high in protein, virtually no fat, high in fiber, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Other benefits of TVP: it's cheap! A 10 oz. pkg online costs about $3 here or you could find it at your local health food store for pretty close to that price as well. I've even seen it at Wal-Mart!  Now by using a 1/2 cup per meal (the amount called for in this recipe) you could get about 6 meals out of that one cheap little bag! That's 50 cents per meal...quite a savings since 1 lb of ground beef or turkey would probably cost you about $1.75 or more.  Sweet!

So now that you know what TVP is, why it rocks, and where you can get it, let me tell you how you can cook with it in my recipe for:

Spaghetti with Meatless Meat Sauce


All you need:
TVP, Spaghetti Sauce, Spaghetti
1. Measure out 1/2 cup TVP into a bowl.

2. Bring water to boil in a large stockpot for spaghetti noodles.
When the water starts boiling add the noodles and then
measure out 1/2 cup of the boiling water.

3. Pour this boiling water onto the TVP. *Now although the
TVP package gives measurements on how much water
to add to the TVP, I've found it works fine to just do equal
portions of water to TVP (just like you're cooking rice, so
1/2 cup TVP, 1/2 cup water).

4. Next pour your spaghetti sauce into a medium sauce pan
and turn onto Low.

5. To remove excess water from your TVP press a cloth napkin
or paper towel over the TVP until no extra water remains.
6. Now add the TVP to the sauce that has been warming, and
stir it in.  I like to put the lid on the sauce to really help the
TVP absorb the flavor.

7. Wash out that glass spaghetti jar and get it ready to be
recycled! Don't throw it away...did you know glass never
breaks down in the landfill?! Never!
Read more about how to recycle it here.

8. Now once your pasta is done cooking, drain it, and rinse it
if necessary.

9.  When you're ready to eat, take the lid off the sauce and
prepare to serve it right onto the noodles.
9.  Now assembly-line style, get yourself some noodles...

  Followed by some sauce...

Then eat it up!

Enjoy your meatless meat sauce that is full of nutrients,
easy to prepare, and lighter on your wallet. 
 Anyone else ever cook with TVP? What do you think of it? Share below!