After years and years of struggling with my health, I finally decided to do something about it. Though a hard choice for some to imagine, I made the decision to become vegan and make healthier more mindful choices of what my family and I consume. Though my kids are not vegans, there are a WIDE variety of vegan friendly recipes that I have found my kids and I all enjoy, and have implemented them into our new healthier menu. One of said recipes, is a fabulous pasta bake that has become sort of a family night tradition around our place. It’s a super hearty, delicious, vegan friendly choice, that my kids have grown to look forward to, and enjoy every time it comes around!
One of my biggest struggles has been not only finding a sauce that works for me, but that tastes GOOD. Something that tastes homemade, without all of the effort! I’m a busy, busy Mom and simple is always a great thing. When Ragu released their new Ragu Homestyle Pasta Sauce, I was intrigued to say the least. We found ours at our local Walmart—though they are readily available at Target as well, and were quite pleased to discover that it was a sauce that could work in our house, and they had a Thick and Hearty Mushroom option. Mushroom sauces generally seem to be our favorites, and this one promised to be THICK, which is exactly what we love! The Ragu Homestyle definitely didn’t disappoint! I was so impressed, I took to the internet to see what others were saying, and everyone definitely seems to agree…it’s fabulous!
The pasta bake is a fairly simple recipe, but tastes SUPER delicious and leaves us all super full, and usually with leftovers for the next day. It’s definitely a go to meal and a new tradition of health and down right deliciousness! Though the recipe isn’t an exact science and can basically be tailored to your families specific tastes and dietary restrictions, here is how we like to do it using our Ragu Pasta Sauce:
- Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles
- Veggies of your choice--We used peppers, onions and mushrooms
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning
- Garlic Salt
- Ragu Homestyle Thick and Hearty Mushroom Pasta Sauce
- Vegan Cheese
- Preheat your oven to 350
- Cook your spaghetti ( No explanation needed, I hope )
- Cut or Chop up your veggies
- Put your veggies on a baking sheet and very lightly cover in olive oil ( emphasis on very light )
- Season veggies with Garlic Salt and Lemon Pepper Seasoning, again fairly light.
- Put the veggies in the oven and bake--oven times vary, so I would just watch and let them get soft
- Drain your spaghetti and set to the side if your veggies aren't done softening
- Once both components are finished, basically, I layer everything together in my skillet ( you can use a casserole dish or whatever you wish ) kind of like a lasagna. This is really up to you. I like to layer the vegan cheese inside of the dish and not add it to the top, vegan cheese never seems to fully melt, only soften, but get super gooey and delicious inside of the bake.
- Once you have assembled, place in the oven ( which should still be at 350), I basically just let it go for another 10 mins or so, but again, ovens vary, so this is really up to you and your preferences since the cheese never fully melts.
This is a really easy dish to play around with, obviously, and nothing other than making sure everything is properly cooked is set in stone. The sauce is so thick and delicious, this dish almost cannot go wrong!
Sharing family traditions, whether it be a fun weekly activity, a game night or even something as simple as sharing a favorite delicious meal can really bring a family closer together—and in our case, growing healthier together. I am proud to have implemented this new lifestyle and recipe into our chaotic life, and couldn’t be more proud to share this tradition with you, my other family!
What traditions do your family enjoy or hope to implement in the near future? Have you found them to bring you closer together as a family unit? Please share your ideas in the comments below! I know I am ALWAYS looking for fun new ideas to share with my kids and our little family!