Veggie spaghetti makes great potluck dish

Detroit Free PressSeptember 18, 2013 

Pasta salads are a late-summer dinner standard.

With plenty of pasta types on store shelves, you’ll need to use your noodle when choosing your noodle.

One product that came out early this year that I’ve been wanting to try is the hidden veggie spaghetti. There are name brands as well as store brands for this veggie spaghetti. Most are made with dried sweet corn, carrot and squash along with semolina.

The nutritional claim on the spaghetti box says there is 1 full serving of vegetables per 4 ounces of pasta.

Of course, there are a couple of asterisks after that claim. That 4 ounces, according to the package, actually equals 2 servings of pasta. So you have to eat twice the serving size to get one full serving of vegetables.

And speaking of that box, take note of its size. The packages look very similar to a 16-ounce box of traditional or thin spaghetti. But look closely, the net weight is 12 to 13.25 ounces. And you might have guessed by now these cost more. At my local store, the 12-ounce box of a store brand of veggie spaghetti is $1.49. A 16-ounce box of a national brand of traditional spaghetti is $1.34 at my local grocery store. Nutrition-wise, these have nearly same amount of calories, sodium, carbohydrates and fiber as plain spaghetti. So it’s purely a matter of preference in what you use.

Today’s recipe makes a terrific potluck salad, but you can serve it as a main dish, too. And if you have vegetarian friends to feed, you’ll score huge points if you use the tofu. With this recipe, be sure to use the extra-firm tofu so it holds its shape and doesn’t fall apart after roasting. Tofu blocks are sold packaged in water in a variety of textures from soft to firm to light firm and extra firm to silken. Its custard-like texture comes from how it’s made: curdling soy milk from ground, cooked soy beans. Tofu is often described as having a smidgen of nutty flavor, but other than that it’s bland. The beauty of tofu is that it soaks up the flavors of what it is cooked with. Our recipe uses roasted tofu that has been soaked for a bit in a soy-lime mixture that has a touch of spiciness.

If you don’t like the tofu, use cooked and cubed chicken or simply ramp up the vegetables.

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