Even with “beefy” in its title, this homey comfort-food dish can be made vegetarian by substituting soy crumbles for the meat. You’ll save calories and fat, and meat eaters in your house might not even be able to tell the difference.
Start your shopping at the grocery store salad bar to save time on prep: Use sliced bell peppers and shredded carrots.
Servings: 4 - 5
- 6 ounces dried spaghetti
- 6 ounces yellow bell pepper slices or pieces (see headnote)
- 6 ounces orange or red bell pepper slices or pieces (see headnote)
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1-inch piece ginger root
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (may substitute almond or cashew butter)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 or 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup warm water
- 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 pound very lean ground beef (93 percent; may substitute 12 ounces beef-flavored soy crumbles)
- 2 ounces shredded carrots (see headnote)
- 4 scallions, for garnish
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, coarsely chop the bell peppers. Mince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot, stirring in the chopped bell peppers.
Whisk together the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, the rice vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, crushed red pepper flakes and ginger in a liquid measuring cup.
Whisk together the warm water and cornstarch in a separate cup, then stir into the peanut butter mixture to form a sauce.
Heat a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and garlic; cook for 5 minutes or until the beef has browned, stirring to break up any large clumps. Pour the sauce mixture over the beef and stir to combine. Once the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the pasta-bell pepper mixture and the carrots; cook for about 6 minutes or until the bell pepper is crisp-tender. Taste, and add the remaining 1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce as needed.
While the mixture is cooking, trim off the root ends and dark-green ends of the scallions. Coarsely chop what’s left.
Divide among individual plates; garnish with the scallions.
Adapted from"Eat What You Love," by Marlene Koch (Running Press, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.