Spaghetti with Mushroom and Less-Meat Sauce

Spaghetti with Mushroom and Less-Meat Sauce

Pasta can fit into a healthy lifestyle, as long as you think about a few important things.  This Spaghetti with Mushroom and Less Meat Sauce is the perfect recipe for a healthy, delicious pasta dinner.

The first key to make your pasta dish healthy is to use whole grain spaghetti.  Hopefully you have switched over to all whole grain bread, cereals, and pastas at this point, but if you haven’t, now is the time.  Whole grains provide more nutrients and keep you feeling full longer with its higher fiber content.  Plus, today’s whole grain pastas taste so much better than some of the first that came out.  So if you have tried whole grain pasta in the past and didn’t like its texture or taste, give it another try.  Keep trying different brands until you find one you like.  I am confident you will.  You could also mix half whole grain with half regular, and slowly transition yourself over to all whole grain.

I chose to use whole wheat angel hair pasta in this recipe because I just love the thin noodles.  You can use whatever type of pasta you like.

The next thing you want to think about when eating pasta is your portions.  Make sure you aren’t scooping a heaping pile of spaghetti onto your plate.  I like to use smaller plates for pasta just to keep myself in check.  Also, I always add a giant side salad that I eat first.  This helps to fill my stomach up with veggies first, so I don’t need a heaping pile of pasta.  

Finally, you want to think about reducing the amount of meat you put in your pasta.  Now, I love a good meatball or two just as much as anyone else, but there are times when we as a family try to limit our meat consumption.  You can read more about reasons to reduce your meat consumption in this post, and ways to do it in this post.  Basically, eating less meat is better for your body, your wallet, and the environment.  However, when you reduce some of the meat, you want to make sure you are still creating a filling meal.

Mushrooms were the perfect solution for this pasta recipe.  Since I halved the amount of ground beef I used, I decided to replace the other half with mushrooms.  They work well because they are meaty and have a deep flavor that mimics the flavor of meat.  Nobody in my family missed the extra meat in this dish.  The key is to chop the mushrooms pretty fine.  You don’t want big chunks of mushrooms.  You want them to blend in with the ground beef.

First I cooked the ground beef and onions until the beef was browned.  Then, I added the mushrooms and garlic, and cooked them for about 10 minutes.  

Next I added the tomato paste and cooked for a couple of minutes.  Then I added the hot water and chicken broth to scrape up all of those brown bits.  The crushed tomatoes and oregano went in.  Once the mixture came to a boil, I reduced the heat and let this simmer for about 15 minutes.  While the sauce simmered, I cooked the pasta.

The last step was to add a little bit of milk to the sauce to give it a little bit of creaminess.  The pasta was tossed with the sauce, and served with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley on top.

Spaghetti with Mushroom and Less-Meat Sauce

Yield: 6 servings

Spaghetti with Mushroom and Less-Meat Sauce


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 10 oz. whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high.  Add the ground beef, onions, and salt and pepper.  Cook until beef is browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and more salt and pepper.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir for about a minute.  
  4. Pour in the hot water and beef broth, and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all of the brown bits up.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes and oregano.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes.  While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta.
  6. Stir the milk into the sauce.  Toss the pasta with the sauce.
  7. Serve with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley on top.


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