Hearty Winter Pasta

Pasta, spinach & soya mince

I did a simple all in one spaghetti a while ago when the sun was shining and a light pasta dish was so welcome with a glass of wine in the garden.  But those days are gone, the sun is waning and the evenings are closing in – it is after all November!  This hearty winter pasta is based on the all in one style but is far more robust and well, hearty!  We had a friend coming to dinner and I decided to make it a little bit special and quickly fried a few meat free balls for topping!  It went down very well indeed and second helpings were in order.

I have used a pasta which I had never seen or tried before called Casarecce – it is not actually a tube like penne, but more like rolled flat strips of pasta.  It worked beautifully and absorbed the sauce far more effectively than penne – a shape of pasta I have never really warmed to.  So grab yourself a pack of Casarecce next time you’re shopping – I am now hooked and well stocked up.

4-5 servings


400 grams pasta (I used Casarecce which worked beautifully – available at Sainsburys in UK)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large tomatoes, about 400 grams, chopped
200 grams fresh spinach or equivalent amount frozen spinach (chop if leaves are big)
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (I buy big bunches, wash, chop and freeze – works well)
40 grams dehydrated soya mince (frozen vegan mince is fine too – about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
100ml red wine (optional, but it does add to the flavour)
Salt to taste
Vegan meat balls (optional – I used VegiDeli available at Holland & Barretts in UK and Goodness Direct online)

Pasta, spinach & soya mince(4)
Onion & garlic with tomatoes added

Pasta, spinach & soya mince(3)
Mixture ready for the pasta to go in


  1. Fry onions and garlic in olive oil on low heat until translucent but not brown
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until mushy
  3. Add chopped parsley and fry for a couple of minutes to release flavours
  4. Add spinach, soya sauce, oregano and wine
  5. Cover and cook for a further 15 minutes until spinach has wilted and ingredients well mixed
  6. Add 650ml of water and the Casarecce.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and let it cook gently – packet says 10-12 minutes, but check. Keep stirring and check for salt.  Best to keep a kettle on the boil in case you need a drop more water.
  7. Fry the vegan meat balls and add before serving

Pasta, spinach & soya mince(2)


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