Gluten-Free Italian Spaghetti

Remember my health/food confessions from last week, how I ignored the signs of inflammatory gut distress largely because I resisted changing my diet? (If you missed it, you can find that post here.)

Let’s face it—there’s a kind of grief involved when you realize that some of your favorite comfort foods are actually making you sick.  The grief is two-fold: the loss of being able to personally enjoy those comfort foods; and the social aspect of not always being able to eat what everyone else is eating when sharing meals with friends and family. 

The good news is we don’t have to miss out—over the years we've learned to make over our favorite comfort foods with gut-friendly swaps!  

This week I’m sharing with you one of my childhood favorites, my mom’s tried-and-true recipe for Italian spaghetti. No, we’re not Italian, and chances are this is more American than authentic Italian. 😜 But it’s delicious and a crowd-pleaser!

The original recipe came from a 1970’s edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook that was given to my mom as a wedding shower gift. When I got married, it was one of the first recipes I copied into the spiral-bound recipe book that Mom gave me.  “Betty” may have spelled out the details, but it’s Mom who turned it into a comfort food for our family! 

Fortunately, the basic recipe for the meat sauce is itself gluten-free. So the primary swap you’ve gotta make is the noodles.  I highly recommend Tinkyáda gluten-free rice spaghetti—it’s our personal favorite and the best swap for “gluten” pasta we’ve found yet. If you’re also avoiding grains, Jovial Foods cassava spaghetti is a fantastic option!

I often use the essential oils of Oregano and Basil in place of the dried herbs called for in the recipe. If I'm thinking ahead I’ll use fresh Basil from the garden, but when time is short and my people are hungry this is my best bet!

The good news is I always have these oils on hand, and they’re fantastic for flavoring homemade marinara and all manner of sauces, marinades, dips, etc.  

I love cooking with my dōTERRA oils because--

✅ Just one drop adds big flavor--a little goes a long way!

✅ They're guaranteed pure from a trusted plant-source---ethically, sustainably grown and harvested; no adulteration, hidden toxins, or synthetics, thanks to dōTERRA’s high standards and strict protocols;

✅ These oils are multipurpose—beyond cooking, they're our go-tos for immune support, ear comfort, cleansing, and more; so we always have them close by. 

So without further ado, here's the recipe, with the modifications I've made for my family:

Italian Spaghetti 
Crowd size: 24 servings (adjust to suit your family!)
I like to serve this with a simple garden salad or sautéed green beans on the side.
6 medium onions, chopped (or 2-16 oz. bags of frozen chopped onion)
8 cloves garlic (or 3 T. minced garlic)
1/4 cup avocado oil
4 (1-lb.) cans tomatoes
4 cans (15-oz. each) tomato sauce
3 T. parsley flakes
2 T. coconut sugar 
1 1/2-2 T. real salt
1 T. plus 1 tsp. Oregano (or 4 drops essential oil of Oregano)
1 T. plus 1 tsp. Basil (alternatively, use 1/2 cup packed fresh Basil, chopped finely; or 4 drops essential oil of Basil)
4 lbs. ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1 pkg (2-lb.) spaghetti 
grated Parmesan cheese or Manchego (sheep) cheese

1. In a Dutch oven, heat avocado oil; add garlic and onions and cook until onion is tender.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients except ground beef, spaghetti, and cheese.
3. Heat sauce to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
4.  In a large skillet, cook and stir ground beef until brown.  Drain off fat. 
5.  Stir meat into sauce mixture, and simmer 20-30 minutes longer.
6.  While the meat sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti. 
7.  Serve meat sauce mixture over hot spaghetti with Parmesan or Manchego (sheep) cheese.

If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you! Share in the comments below.

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