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Dr Rupy’s Spaghetti

Dr Rupy's nutrition-packed pasta boasts a vegan ragu-style sauce made with tofu and plenty of fragrant spices.

From the book


The earthy Byzantine spice mix that you find in Venetian rice dishes reminds me of my mother’s masala blends. These spice blends are heavenly to eat as well as nourishing and I wanted to try incorporating them into a pasta dish. The concentrated plant chemicals found in herbs and spices are fantastic for inflammation balance and metabolic health. They also add diversity to your weekly diet, which is why they count toward the thirty different plants we should all be consuming per week. I’ve also packed this with prebiotic-rich ingredients like onion and celery, which slow the digestion of carbohydrates and reduce the spike in blood sugar associated with heavy pasta dishes. The alliums take on the polyphenol-rich spices well and the pistachios give a lovely extra texture to the dish.

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120g wholewheat spaghetti
160g cavolo nero, stems removed and leaves finely sliced
10g basil leaves, chopped, plus extra whole leaves to serve
For the spicy ground tofu:
300g extra-firm tofu (see Note)
1 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp date molasses or maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 (160g) white onion, finely diced
20g tomato purée
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan.

First dry out the tofu by crumbling it into a roasting tin and mashing it with a fork into small pieces. Place in the oven for 5 minutes to dry out any excess moisture but remove it just before the tofu starts to stick to the tin.

Add the remaining spicy ground tofu ingredients to the tin and mix thoroughly. Spread out into an even layer and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The tofu should be dry and charred in places, resembling cooked ground beef in both look and texture.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion with some seasoning and fry gently for 5 minutes until soft. Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and vinegar, and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes until sweet and thick.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water.

Loosen the sauce with the reserved pasta cooking water. Add the cavolo nero, cover with a lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until wilted.

To finish, stir most of the spicy ground tofu and the chopped basil through the tomato sauce, then add the drained spaghetti and toss everything together. Serve in bowls, garnished with the remaining crispy tofu and a few extra basil leaves.

Note: To improve the texure of tofu, wrap in kitchen paper, place a cast iron pan (or other heavy weight) on top and leave for 30 minutes.


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From the book: Dr Rupy Cooks: Healthy. Easy. Flavour

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