Very Veggie Spaghetti



Few Americans get in the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Consuming five servings of produce day in and day out can be daunting, especially if you’re a toddler, or a first grader… or an adult. This recipe incorporates a variety of veggies into a tried and true favorite that even the kiddos will enjoy. Combine them with lycopene-rich crushed tomatoes and you’ve got a recipe for health (admittedly, that pun was very much intended).

Very Veggie Spaghetti



½ medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
½ bell pepper, diced
1 lb ground pork
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, anywhere from a smidgen to a generous dash
1 tsp dried basil or 3/4 cup fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
¾ cup button mushrooms, sliced16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil

balsamic vinegar, a healthy drizzle
1 cup kale, rinsed and packed (feel free to substitute fresh or frozen spinach as desired)whole wheat pasta


Salt and boil water for pasta. [Tip: Add in a bay leave to add flavor to the pasta.]

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and bell pepper to oil. Once onion starts to become translucent add ground pork, dried basil (wait until the end if you’re using fresh basil), salt and peppers to taste.

Once meat is mostly browned, add garlic an mushrooms into vegetable/pork mixture. Cook for 2 minutes. Add in canned tomatoes, kale and balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook until kale is wilted, but retains a vibrant green color.

Fun fact: Cooking tomatoes helps to release lycopene from its plant cells. Lycopene is a carotenoid (yup, that’s the same class of phytochemicals found in carrots) and may help to reduce prostate cancer. This is great news considering prostate cancer is the most common cause of death in men over 75. 



Being a farmer makes for great eating. You get the freshest ingredients and you definitively know that none of your produce is laced with pesticides or herbicides.  However, being a farmer in south Texas gives you the frustrating “opportunity” of trying to grow food in heat that rivals that of the bowels of Hades.

One side effect of this heat is tough squash skins. Any day over 90 degrees will cause the skins of your squash (especially those of yellow squash) to turn into rubbery, impenetrable coverings that most would consider close to inedible. Here’s a good test to see where your squash skins are at: try to pierce into your squash with your fingernail, if you can’t puncture the skin, even with your best lacquered thumb nail, you’ve got hard squash.

I love the skins of fruits and vegetables because they provide fiber, micronutrients and antioxidants, so here’s how I cook our yellow squash on hot days when they’re tougher than John Wayne in a street fight.

Simmered Squash with Parmesan and Fresh Herbs

Prep Time: 10 mins, tops

Cook Time: 15 mins


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs fresh squash (any yellow variety works well), sliced with ends removed
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup whole, or cream if you wanna go gangbusters
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano regiano
  • 3/4 cup fresh herb (basil, sage, thyme, tarragon, parsley and rosemary do nicely)
  1. Heat butter of medium-low heat in a large pan.
  2. Once butter melts, add squash and onion. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Drop heat down to low and add milk (or cream, you sly devil you) and Parm reg. Continue to simmer for two or so more minutes until sauce thickens but before milk starts to curdle.
  4. Remove from heat and add fresh herb of your choice.