Spaghetti with Garlic, Parmesan, Broccoli and Wilted Spinach

Spaghetti with Garlic, Parmesan, Broccoli, and Wilted Spinach

My 12 year-old son suddenly decided last week to become a vegetarian. I thought it would be like all his other ideas and last about 24 hours and then be forgotten. I was wrong. He wrote up a contract with himself that for now he will eat eggs, dairy, and seafood while getting used to not eating any land animals but hoping to slowly eliminate those too in the future.

I am a veggie hating person. I pretend to like them for my children but if I get the chance I am always passing them off to them as quickly as possible. One friend suggested that I hated vegetables because I never had them cooked and seasoned well. That is a possibility. I do not like raw vegetables, including tomatoes. But, in support of him I am going to try to do this.

Part of the problem is I grocery shop once a month except for a few fresh items during the month. Of course he made his announcement after I purchased large amounts of chicken, sausage and pork. I will be trying to balance all of this as carefully as possible without having to go out and buy all new foods. Thankfully, I have some things on hand to start with and am a bit creative.

I hope you will continue to follow along in our adventures in food especially seeing if we can turn this veggie hating Mommy into a veggie lover. I am thinking of myself right now as The Reluctant Vegetarian.


For my first vegetarian meal I think I did very well. This was simple and ready in under 30 minutes. That is my goal to not create overly complicated meals but rather meals that are simple and flavorful. I even ate my entire serving and had seconds! For me that is a big deal. Both children ate two servings and we had just a little bit leftover.

The cracked black pepper really helped make this dish. It added lots of flavor and a bit of spice without being too spicy. One tip is to use freshly grated cheese in all recipes. Thought bagged pre-shredded and grated cheeses are a time saver they are coated to keep the cheese from sticking together in the package. Much of the great natural flavor of the cheese is lost when it is coated. It only takes a minute or two to shred 8 oz. of cheese on a box grater. Well worth the time for the extra flavor and it is usually less expensive!

I served this dish with a side green salad.

For my mostly gluten-free son I substituted his gluten-free pasta for our spaghetti.


  • 1 (16 oz) box of thin spaghetti
  • 6 oz. Parmesan, freshly shredded (Do NOT use pre-shredded cheese. It is not as flavorful.)
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets and stems cut into rounds
  • 3 oz. baby spinach
  • Freshly ground cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder, to taste
  • 3-5 Tablespoons of water from cooked spaghetti


  1. Steam broccoli to fork tender in a saucepan.
  2. Boil spaghetti according to package directions to al dente.
  3. 2-3 minutes before pasta is to be done cooking add spinach to pot and stir.
  4. Once pasta and spinach are cooked remove 3-5 Tablespoons of water from the pot and set aside.
  5. Drain pasta and then return to pan. Add butter and cracked black pepper to pasta and toss to melt butter. If butter does not melt return to heat for a minute or two tossing until butter melts. Add 3 Tablespoons of the spaghetti water to the dish as  the butter is melting and toss. If it is not thin enough “sauce” add remaining 2 Tablespoons of water and toss.
  6. Add broccoli and garlic powder to dish. Stir well.
  7. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
  8. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese sprinkle over the top.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jasmine S. says:

    I love that he wrote up a contract! He sounds very committed. 🙂 And this vegetarian meal looks great!


    1. koolaidmoms says:

      He is very serious about this and when he was able to fully articulate why he wanted to do it I should have known he was serious.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.