This quarantine weeknight spaghetti is made with gluten free noodles and loaded with flavorful ingredients you likely already have in the kitchen.
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At this point in 2020, I’ve lost count of both the day of self-quarantine we’re on and the bowls of this spaghetti I’ve consumed. When everything in life feels so uncertain, I turn to pasta.
Quarantine friendly who?
You may be wondering, what makes this spaghetti any more “quarantine friendly” than any other pasta dish?
This recipe uses minimal fresh produce (because, self-isolation) but packs in half a bag of frozen spinach, a whole can of pre-made marinara sauce (helloooo Sandra Lee) and plenty of protein from ground beef.
And no, we are 100% not above using a can of pre-made marinara sauce in times like these. Actually, we’re never above it.
Find a can of marinara sauce that uses minimal ingredients (tomatoes, herbs, little to no sugar) and dress it up with a few simple tricks to have your quarantine weeknight spaghetti ready in a matter of minutes.
The deal with gluten free pasta
If you’re not allergic to wheat, celiac, sensitive, or interested in gluten free pasta, feel free to keep on scrolling to the recipe. This recipe works with any kind of pasta.
Kind of like gluten free bread, gluten free pasta gets a bad wrap.
It’s not all that exciting in comparison to traditional pasta when it’s made with things like quinoa and brown rice. I mean, quinoa and brown rice are awesome but, we want pasta. Eggy, glutinous, pasta.
And for awhile, I thought I had to give up on pasta for good.
But after doing lots of recipe testing, and experimenting with many different kinds of gluten free pasta, I’ve found some tricks that make the whole process a lot tastier:
- Listen to the cook time – before I know about my wheat allergy, I always cooked my (normal gluten filled) pasta al dente. Meaning, I under cooked it just a bit. I do not recommend cooking gluten free pasta al dente. Listen to the time recommended on the box, it needs every minute to break down all that heavy starch.
- Use a brand you trust – I usually go for Barilla’s gluten free pasta, but have had luck with some other brands. It’s important to try a few different brands and figure out which blend (quinoa, chickpea, brown rice, etc.) you prefer.
- Make sure your sauce is super flavorful – I know this seems like a no brainer, but it’s really important when your noodles aren’t as light and pillowy as traditional pasta.
Why you should be mixing your pasta with your sauce BEFORE serving
If you’ve ever cooked pasta with an Italian, you know this one is a non-negotiable. Similar to sprinkling some freshly grated parmesan on top to finish, this is an essential step in the pasta making process.
This quarantine weeknight spaghetti may be easy to make, but we’re taking all the necessary steps to make it unforgettable.
There are a few good reasons why you should be folding your pasta into your sauce before you serve:
- That starchy pasta water – if you’re using a colander to strain your noodles from the water, you’re losing all that starchy pasta water. Using tongs to scoop your pasta out of the water (instead of draining) allows you to reserve some of that wonderful water that can really transform your sauce.
- Less dishes – while we’re on the topic, a pair of tongs take up waaaay less space in your dishwasher than a colander. Mixing the pasta with the sauce means one less dish to do.
- Ultimate flavor – the two reasons above are great, but let’s be honest, the real reason you want to mix these together is for ultimate flavor. This step really marries all the flavors of the sauce with the pasta.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: just because we’re gluten free, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy all the carbs!
Whether it’s this quarantine friendly weeknight spaghetti or another kind of carb, they’re all delicious in my book.
Here’s a collection of my top 3 favorite gluten free carb-loading recipes:
This recipe does not contain the following allergens (read more about this on my disclosure page):
Click on the Allergen Icons above to find more allergy friendly recipes in that category.
Quarantine Friendly Weeknight Spaghetti
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta, Spaghetti
- Method: Boiled
- Cuisine: Italian, American
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3–4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 10 oz frozen spinach
- 1 16 oz jar of marinara sauce
- 1 package gluten free spaghetti
- In a large saucepan add diced onion and cook over medium high heat until it begins to turn translucent. Add in ground beef and cook until browned and fully cooked. Add in garlic and frozen spinach. Cook for a few minutes then add the marinara sauce.
- Lower heat to low and simmer sauce just until the marinara sauce is warm. Boil water for pasta and cook as instructed on packaging (making sure to salt your water.)
- Using tongs, add the pasta to your sauce, allowing some of the pasta water into the pan as well. Mix well and serve with fresh herbs and/or parmesan cheese.
Keywords: Quarantine Friendly Weeknight Spaghetti, Weeknight spaghetti