African-American heritage holiday spaghetti

Ethnic meals during the holidays can be healthy. Make spaghetti healthier for the holidays and every day.

It’s common for traditional African-American Heritage holiday meals to include Spaghetti with meat sauce as part of the main entree. In many families, this practice is rooted in Southern African-American traditions from a variety of regions, but you can make your holiday spaghetti with meat sauce just as tasty with lower fat this season.

Switching from ground beef to ground turkey can be done gradually. Begin the switch by using half lean ground beef and half lean ground turkey. As time goes by, decrease the amount of ground beef, add more ground turkey. You can use lean or extra lean turkey.

For those who are used to the traditional dark color of beef, the light color of turkey meat sauce may call for a quick trick that works without changing the flavor of your meat sauce, but will darken cooked ground turkey so that it looks more like ground beef.

  • Add a liberal amount of paprika when browning ground turkey in addition to all the other seasonings.
  • The paprika will darken the meat.
  • The amount of paprika used will not alter the flavor of the meat or sauce at all. No measuring necessary.

Go heavier on the meat mixture seasonings:

  • oregano
  • green peppers
  • onions (onion powder can be used if you don’t like onions)
  • add tomato paste thinned-out with water

To make your meal even healthier, Spaghetti pasta made with whole wheat is an alternative to its enriched flour counterpart.  

Michigan State University Extension offers classes and presentations on issues related to disease prevention and management or other issues of interest to families. To learn more, contact a MSU Extension educator in your area.

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