Fall Back on this Easy Pasta Dish


So, you want to cook a healthy meal but your schedule is crazy, you have a picky eater and you are exhausted. You may want to give Fall Back Spaghetti a try.

I call this pasta dish Fall Back Spaghetti because it truly is my cooking lifesaver: It is quickly assembled and well liked by family and friends. Fall Back Spaghetti is a good choice to take to a potluck or to a loved one who is recovering from an illness.   I’ve made vats of it to serve at a program for area families who are homeless, where it was well received.
The recipe calls for a larger than usual amount of lean meat, and  a modest amount of whole wheat pasta, which is much healthier than white pasta for those who watch blood sugar or cholesterol. No one has ever figured out that the pasta is whole wheat.

I  adapted this one pot recipe from the food blog Skinnytaste but made a lot of changes.

I switched the spaghetti from white to whole wheat for extra fiber, added a bit of Parmesan and red pepper flakes to punch up the flavor. To lower saturated fat, I subbed ground turkey breast for ground beef, and added a tablespoon of olive oil to compensate for the leaner meat.

The serving size of 1 1/2  cup is filling because of the whole wheat pasta.  To make the serving size even larger and to add nutrition,  I sometimes add lightly sautéed chopped onion, celery or green pepper to the dish before it is cooked. Sautéed mushrooms would also be a good addition if your family, unlike mine, loves mushrooms.

Fall Back Spaghetti will last up to three days in the fridge, and can be frozen. For a vegetarian version, simply leave out the meat.

A word of caution: Try not to make Fall Back Spaghetti so often that you get tired of it. I used to make it so much that I finally had to skip a few months before putting it back on the menu.

Fall Back Spaghetti

One dish, high fiber spaghetti casserole
Servings 5


  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast lean ground turkey can be substituted
  • 8 oz. thin whole wheat spaghetti broken in half
  • 28 oz. low sugar spaghetti sauce (I use Rao’s) or homemade may need to use a little more than one jar of sauce, depending on size
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery optional
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil if using ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt optional
  • 2 Cups water or enough to completely cover spaghetti


  • In a big pot, saute onion in a little olive oil. Add ground turkey breast to pot. Cook until just done on medium low, stirring to prevent sticking. Drain. Then, add pasta to pot. Next, add spaghetti sauce, a tablespoon of olive oil, Parmesan and red pepper flakes, optional extra vegetables and stir. Then, add enough water to pan so that pasta is completely submerged. (This is very important - pasta must be covered in liquid to cook properly.)
    Bring spaghetti and meat sauce to boil then cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Stir pasta, then cook for another 9 minutes. Test pasta for doneness, it should be chewy-tender. Let the spaghetti cool for about 15 minutes, then serve or save for later.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating