Spaghetti alla Magnolia Grove

In addition to practicing Mindfulness at the “De-stress your life, Recuperate Peace and Happiness” summer retreat at Magnolia Grove this summer; we also practiced a vegan lifestyle.***

It was absolutely delicious.

Most meals were Vietnamese. We did a lot of stocks and broths with some of the most beautiful home grown veggies you have ever tasted.  There was much excitement however the morning we had veggie burgers and fries for breakfast – the monastics loved the change to American food – and everyone was also excited the day spaghetti was served for dinner.

My working meditation was in the kitchen helping with clean up and cutting vegetables. Spaghetti day, I saw enough of the cooking process to be able to share this recipe.  (I would love to be able to share more vietnamese dishes but I’ll work on those when I go back.)  Perhaps it was just a nice change for our palates after a few days of similar soy and sriracha accented dishes but the spaghetti was fantastic.

If you are in the mood for a wonderful Vegan spaghetti, give this a go as it is simple, delicious and very satisfying.

And if you are not a super strict vegan…I think this would be delicious with a little fresh mozzarella tossed with the pasta at the end.

Spaghetti alla Magnolia Grove


  • Pasta – pick your favorite, like whole grain penne, spaghetti etc…
  • Cremini or Button Mushrooms – 1 pound, Slice the caps, rough dice the stems
  • Cherry tomatoes – one pint, sliced in half
  • Black olives – One 10 – 16 ounce Jar, pitted and sliced in half
  • Green Olives – One 10 – 16 ounce Jar, pitted and sliced in half
  • Broccoli – 2 to three heads, sliced in thin strips
  • Fresh Basil – Torn into pieces, as much as you like but I would do about 10 leaves
  • Olive Oil – 2 Tablespoons
  • Garlic Chopped – 1 Tablespoon
  • Spinach – 2 handfuls
  • One yellow onion – chopped
  • Sugar – 1 Tablespoon
  • Kosher Salt – to taste
  • Black Pepper – to taste
  • Hunts tomato sauce* – I would do 2 or 3 of the 16 ounce cans, just depends on how much Sauce you like.


Cook Pasta as directed in boiling salted water.  When just done, so almost perfect, remove from stove and drain.  Toss with a bit of olive oil to ensure pasta does not stick together.

Feel free to store the pasta in a ziplock in the fridge to use within a day if you like.


Lightly heat 1.5 Tablespoons of olive oil in large stock pan.  Add garlic, mushroom stems and onion.  Cook until onion is fairly translucent.**

Add broccoli and sliced mushrooms and cook until broccoli is lightly cooked – it should still have a decent crunch to it – probably about 4 – 6 minutes. (Heat might need to be turned up a little bit at this point.)

Next add cherry tomatoes and spinach.  Cook for about 1 minute.

Add Hunts Sauce.  Let the sauce come to a simmer. When it simmers, add basil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Adjust seasoning based on taste.

If you want this spicy, cayenne or crushed red pepper would be pretty delicious.  If you prefer a sweeter sauce – like many Kansas City Italian restaurants serve, (Our restaurant is an exception to this…) – more sugar can be added at this point but I believe 1 tablespoon should round this out very nicely.

Once the salt and pepper are to your taste, the sauce is pretty much ready at this point.

To Finish

Just toss the pasta with the sauce and you are good to go.


*Hunts Tomato Sauce – from a humble chefs perspective – is what I believe to be a perfect base for many at home tomato based sauces. No need for all of the fancy canned tomatoes and breaking a budget on San Marzano because they are supposed to be awesome, Hunts really is one of the best to start for everything from Italian sauces to chili.

**To make this even more robust, one to two cups of a dry white wine could be added at this point.  Something like a Pinot Grigio would be perfect.  Let the wine reduce by ¾’s before continuing to the next step.

***A Vegan lifestyle supports the 5th Mindfulness Training of Nourishment and healing.  I have copied this below.  In my practice, I am not a vegan.  When I do chose to eat meat, I do think about how it was processed, where it came from and attempt to eat local, organic and as sustainable as possible.  I’m sure I’ll post more about some food politics in the future but that is my approach today.  I do love this idea of consumption and believe putting good in the body is essential for a happy self.

 Nourishment & Healing

“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.”

Link to all 5 mindfulness trainings can be found here.

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One Response to “Spaghetti alla Magnolia Grove”

  1. Joel
    September 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    That recipe looks both delicious and healthy! Those are the best kind. Also, thanks so much Grant for introducing me to Mindful eating. It adds a whole new dimension to the enjoyment of fueling the body. Thanks again, ~dad

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