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Do your or your kids love Chef Boyardee or Spaghettios, but don’t love how it isn’t healthy?  Here is a great homemade copycat pasta & sauce that’s VEGAN! Check out these ideas & hacks for whole food plant based recipes.  Dinners will never be the same and it’s way better than a can.  Nutritarian, Forks Over Knives, & Eat to Live compliant.  Make it gluten-free with bean flour pasta.

My kids used to love Chef Boyardee canned pastas before we went plant-based. It was pretty much the go-to for their school lunches. I had started making vegan chili mac instead which was close, but still not 100% whole food plant based. I really wanted to make a completely healthy vegan copy of Chef Boyardee, but wasn’t sure how.

Then I found this recipe from Thriving Home Blog and knew I could turn it into an even healthier, vegan, whole food plant based version. I took out the sugar and cheese, used low sodium ingredients, and it turned out AMAZING.

How to make Chef Boyardee Whole Food Plant Based

Regular Chef Boyardee is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, processed white pasta, meat, cheese, cream and is NOT healthy. This homemade healthy vegan recipe uses only tomato sauce, tomato paste, carrots, onions, vegetable broth, whole grain pasta, and spice. Super duper healthy and YUMMY.

I also used frozen carrots & chopped onion to save prep time, but you can definitely use fresh.

vegan chef boyardee homemade recipe

Kid-tested Healthy Vegan Chef Boyardee

This big test is with my oldest son who was very much addicted to the Chef Boyardee before we started eating whole food plant based. I made this in the hopes that he would like it, but you never know with him. I told him I had made a healthy, vegan version of Chef Boyardee and he seemed excited. He tried it and said “This is GREAT!” and even had a second helping. YAY!

It’s sometimes hard to find enough variety of foods to send with the kids to school so that they aren’t eating the same thing every week. I can NOW send them to school with a healthy plant-based version of Chef Boyardee and the other kids won’t know the difference! Woot woot!

I like using Kid’s Bento Boxes for their school lunches so they can have a variety of food and it keeps them warm or cold and separated so there is no mess! We have 2 different ones – this one and this one.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you click a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love and it’s what helps keep this blog going!

SpaghettiOs Copycat Sauce

This sauce also reminds me of SpaghettiOs or dinosaur o’s. I’m not sure if I’m dreaming or not, but I think I remember having some sort of canned pasta when I was young that was like SpaghettiOs, but Dinosaurs? My mom only seemed to buy it when I was sick, especially when I had Strep Throat. I remember eating bowls of it when I was in bed.

This version is a much healthier version, so if you find some small pasta shape or O’s that would be cool to use!

Ingredients

  • 8 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped onion or fresh
  • 1/2 cup frozen sliced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 16 ounces whole wheat pasta like rotini, penne, or elbows

Fast and easy to make Homemade Chef Boyardee

It’s really fast and easy to make and you can even save prep time by using frozen chopped carrots and onions. I would say though, double check your carrots to make sure there aren’t any tops in your bag. The last bag I bought had SEVERAL carrot tops I had to pick out.

Basically you throw everything in a pot besides the pasta, heat to boiling, then let simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Then use an immersion hand blender to make the soup creamy. You can ladle the soup into a blender if you don’t have an immersion blender, but be very careful! Hot soup likes to splatter.

I really recommend getting an immersion blender if you plan to make this often or any other creamy soup. You just need a basic one – mine only has 2 speeds, but I’ve yet to even use the higher speed!

Lastly, add the pasta and return to a simmer for 10-15 more minutes or until pasta is tender and sauce is thick. The sauce will continue to thicken after cooking as well.

Make it Gluten-Free

Use a bean flour pasta like chickpea, soybean, or red lentil to make this pasta gluten-free and even higher protein. My favorite bean flour pasta that tastes most like regular pasta is soybean.

More whole food plant based recipes you might like:

Do your or your kids love Chef Boyardee or Spaghettios, but don’t love how it isn’t healthy? Here is a great homemade copycat pasta & sauce that’s VEGAN! Check out these ideas & hacks for whole food plant based recipes. Dinners will never be the same and it’s way better than a can. Nutritarian, Forks Over Knives, & Eat to Live compliant. Make it gluten-free with bean flour pasta.

If you try this recipe, please comment below and let me know what you think!

Healthy Vegan Chef Boyardee

My kids used to love Chef Boyardee, but since going plant-based I hadn't yet found a healthy, good tasting substitute. Until now! This recipe has been adapted from Thriving Home Blog – Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Chef Boyardee, Vegan, whole food plant based
Servings: 8
Calories: 246kcal
Author: Kim Murphy

Ingredients

  • 8 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped onion or fresh
  • 1/2 cup frozen sliced carrots or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 16 ounces whole wheat pasta like rotini, penne, or elbows

Instructions

  • Pour vegetable broth into a large pot. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaf, onion, carrots, minced garlic, oregano, & garlic powder. Stir to combine.
  • Heat until boiling and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  • Remove pot from heat and use an immersion hand blender to blend sauce until creamy.
  • Bring sauce to simmer again and add in pasta. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked and sauce is thick. Sauce will thicken more after cooking.

Notes

If you don’t have an immersion hand blender, you can ladle to mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.  Be VERY careful, because hot soup likes to splatter easily.  I really recommend getting a hand blender!

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 197mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2297IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 3mg
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