Vegetarian Homemade Hamburger Helper

I have a recipe to share, but before I post it, I want to say one thing.

Y’all. There are 80 days left in this decade. Eighty. Eight-zero. 

What do you plan to do with those eighty days? 

I am going to try and learn to meditate. Wish me luck! 

And now, the food! 

When I was a kid, I loved Hamburger Helper Lasagna. When Ian and I were first dating, I introduced him to it but replaced the hamburger with Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles because he’s been a vegetarian for religious reasons since he was a teen. Anyway, he had it and loved it just as much as I do. 

Fast forward to a few months ago, I was reading something that I can’t recall the name of now and discovered that the “enzymes” listed in the ingredients for cheese (and products using cheese) aren’t always vegetarian. More often than not, “enzymes” means animal rennet. Color me surprised and slightly pissed off. 

A LOT of the products we’d been eating had rennet in them, and we didn’t know. But we know now, and it is helping us make more informed purchases. Click this sentence to get the link to the vegetarian cheese list I use while grocery shopping.

(fyi clicking the links I post doesn’t do anything for me. I include them simply because I like you. You’re welcome.)

Because of the rennet issue, I had to figure out how to make our “special” comfort food from scratch. I know that I should have done this years ago, but I was lazy. What matters is that I have a new recipe now, and I am sharing it with y’all. I will save the witchy bits for after the recipe so that folks who don’t want that info don’t have to read it. 

Here is what you will need: 

  • 1 bag Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles
  • 8 oz mafalda pasta (if you can’t find this use bowtie. It will taste the same)
  • 1 c chopped white onion (I used frozen)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (use as much or as little as you like)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 11.5oz can low sodium V8
  • 2 c hot water
  • 2 tbsp Better Than Bouillon’s vegan “chicken” broth paste
  • 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp onion and chive cream cheese
  • mozzarella (I use BelGioioso)
  • oregano
  • basil
  • black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a pan, add onions. Saute until they are semi-translucent ( 3-5 minutes). Add garlic. Saute for another minute or two. Add the veggie crumbles. Stir to mix with the onions and garlic. 

Add in the pasta

Mix broth paste and water. 

Add V8, broth, and tomato sauce to the pan. Stir until its all mixed together. It will be soupy. That is how it is supposed to look. Add black pepper, oregano, and basil to your tastes. 

Stir so everything is well mixed, put a lid on it, and cook on medium – stirring every few minutes – for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is al dente. 

When the pasta is ready, turn off the burner, stir in the cream cheese and sprinkle/dot mozzarella on top of pasta. Cover with lid and let sit for a few minutes so the cheese can melt. 

Here are some pictures from when I made it:

See? I told you it would be a bit soupy. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid, and the starches will help the rest to thicken into a tasty sauce.

A note regarding the V8, I know it sounds meh, but, honestly, it’s a quick way to get veggies into something. An 11.5 oz can of V8 is two servings of vegetables. I tend to add it to anything that requires tomato cause. I use low sodium because it tastes better.

Now to the witchy bits:

My household had a few physical issues on the evening I made this, and I wanted to food to help bring an end to those issues.

I “drew” an Earth symbol (inverted triangle with a horizontal line through it towards to bottom point) with oregano. The symbol represents not only the element of Earth but also the physical body and nourishment (among other things), and oregano promotes peaceful energies (again, among other things). I also sprinkled a bit more oregano over the entire pan to form a pentagram. I ran out of oregano about halfway through the Pent, but the energy and intention were still there, so I kept right on with it.

The mock-Hamburger Helper was delicious and had a slightly bitter flavor – something Ian, Haggis, and I all enjoy – due to the abundance of oregano. I’m already looking forward to making it again as the days get colder. It pairs well with green beans, a salad, and Torshelgd.

Let me know if you make this! Hope you enjoy your weekend, and if you are reading this from Canada: Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!


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