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Serve these homemade Spaghetti O’s for a quick and easy vegetarian family dinner! The one-pot pasta recipe only requires a handful of pantry staples, and it’s ready for the table in about 30 minutes. Plus, even the kids will agree — it’s so much better than the canned stuff! Garnish each bowl of noodles and tomato sauce with Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs, and offer garlic bread and a simple green salad on the side.

Close overhead shot of a white bowl full of homemade spaghetti o's on a wooden dinner table

Spaghettios Pasta

If you’re not familiar with this childhood classic, SpaghettiOs are a canned pasta product originally made by Campbell’s, but you can also find similar versions from companies like Chef Boyardee, Trader Joe’s, and Franco-American. You might even remember the catch phrase, “uh oh spaghetti o’s!”

At their most basic, spaghettios are simply o-shaped noodles in a sweet tomato and cheese sauce. Other options include meatballs, hotdogs (franks), or alphabet-shaped pasta. The canned spaghetti is a perennial kid-favorite, and today we’re turning it into homemade spaghetti o’s that the whole family will enjoy!

Side shot of two bowls of spaghetti os on a table with salad and bread

Are SpaghettiOs healthy?

Yes, homemade spaghetti o’s are definitely a healthy, vegetarian meal option. They only require a few simple ingredients, do not include dairy, and don’t have any of the extra additives, preservatives, or artificial flavorings that you’ll find in canned products (like high fructose corn syrup, modified cheddar cheese, vegetable oil, or canola oil). The recipe yields a total of about 5 cups, and each 1-cup portion includes about 376 calories, 10 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, and 7 grams of sugar.

Adding tomato paste to a pot

Ingredients for Homemade Spaghetti Os

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of spaghettios. As always, specific measurements and complete step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: to sauté the garlic and add flavor to the sauce.
  • Garlic: I use fresh minced garlic cloves, but you can substitute with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder in the sauce.
  • Tomato paste: thickens the sauce and gives it a rich tomato flavor.
  • Water: the liquid base that creates the delicious tomato sauce and cooks the noodles.
  • Ditalini: or try another small pasta shape, like rings, ABC alphabet shapes, or stelline.
  • Kosher salt: to enhance the other flavors in the dish and to season the pasta.
  • Sugar: balances the acidity of the tomatoes and gives the dish a more complex flavor.
Pouring uncooked ditalini pasta into a pot

How to Make Spaghetti O’s

It doesn’t get much easier than this one-pot meal that’s on the table in 30 minutes. Plus, the affordable pasta dish is a quick family favorite vegetarian dinner that’s perfect for Meatless Monday! Moms and kids can both agree on this one…

  1. Cook the garlic in olive oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove until golden, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute.
  3. Pour pasta, water, salt, and sugar.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is at a gentle simmer.
  5. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is tender and much of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Taste and season with additional salt or sugar, if necessary.
  7. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with optional toppings.
Close overhead image of a spoon in a white bowl of homemade spaghettios

What to Serve with SpaghettiOs

This works as a healthy kids entree at lunch, an easy afternoon snack, or a family-friendly dinner. Pair the easy spaghettios recipe with any of these simple sides (don’t forget your daily vegetables!):

Two bowls of spaghettios on a table with side salad and bread

Storage

Let the spaghetti O’s cool to room temperature. Pack in an airtight container. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can freeze the pasta and sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months; however, it’s important to note that pasta swells when frozen and has a mushy texture when thawed.

To reheat the Spaghetti Os, warm the pasta and sauce in a saucepan over low heat just until they reach the desired temperature. Stir regularly! You can also reheat individual portions in a microwavable bowl in microwave ovens for about 1 minute on high.

Square side shot of two bowls of homemade spaghettios on a table

Recipe Variations

  • Use any small noodle shape that you like. I prefer ditalini, but other good options include stelline (stars), pastina, ABCs alphabet shapes, and rings (the classic Spaghetti O’s shape).
  • For extra protein, add mini meatballs, diced hot dogs (franks), or even shredded rotisserie chicken to the pot.
  • Canned spaghettiOs have a fairly sweet tomato sauce. If you’d like your homemade version to be equally sweet, you’ll need to increase the sugar to taste.
  • If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves, you can substitute with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder in the sauce.
Overhead image of hands eating a bowl of homemade spaghetti os on a dinner table with side salad and bread

Tips for the Best Spaghetti O’s Recipe

  • Grate the garlic on a microplane or rasp so that you don’t have big chunks of garlic in the smooth sauce.
  • Stir the pot regularly so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • This recipe yields a fairly small pot of Spaghetti O’s, so double all of the ingredients if you’re feeding a larger family.
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, oregano, or thyme), or crushed red pepper flakes (for a spicy kick).
Close up front shot of a bowl of homemade spaghetti o's on a table

More Easy Pasta Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of a bowl of homemade spaghetti o's

One-Pot Homemade Spaghetti O’s

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 2 – 4 people (about 5 cups total)
Calories 376 kcal
Serve these homemade Spaghetti O's for a quick and easy one-pot vegetarian family dinner that's ready for the table in about 30 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated (or sub with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups dry ditalini (or other small pasta)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional garnish: crushed red pepper flakes; grated Parmesan cheese; chopped fresh herbs like parsley or basil

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute (be careful, as it might splatter).
  • Add the water, pasta, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Cook, stirring frequently so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, until the pasta is tender and much of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt or sugar.
  • Serve in individual bowls and garnish with crushed red pepper flakes, grated Parmesan cheese, or fresh herbs.

Notes

  • Use any small noodle shape that you like. I prefer ditalini, but other good options include stelline (stars), pastina, ABCs alphabet shapes, and rings (the classic Spaghetti O’s shape).
  • For extra protein, add mini meatballs, diced hot dogs (franks), or even shredded rotisserie chicken to the pot.
  • Canned spaghettiOs have a fairly sweet tomato sauce. If you’d like your homemade version to be equally sweet, you’ll need to increase the sugar to taste.
  • If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves, you can substitute with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder in the sauce.
  • Grate the garlic on a microplane or rasp so that you don’t have big chunks of garlic in the smooth sauce.
  • Stir the pot regularly so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • This recipe yields a fairly small pot of Spaghetti O’s, so double all of the ingredients if you’re feeding a larger family.
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, oregano, or thyme), or crushed red pepper flakes (for a spicy kick).

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 376kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 10gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gSodium: 980mgPotassium: 495mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 519IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: homemade spaghettios, spaghetti o’s, spaghettios, spaghettios pasta
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Blair, I am so pleased to find this recipe! At 62, I’m no kid but I often want food which is super simple and bland although I can always season one serving if I wish. I’m planning on making this this week but I had a concern about what pasta to use. So far I’m not finding really small pasta like the rings, abcs, stars, and so on. I may have to settle for elbow macaroni or the little salad shells. How would I adjust the recipe More or less liquid? More or less pasta?
    Would I measure out 2 cups of elbows? Thanks for the recipe and the help!

    1. That’s great, Marion! Yes, the elbows should work fine. I would measure out 2 cups of the dry elbows. You probably won’t need to adjust the amount of liquid, but you can always add a bit more water towards the end if you want to thin the sauce. Just see how it goes! The only difference with the elbows is that you might need to adjust the cooking time. You’ll know it’s done when the pasta is tender. Hope you enjoy!