Quality Living Styles

Delicious Pasta Recipes, Vegan and Vegetarian

photo of cook, Naju

Naju Firfirey

Naju's Spaghetti

This dish, learned it from my neighbor and good friend, Naju Firfiree, has become a family favorite. We lived next door to each other in Cape Town, South Africa when our children were very young. Naju is an excellent cook and baker as well as being a very caring mother and grandmother.

One afternoon my son, Shyam, 6 years old at that time spent the evening with her as we had to run an errand.

When we went to fetch Shyam from Naju's home he was enjoying dinner. He had not quite finished, so he brought it home with him.

The dish smelled so good and looked very appetizing. We all stole small bites and found it so delicious. It was tasty and spicy and really, really yummy. At that time I felt embarrassed to tell Naju that we had all sampled the dinner she had given Shyam so I never asked her for the recipe.

However I tried imitating it and I think I was quite successful as my family liked my version of it as well. We always called it Naju's Spaghetti. Very recently I told Naju about all of this and she has kindly given me her recipe as well. This dish is very easy to make, yet satisfying and filling.


  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed ginger (optional)
  • ½ cup onion cubed
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 chopped button mushrooms
  • 3 finely sliced Serrano chi1ies or whatever is available
  • 1 small green and 1 yellow zucchini
  • ½ each of red and green peppers
  • salt or to taste
  • 2 tblsp. butter (optional)
  • 2 tblsp, cheddar cheese. Vegans can substitute non-dairy cheese or ignore this step
  • A few springs of coriander/cilantro


  • Boil spaghetti as per instructions on pack. Add salt and a small spoon of oil to prevent pasta sticking together. Strain pasta when done ensuring that it is still al denté. Set aside
  • Wash all vegetables and chop.
  • Heat oil on medium-high setting. Sauté onions then the tomatoes
  • Add garlic, chilies and ginger and stir. When tomatoes appear soft add the other vegetables. Cook for about 6 min.
  • The vegetable should still be al denté with just the tomatoes mushy. Add salt
  • To the contents of pot, add boiled spaghetti and mix thoroughly. Add cheese and butter and mix again
  • Turn off the heat and add sliced cilantro leaves to garnish. Taste and adjust salt if necessary
  • Serve with a salad and side dishes.
Spaghetti on plate with side dishes

Spaghetti on plate with side dishes

vegetables mixed with spaghetti in pot

Vegetables mixed with spaghetti in pot

vegetables cooking

Vegetables cooking in pot

Although I have used the vegetables described in the recipe, any vegetables may be used and in proportions that you prefer. Vegetables of varying colors add to the splendor of the dish. You may use just one vegetable as well. Serve this pasta dish with a salad, garlic bread, sauteéd olives or any side dish that you prefer.

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