February 25, 2012 § 5 Comments
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you that I’ve gone all raw or anything. While I fully admire people who eat raw food all the time, I need some warm food here and there. But I never thought I’d eat vegan, so who knows. Raw food doesn’t exactly scream tastiness to me, but I guarantee this recipe is absolutely bursting with flavor! And you have to admit, any no-cook recipe with flavor is a winner.
This raw vegan zucchini recipe is not only full of fiber and essential vitamins, but it is seriously good. I served this to my hubby one day for lunch and I don’t think he even noticed it was raw at first. It tasted that good. He practically licked the bowl clean and even asked if this was a recipe he could make on his own. Let’s be clear – there aren’t many recipes that he’s asked if he could make. This was a winner.
The tender spaghetti-like zucchini noodles absorb all the yummy goodness of the lemony garlic oil and contrast nicely with the hearty chickpeas and sweet tomatoes. This is one of those recipes that’s good after 30 minutes and fantastic after hours of chilling out and marinating.
A few notes on this recipe. The zucchini noodles with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic makes a great base. You could add anything you want. Basil and pine nuts make a nice addition. I recently added boiled cut potatoes and arugula to the mix which was just delicious. If you don’t love raw garlic
we can’t be friends just reduce to either one clove or opt for slicing it into larger chunks so you can pick it out with your fork. Likewise, if you’re not a big lemon fan you may opt to try half the lemon first.
No matter how you slice and dice it, I guarantee you’ll love it.
Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
- 2 large zucchini, peeled using a julienne peeler
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed well
- 1 pint tomatoes, halved
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the zucchini noodles using a julienne peeler. This may take a few tries to get the hang of it. I find it’s easiest by placing the zucchini flat on the cutting board and applying pressure with the julienne peeler and pulling down the length of the zucchini. You may have to clean the peeler from time to time.
- Add the halved tomatoes and rinsed chick peas to the zucchini noodles. Toss with the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and ideally several hours before serving.
February 3, 2012 § 2 Comments
A year ago I posted a chicken wing recipe for the superbowl. My how things have changed!
I’ve never made chili. To be honest, I’ve never liked chili. I was never a big beef eater so a meaty bowl of beef and beans was not on my to-do list. Becoming vegan has made me have a new appreciation for beans too. I’ve really tried to explore new ways of eating and cooking beans, expanding my palate. Everyone talks about how easy chili is to make, so this week I figured I’d give it a try. It was one of those long work days and I was craving an easy, healthy, and warming bowl of yumminess. Boy did I find it! This recipe makes a lighter chili focused on the tomatoes and beans and finishes with a nice heat from the tabasco.
What I love about soups is that you don’t need a hard fast recipe. You can experiment or work with what you’ve got on hand. You can definitely add more beans or other veggies depending on your tastes. If you like spicy, go for it with the tobasco. If you’re not sure, add it gradually.
Hearty Vegan Chili
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can white beans, rinsed well – I used Navy beans
- 1/2 can 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock, optional
- 1 can 14 oz. diced tomatoes – I used diced tomatoes with onions and garlic but you could use fire roasted, plain, basil, whatever you like
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- several dashes of tobasco to taste
- Heat oil in a large saute/stock pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 the onion, garlic, and carrots and cook several minutes until onions are tender. Add cumin, chili, and bay leaf and cook another few minutes.
- Turn heat to high and add rinsed white beans, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes. Add vegetable stock if desired for a more “soupy” chili. Reduce to low-medium once boiling.
- Cook another 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Add several dashes of tobasco depending on taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with remaining minced onion, green pepper, and optional extra dash of tobasco.
January 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
I think this might have been the first time I’ve ever made a version of arroz con pollo which is surprising given that it is one of my all time favorites. Even before going vegan I was never a huge meat eater. Chicken was about it for me when it came to meat. So whenever we would go to a cuban restaurant, I always opted for arroz con pollo. My mom would often make it at home too.
In simple terms it is basically rice with chicken – but it was so much more than that. Tender moist chicken, creamy yellow rice, and sweet peas cooked together to create a comforting bowl of yumminess. Since becoming vegan I never thought about eating this again. I figured surely without the chicken and chicken stock it would be no good. No way could it have as much flavor.
But I was wrong! I poured myself a glass of sangria (amazing by the way) and sought out to try and make a vegetarian version. It proved to be just as satisfying as a meat version, maybe even more!
This is an easy one pot meal. Always good for a busy night’s cleanup And, if you prep your veggies over the weekend, this actually cooks in about 35 minutes total, making it an easy weeknight dinner.
I opted to keep this traditional and stuck with onions, red and green peppers, and sweet green peas. I don’t know what it is about the smell of onions and peppers cooking but it has got to be one of the best combos out there. You can definitely get creative with what you have on hand, adding other veggies to the mix – mushrooms and asparagus would make delicious additions.
Also, I used Vigo yellow rice which already has the saffron and some spices mixed in meaning you don’t have to worry with buying saffron separately which can be expensive and hard to find.
I’m calling it Vegan Arroz con Pollo because let’s face it, Arroz con Vegetales just doesn’t have the same ring to it Pour yourself some red wine or sangria and get to cooking! Enjoy!
Update: Sadly, I must report this is not a fully vegan dish upon discovering that Vigo rice uses chicken. You can continue with the recipe as is for a meat free dinner. If you want to ensure it is full vegan, use 2 cups long grain white rice instead of the Vigo rice and add 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads to the vegetable stock while heating up.
Vegan “Arroz con Pollo”
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s “Essentials of Latin Cooking”
Makes about 6 bowls
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 green peppers, diced
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups Vigo yellow rice (note update above)
- 1 cup frozen sweet green peas
- 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
- lime or lemon wedge (optional)
- Mix minced garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes together and set aside. Note: if you like spicy, you can add up to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper. If you like salt, go ahead and add it in. If not, wait until the end and add salt to taste.
- Heat stock in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling then reduce to simmer. (If you’d rather not wash another pan, you can definitely just add the cold stock to the rice later).
- Heat oil in a large heavy deep saute pan that allows for lots of stirring (I use my all-clad 6 quart). Add chopped onions, red and green peppers for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add in rice and stir until rice absorbs all the liquid from the veggie mixture – several minutes. Add in the vinegar garlic mix.
- Add in heated stock, mix, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer and cover. Let sit for about 25-30 minutes until rice absorbs all liquid. You’ll need to stir several times as the rice will begin to stick to the bottom. If it does, just aggressively scrape the bottom with a steel spoon to remove.
- In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas and cover. I like my rice on the wet side. If you prefer your rice dry, keep the lid off here and stir until rice reaches consistency you’re looking for.
- Serve with a lime or lemon wedge and diced jalapeno if desired.
January 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
I have been thinking of re-creating this dish ever since visiting Candle 79 last October. The dish was a live zucchini manicotti stuffed with a mushroom olive mixture and topped with a raw tomato sauce and parsley pine nut salad. At the time, I still was not liking mushrooms very much. Boy has that changed. Mushrooms have been the star of many meals since including my Christmas Eve dinner with vegan mushroom bourguignon.
At Candle79, I thought the mushroom olive combination was delicious. I’m a big olive fan and love their briny, salty bite which masked the mushroom flavor I didn’t like at the time. Instead, what remained was just a chewy almost meaty texture which I welcomed. I thought the dish would be great to make at home with store-bought olive tapenade. So that’s what I did.
Since Luis wasn’t a fan of the “live” part of this dish, I decided to roast the zucchini. What I didn’t realize though is that then you can’t roll them into a manicotti. They become way too flimsy cooked. So I just laid them flat but it still worked. I wanted to make this elegant dish as easy as possible to make so I made a point of making it with one baking sheet. I was looking for easy cleanup here and it worked.
The resulting dish was elegant and tasty – but it was on the small side. It did feel like a little gourmet meal though I’d suggest doubling this recipe or serving with a side or salad. I also want to try it one day with pasta. I think it would be great.
Zucchini with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Olive-Portobello Relish
Makes 4 small servings
- 2 zucchini, thinly sliced (about 6 slices per zucchini)
- 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 4 tomatoes, sliced
- 4-6 garlic cloves, roasted or raw
- 3 tbsp. pre-made olive tapenade
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- dried rosemary (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If roasting the garlic, you can put it in now. Just slice the end of it off so you have a flat top, place in a small oven safe dish, cover with olive oil and foil.
- Slice zucchini using a knife or mandolin. Slice tomatoes. Chop portobellos. Arrange all vegetables on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat all veggies. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary (optional).
- Place veggies in oven to roast about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the mushrooms and zucchini as the cook quickly. You may need to pull them out early. The mushrooms will release a lot of liquid so don’t be alarmed. You can finish the tomatoes and give them a little char by turning the oven up to broil – just watch very closely.
- Once you’ve pulled out the mushrooms, mix with the olive tapenade. Use as much as you like. Add in a few chopped garlic cloves to the mix if you like and set aside.
- Remove tomatoes and place into a food processor with a few garlic cloves. Do not add in liquid from the pan unless you need to thin out the sauce. If you have fresh herbs on hand you can add basil or parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
- To assemble place some sauce on the plate. Top with a few zucchini slices and the olive-portobello relish.
December 28, 2011 § 8 Comments
I think I’ve just had the best Christmas ever. It was definitely the best Christmas of my adult life. One reason it was so special is it was the first time that my mother-in-law spent Christmas with us. To have her here and share the holiday with us meant so much.
We played up the Christmas celebration with non-stop gatherings and food. While most Americans celebrate Christmas day as the holiday, my husband’s family celebrates Christmas Eve. For whatever reason, my family always celebrated both. Since being married, we’ve hosted Christmas Eve at our house and always do Christmas day at my parents. This Christmas Eve started with a wonderful surprise though. We got to have our good friends from Miami over for brunch. Starting Christmas off with my friends at the table, enjoying pancakes and coffee was definitely the way to kick off the celebration.
I gave my friend two options – pumpkin waffles or orange pancakes. She chose the latter so I prepared this recipe. I followed it exactly with the exception of throwing in sliced almonds instead of grinding them which added a really nice crunch. These pancakes were very cake like, and almost had a muffin texture. Everyone at the table was impressed to know they were vegan.
When all was said and done, I figured I could take a nap. But alas, I still didn’t know what I was making for dinner. I can sometimes be the ultimate procrastinator and the holidays are no exception. I didn’t make up my mind until about 2 hours prior to dinner. Sure, I’d spent countless hours picking out recipes but couldn’t actually decide until the last minute. Searching for vegan Christmas recipes was no small task, and the outlook was frankly grim. But I’m pleased to say we had a delicious feast – fit for vegans and omnivores alike!
To start I prepared these amazing butternut squash empanadas. They might have been my favorite food all night long, I’ve since enjoyed them as leftovers and they are equally delicious. Crusty pastry on the outside and a sweet and savory butternut squash filling. The thyme and caramelized onions add lots of depth and cut the sweetness. I love anything yummy inside pastry, don’t you?
The only changes I made to this recipe was almond milk instead of dairy and vegan butter instead of regular. I also was able to find empanada discs that were vegan friendly at my grocery store. Next time, I’ll definitely be doubling the recipe and putting half in the freezer to make at a later date – yum!
Along with our empanadas, we had vegan stuffed mushrooms for a starter. I have to admit the mushrooms were tricky to stuff – perhaps I should have used larger caps. Without egg or cheese its challenging to get the stuffing to stick together, but they were delicious and delicate. If I make them again, I’d brush the mushrooms with a bit of garlic infused olive oil before stuffing to give them a bit more flavor.
As for the dinner, the one certain item I knew I’d prepare was roasted potatoes at the request of my husband. We picked up a lovely variety full of vibrant colors. What to put with them was the question. In the end I decided on Smitten Kitchen’s mushroom bourguignon without pasta since we’d have the potatoes. I added roasted onions and carrots to bulk it up. Alongside, I served it with some nicely roasted asparagus.
No one, I repeat no one at the table said anything about the lack of meat. They were too busy dishing up seconds of savory mushroom bourguignon. The dish was full of dense flavors from the wine, thyme, and vegetable stock. The one problem I had with this recipe is it says to sear the mushrooms. Mine didn’t sear but rather released all their liquid immediately. I was a bit worried I’d ruined the dish but it turned out great. And what was better – with my carrots and onions already roasted, I was able to prepare this while everyone finished their appetizers. With the exception of cutting the mushrooms, I think it qualifies as a 30 minute meal. I was more than happy with the flavor given the short cooking time.
As if all this wasn’t enough, dinner was completed with the most decadent vegan cupcakes my sister brought and trembleque. I’d never made this dish before but a friend brought it to my mom’s Christmas brunch a few weeks earlier. When I learned it was vegan I was in love. It’s made with coconut milk and cornstarch and almost is like a flan but with a lighter flavor – it is simply divine.
After our never ending meal, we all relaxed and watched Christmas Vacation, a family tradition. To sit with both sides of our family laughing together was the best gift.
We all slept like babies that night, with full bellies and not a care in the world…Until the next day, when we woke up and ate even more!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
December 21, 2011 § 5 Comments
I’ve spent the better part of my evenings this past week looking for vegan Christmas recipes. Unfortunately, I haven’t found as many as I would have liked, but have found a few promising recipes. I do have to say as a side note that I’m new to Pinterest and it’s becoming slightly addicting!
In my quest for amazing vegan Christmas recipes, I stumbled across this sweet potato cauliflower soup recipe from Manifest Vegan. The recipe called my attention with it’s sweet orange color and roasted cauliflower. I made a vegan corn chowder with roasted cauliflower and loved the creamy texture the cauliflower lent. I’m usually not a big fan of sweet soups and as I was making it was a bit worried I wouldn’t like it – but boy was I wrong.
This soup was divine! Silky and creamy with just a slight sweetness from the potatoes balanced by earthy Mexican oregano. The roasted cauliflower provides nice texture and the almonds add a spicy crunch.
This is the perfect soup for a rainy or cold winter night. The spices are warming and the soup is more filling than you think. Two bowls and I was stuffed! Serve with crusty garlic bread for dipping.
Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup with Curry Spiced Almonds
- 1 head cauliflower
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 5 cups filtered water
- 1 tsp – 1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 1 tsp curry masala
- Rinse and cut cauliflower into small bite-spiced pieces. Toss with 2 tbsp olive oil or enough to coat lightly and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes until tender.
- Finely dice one onion. I used half a sweet onion and half a purple onion. Add to stockpot with 2 tbsp oil and 2 minced garlic cloves. Saute on medium heat until tender and onions are translucent.
- Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and add to stockpot. Add 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano depending on your taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the stock and water and turn heat up on medium-high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender. Once potatoes are cooked, add half the cooked cauliflower and blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Adjust seasonings as needed.
- To prepare the almonds, drizzle with a touch of oil and sprinkle curry masala. Roast at 350 for 10-15 minutes until golden.
- To serve, top soup with the remaining roasted cauliflower pieces and spiced almonds. Serve with crusty garlic bread on the side.
December 18, 2011 § 5 Comments
I’ve spent 28 years thinking I don’t like eggplant. My mom passed down this disdain for the purple veggie after years of growing up and eating eggplant parmagiana every Friday (it’s a Catholic thing). Just the sight of it is enough to make her lose her appetite. Thus, we never – not once – were served eggplant in my mom’s house.
I ventured out a few times and tried to give eggplant a chance in restaurants. Boy was I disappointed! That mushy flavorless veggie had nothing to offer me. That is until one day I was watching Giada on TV make this eggplant and pasta dish with pesto. She sauteed the eggplant in a generous amount of olive oil – dare I even say perhaps this should be called fried – and mixed with pesto. As I watched her prepare the eggplant and it turned to a caramelized color, I thought how could anything with that decadent golden color be bad? So, I figured I’d give eggplant one more go…
The result? OMG – who knew I LOVE eggplant! Like seriously love, love, love this delicious velvety creamy vegetable. Turns out, I’ve just never had it prepared properly. (Ok, being fare – what isn’t good fried up in olive oil? But still…)
And what’s even better – this recipe takes no time to prepare. This would even meet Rachel Ray’s 30 minute requirement, if that. It’s ridiculously easy and so full of flavor. Now for the real skeptic – I’ve got to make this for my mom and see if she will approve!
The trick is to add a LOT of olive oil. You’re looking for a really good coating and the eggplant just sucks the oil right up. A little salt and pepper and just let it sit and become all golden and yummy.
For the pesto, I omitted the cheese to make it vegan – this dish has so much flavor, you will not miss the parm – I promise! Just blend some garlic, toasted pine nuts, basil, and a touch more of oil together. I actually didn’t even have as much basil as the recipe called for, so I made less pesto but it was perfect. There’s not a big science here. Pesto is easy, you don’t have to get all bent out of shape measuring your ingredients. Just do what smells right
The original recipe called for trenette but I used casarecce which is a beautiful medium length pasta with an s shape – perfect for soaking up the pesto in the grooves. Once the pasta is done, mix it with the pesto and the eggplant. You might need a tad bit of pasta water to help the pesto coat all the pieces of pasta. Oh my goodness it is so rich and delicious. Enjoy!
For the original recipe, click here.
Update: I’ve made this pasta again and blended half the cooked eggplant with the pesto resulting in a creamy vegan pasta. A must try!
November 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
I love butternut squash ravioli and had been thinking about it for several weeks. One Sunday night, we were at the grocery store picking up items for the week, and with half a cooked squash in the fridge ready to roll, I thought it was as good a time as any to whip up some ravioli. I had made some sweet potato ravioli last Christmas using the wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section of the grocery story. They were pretty easy despite assembly and thought they’d be perfect for this. However, I forgot wontons have egg, so that was out. But then I thought, why not make stuffed shells? Traditionally stuffed shells are full of cheese and the like but why not stuff with sweet butternut squash?
So that’s just what I did and it really couldn’t have been easier. I took the squash I already had prepared, mashed it up, and heated it on the stove. I added a bit more salt, pepper, and nutmeg as it was heating it up just to make sure it had tons of flavor.
Meanwhile as my shells cooked in boiling salted water, I toasted the walnuts for a few minutes on the stove and set aside. Once the shells are cooked al dente, I added them to a pan with some olive oil, dried sage, pepper, and a little vegan butter to create a sauce. This takes just a few minutes and creates a little “sauce” and balances out the sweetness of the squash.
To assemble, simply remove the shells and place in a serving dish or plate. Open them and fill with the squash mixture, top with some walnuts and voila! This was so easy to make and would even serve as a fantastic appetizer for the holidays. I don’t think I’ll be messing with the hassle of ravioli again after this!
Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Toasted Walnuts
Yields 12 stuffed shells
- 12 jumbo pasta shells
- Half a butternut squash, roasted
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
- 1/4 tsp dried sage
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- Boil shells in salted water until al dente.
- Mash up cooked squash and re-heat over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg as needed.
- Heat oil and vegan butter in pan with sage and pepper. Add cooked shells and toss.
- To assemble shells, remove from pan, stuff with squash, and top with walnuts.
November 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
Fall is slowly arriving in Orlando. We’re always late to the fall game with our widely varying temperatures. The first signs of the season are usually the warm smell of cinnamon “brooms” and the autumn display of squash and pumpkins in the grocery store. When I think of fall, my mind jumps to squash, pumpkin, and sweet potato – ravioli, gnocchi, soup, and of course, risotto are must haves.
I picked up two types of squash on my last grocery run. The first was spaghetti squash which I’d never prepared and boy was it good – a little sun-dried tomato, spinach, and pine nuts and that’s as good as anything. The other was a butternut squash. While in New York, Luis had ordered butternut squash risotto at Candle 79 and I really wanted to try and re-create it. I picked up some mushrooms too to give it some more volume and decided to top it with fried shallots.
Risotto is traditionally made with arborio rice. This particular variety has tons of starch lending to the creaminess of risotto. So why did I make mine with quinoa? Well, I wish I could say it’s my newfound healthiness but it wasn’t. The night I chose to make it, I opened the pantry and realized the bag I was sure I had was long gone. I did have quinoa though and have heard of it being used in place of rice in risotto or paella so figured I might as well give it a try. This won’t give you a creamy risotto, but it did work and created a much healthier dish.
Many recipes call for sautéing the squash stovetop but I decided to go ahead and just roast it to make it easier. Cutting it is a bit tricky. Best thing to do is cut both ends and then in half. Next, cut the peel off and then scoop out the interior.
Cut into cubes, toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, a few dashes of nutmeg and into the oven for about 40 minutes until it’s nice and tender. This recipe only needs half the squash, I used the other half to make these stuffed shells.
To make the fried shallots, heat up some oil in a small pan and fry up the thinly sliced shallots. Watch them closely and turn frequently to avoid burning. A few of mine got too much heat but most of them turned out fine.
When the squash is almost done, saute the mushrooms with some oil, onion, garlic, and thyme and set aside. I used shitake which worked very nicely in this dish but you can use any mushroom you have on hand. The mushrooms cook up in no time and lend a beautiful earthiness to the dish. Meanwhile, heat up some vegetable stock to for the risotto.
Once the squash and mushrooms are done, rinse and toast the quinoa. Toasting the quinoa enhances its nutty flavor. Once toasted, add the wine. This is a traditional step for risotto. The grain picks up all the wine flavoring before adding any stock. Once the wine is absorbed, add almost all the stock the quinoa calls for, stirring the pan. Then, begin to add a little more, one ladle at a time until the quinoa reaches a risotto like consistency – your looking for a little liquid, not a soupy dish. Lastly, you may add in a tablespoon or two of vegan butter to give it a silky finish.
Add in the mushrooms and squash and serve warm with the fried shallots on top.
If you’ve never tried quinoa, this is a nice way to try it for the first time. The vegetable stock lends a nice flavor and still showcases the quinoa’s slight nutty flavor which works nicely with the squash and mushrooms.
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Quinoa Risotto
Serves 4 bowls
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- Small package shitake mushrooms sliced (or any other kind)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- dash nutmeg (optional)
- dash thyme
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the ends off the squash and cut in half. Peel by cutting the outside layer off. On the bottom half cut in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds. Cut squash into cubes and put in a large baking dish. Toss with 2 tbsp oil, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of nutmeg (optional). Roast covered for 30-40 minutes until squash is tender. Note: You only need half the squash for this recipe. You can cook it all together and have leftover squash for another dish or just cook half.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in small pan over medium heat and fry shallots, turning frequently. Set fried shallots aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in large saute pan over medium heat and saute onions and garlic until soft. Add mushrooms, a few dashes of thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Once mushrooms are cooked and soft, transfer to dish and set aside.
- Heat vegetable stock in small pan and leave warm on the stove for risotto.
- Rinse quinoa and toast in pan over medium to medium-low heat. Once toasted, add wine and stir to allow quinoa to absorb all liquid. Add 2 cups stock and allow quinoa to absorb. Adjust heat as needed. Continue adding stock as quinoa absorbs liquid until you reach a risotto like consistency. Lastly add in 1 tbsp vegan butter.
- Mix quinoa with squash and mushrooms. Top with fried shallots and serve warm.
October 30, 2011 § 8 Comments
See those silky golden strands of yumminess? They looks like delicate pasta noodles don’t they? But they aren’t. Dieters, have no fear – what you are looking at is spaghetti squash. I’ve heard of spaghetti squash for years but never actually tried it. I’ve seen lots of recipes for it but never noticed it in the market and never saw it out on a menu in a restaurant. Tonight while strolling through Whole Foods, there was a beautiful display of all kinds of squash and there it was – I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I grabbed the spaghetti squash, determined to figure out how to make this pasta lover’s alternate.
After a few quick google searches, I used this recipe as my starting point. Honestly the hardest part of this recipe is getting the darn squash cut in half and cleaned. With the effort it took I was a bit worried about the rest of the night – but alas, it was all easy as pie from there.
Before going in the oven, they were drizzled with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. This had me pause for a moment. I knew the nutmeg is a go-to for squash but I was making a garlic base sauce for this, would nutmeg work? We would soon find out…
I roasted them for 30 minutes. In my haste of reading how to cook these babies, I mis-read and only cooked them 30 minutes despite the referenced recipe saying to do just 30 minutes they had to go in the microwave first. Oops. Honestly though, the resulting dish had just the slightest crunch that I really enjoyed. Next time I may cook them longer but I actually really liked the way it came out.
I sauteed some sliced garlic in olive oil over low heat. To this, I added one sliced shallot to give a mild onion flavor. I don’t cook much with sun-dried tomatoes but just opening the can made me question this. The smell just transports you to a sweet, sunny, tuscan day. A few spoonfulls of chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a splash of the juice went into the pan. Lastly, two handfulls of spinach went in. A little salt and pepper to season, some red pepper flakes for some heat, and the pan was set to low while the spinach wilted.
Now to get the squash out of their shell. I looked at the squash and just started scraping – it seemed to work. Scrape, scrape, scrape and little strands appeared. Once completely scraped out, the “spaghetti” was added to the pan. The last touch was a tablespoon of Earth Balance vegan buttery spread to add some creaminess (also, my first time actually using this product) and the dish was topped with some fresh basil and the toasted pine nuts.
Not only does this dish come across as elegant and gourmet, it is delicious and complex. The squash while delicate, had a slight crunch to it. The brightness of the sun-dried tomatoes and basil contrast the warm pine nuts and rich garlic nicely. The spinach adds even more healthy goodness to the dish. Oh, and that nutmeg? Yeah, it rocked. That little kick of warmth made me want to curl up and start listening to Christmas music tonight. Yes, I realize it’s still October.
All in all, this was an awesome dish. I’ll definitely be picking up the spaghetti squash next time I see it in the market. I’m looking forward to trying all sorts of pasta recipes out on this carb alternative.
Tip: I saved the squash seeds and toasted them as a little experiment. I read they were edible and figured I might as well give it a try before tossing them. The finished seed is deliciously nutty and slightly chewy. I’ll be enjoying them on a salad this week.
If you like the idea of pasta made out of vegetables, check out this yummy recipe for garlicky zucchini noodles with tomatoes and chickpeas.
Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach
Serves 3-4 bowls
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and cleaned of seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
2-3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, sliced (plus juice)
2 cups spinach
1 tablespoon Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
5-6 basil leaves, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half. Clean inside until all seeds and strands are removed. Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bake for 30-40 minutes until done.
- Toast pine nuts in large pan over low-medium heat about 10 minutes until golden, set aside.
- Saute sliced garlic and shallot in two tablespoons olive oil over low-medium heat. Once fragrant and garlic is soft, add sun-dried tomatoes and juice and heat tomatoes through, about a minute or two.
- Reduce heat to low, add spinach, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook until wilted.
- Once squash is cooled, scrape down the center and around the sides to release the “spaghetti” strands. Mix in with spinach and tomato mixture. Fold in vegan buttery spread until melted. Top with pine nuts and basil.