No-Recipe Spaghetti Squash Dishes

The stringy flesh of spaghetti squash resembles traditional pasta in appearance. But, does it taste like spaghetti? Does it have that unique ‘toothiness’ of an al dente pasta? Of course not. But, with about one-fourth the calories and carbohydrates of traditional wheat pasta, it can be a very satisfying, grain-free alternative —and a novel, creative way to enjoy a carotenoid and antioxidant-rich meal.  And, like regular ‘noodles’ the spaghetti squash pulp is like a naked canvas for flavorings. Almost anything goes. Check out these 4 tips for making delicious spaghetti squash dishes and 5 ideas to get you started!

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Just like preparing traditional pasta, the process can be as free-form and improvisational as you want. No recipes needed. In fact, think ‘Operation Fridge Clear Out’. Cooking spaghetti squash is as easy as making regular spaghetti noodles. But, you just need to allow for longer cooking time, about 40 minutes at 375° F, either whole or cut in two. (For step-by-step instructions, see above link.)

Spaghetti Squash with OilSpaghetti Squash Strands4 TIPS TO DELICIOUS SPAGHETTI SQUASH DISHES

  • Preparation: drain off excess water. For the best and most pasta-like  results, place the strands in a strainer and press out as much excess water as you can. This step is optional. But, it’s worth the effort, especially if you are cooking the squash ahead of time and/or are not using a fat-based sauce, such as a marinara.
  • Dressing: go fat! Due to the high water content of spaghetti squash, I prefer fat-based sauces. Healthy fats in moderation will help modulate the blood sugar response and increase satiety as will adding in some protein. Or, indulge with a little browned butter. Try these!
  • Seasoning: go bold! Like regular pasta noodles, spaghetti squash provides is a neutral vehicle for any variety of flavors. But, unlike regular pasta noodles, the spaghetti squash pulp won’t absorb the sauce and its flavors very well. And, these noodles don’t have much flavor of their own other than a slightly sweet earthiness. So, go a bit more bold with your seasoning than you might with regular pasta.
    Try these seasonings!

    • Basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
    • Black pepper, Cinnamon, chili flakes, nutmeg
    • Garlic, onions, scallions
    • Soy sauce or shoyu
    • Tomatoes (sun-dried or paste)
  • Add contrasting textures. Fold different textures into the strands and on top of the dish. These variations in texture gives makes the dish chewy similar to al dente pasta. Try these additions and toppings!
    • sautéed mushrooms
    • Toasted, chopped nuts, such as hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
    • Bread crumbs or panko (regular or gluten-free).
    • Beans, such as adzuki, black, garbanzo or kidney
    • Cheese, such as mozzarella, parmesan or Gruyère

Cacio Y Pepe Spaghetti SquashCacio y Pepe-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Olive oil and garlic
Seasonings: A generous amount of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions and shiitake mushrooms, roasted and shopped walnuts
Garnish: Italian parsley and basil

Spaghetti squash with mushrooms

Spaghetti Squash with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Vegan Cream Sauce and Nuts

Base: Cashew cream sauce
Seasonings: Cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions and shiitake mushrooms, toasted and chopped walnuts.
Garnish: Italian parsley

Spaghetti Squash with Indian Sauce

Indian-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Store-bought Indian simmer sauce (Maya Kaimal brand)
Additions: Garbanzo beans
Garnish: Cilantro or Thai Basil

Spaghetti Squash with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Southern Italy-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Olive oil, garlic and tomato paste
Seasonings: Red chili pepper flakes, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions, chopped or pureed sun-dried tomatoes
Garnish: Italian parsley or Basil

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Spaghetti Squash Tossed with Avocado Pesto and Kale

Base: Vegan avocado pesto
Seasonings: Lemon, garlic, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: Wilted kale
Garnish: Basil and roasted, chopped pecans

REFERENCES:

  • USDA National Nutrient Database
  • Page, Karen. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2014.

How do you like to prepare spaghetti squash? Share a tip! Leave a comment below.

 

Overnight Oats -Your Breakfast BFF

Overnight Oats ParfaitI know, I know… Overnight oats are hardly a culinary innovation. But, they’re the ultimate no hassle, no-cook, nutritious whole foods breakfast. Besides, who doesn’t love waking up with breakfast already made? —even if the breakfast fairy was you. And, simply layer your overnight oats ingredients into a parfait and you’ve got a colorful feast worth waking up for. But, for the ‘parfait look’ assemble the parfait after you’ve soaked the oats. Otherwise, just wake, stir and eat.

With endless ingredient options, think of it as breakfast arts and crafts. Keep just a few staples on hand you can have breakfast prepped in about five minutes. Include the little ones and have them make their own. Or, better yet, make one of them your personal overnight oats chef.  

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Dairy-Free Cacao Fudgsicles

Healthy FudgsiclesFudgsicles were one of my favorite summer cool treats. There was something about the way they slowly morphed from a frozen solid into creamy, chocolate pudding. Unfortunately, three of the top six ingredients in those fudgsicles are sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Keep reading the label and you will find other goodies, such as cellulose gum and polysorbate 80. No thank you.

The good news is that it is incredibly easy to make fudgsicles that are actually healthy. These fudgiscles also have the rich, creamy texture, which makes a fudgsicle a fudgsicle.  No dairy. No gluten. No cooking. No kidding! Continue reading

How to Make Jalapeño Infused Tequila

Jalapeno Infused Tequila After Two Weeks

JALAPENO INFUSED TEQUILA RECIPE

When a festive cocktail is in order, I think spicy and make jalapeño infused tequila. Select jalapeños which are small or medium in size. The younger peppers will have much more heat than the larger, older ones, which may show signs of shrivelling. Consider starting with only 2 or 3 peppers the first time if you do not want a strong infusion.

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Rockstar Granola -With or Without a Recipe

Granola Recipe

Granola is one of the more simplistic baking endeavors. Yet, there are several granola recipes which have reached national notoriety. Ironically, the creators of these recipes are on the opposite ends of the country.

The first granola recipe from Eleven Madison restaurant in New York City, my adopted hometown. Yes, at the end of the 15 course, $295 per head prix-fixe dinner, you are presented with a mason jar of the house granola. It is an unexpected and lovely touch. You ration the hell out of that granola because it is probably the best you’ve ever had. And, you know you won’t be getting more anytime soon. Or ever. Continue reading

Creamy Horseradish Dressing

A bit of silken tofu gives this creamy horseradish dressing such a luscious texture you won’t believe it’s vegan. Freshly grated horseradish delivers not only another source of cruciferous goodness but also gives this dressing a very distinct flair. If you really want to make it zesty, add more horseradish. For best results, either use a

You can find fresh horseradish in the produce section of most grocery stores. For best results, either use a microplane, or finely chop the horseradish after grating, if you’re not using a blender. To prevent drying out, wrap unused horseradish in a damp towel. It will keep for at least a month refrigerated. 

Grated Horseradish Dressing

CREAMY HORSERADISH DRESSING

Adapted from Natural Gourmet Institute
Yield: approximately 1 cup

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon peeled, freshly grated horseradish
  • 1/2 pound silken tofu (squeeze out extra water)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea miso
  • 1/4 cup soy milk or other dairy alternatives
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Tabasco or hot sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the Tabasco, salt and black pepper. Process until the dressing is creamy and smooth. Add salt, black pepper and Tabasco to taste and blend again until incorporated.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Bargain 3-Course Organic Brunch

Chickpea Crepe with Mango Sauce

New Yorkers love their brunch, or ‘Boozy Brunch’ as they are often promoted. This is no doubt fueled by their tendency towards late nights, the ‘my phone is my kitchen’ mindset and a restaurant-dense landscape. So, after living here almost nine years, I was surprised to find that I was in the dark about THE best brunch deal in the city -hands down! Case closed. Where is this brunch nirvana? Read on to find out. Continue reading

White Bean Miso Soup with Citrus

White Bean Miso Soup

You must try this White Bean Miso Soup recipe recipe at some point. Because at some point, it will be just what your body needs. Let me explain.

I first tried this soup during a baking class at Natural Gourmet Institute. After hours of baking and sampling, baking and sampling and more baking and sampling, the class was on a collective sugar buzz. Knowingly, the chef had made this miso soup to counterbalance the sugar. Satisfying, grounding and nourishing, the miso soup quickly became more popular than the baked goods. Ying and Yang. It worked. So, for these reasons, miso soup is comforting, not just on a cold day, but is generally a welcome treat on its own and especially after overconsumption. Continue reading

5 Reasons to Love Seaweed

Seaweed Love

While you might not order seaweed beyond sushi rolls or stock it in your pantry, you’re probably eating it —more than you know. Edible seaweeds, also known as sea vegetables, are frequently used in ice creams, consumer baked goods, salad dressings -and of course, nut milks (most brands except Whole Foods 360). But, if you’re not intentionally including seaweed in your diet —should you? Maybe.

I’ve been starting to work with edible seaweeds, also known as sea vegetables. Check out these 5 interesting facts about our green, brown and red friends under the sea and ideas for introducing them into your diet. Welcome to Seaweed 101!

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Turmeric Tahini Anti-Inflammation Dressing

Turmeric Tahini Dressing

This versatile dressing makes it easy to bring turmeric into your daily cooking. Pour it over cooked fish, grain bowls, soba noodles and vegetables. And with anti-inflammatory ginger, probiotic-containing miso and alkalizing sesame in tahini, this dressing will boost the health quotient of almost any meal!

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