Creamy Spaghetti Squash
with toasted almond quinoa
From Marty: I was experimenting with creating a non-dairy cheese sauce and after many tries, this is the winner. It looks like a rich cheese sauce but it is made with vegetables, cashews, lemon juice and spices. Most non-dairy cheesy sauces will have potato in the recipe. But not this one! I tried it with cauliflower instead and it turned out amazing! I made the sauce a day ahead and it was nice to only have to heat it up when I was making dinner. My husband is skeptical for "test kitchen night" (for good reason, I frequently have epic fails in the kitchen) but this won his heart. Aside from the extra salt he added to the creamy spaghetti squash, he loved it as-is.
Things to prep ahead if you have the time: creamy sauce, toasted almonds
1/2 C. slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350°
Place slivered almonds on a baking sheet, and spread them out so they don't overlap too much. Bake for 5 minutes and check to see if the are slightly browning. Bake an additional minute or two but stay close, they can burn quickly! Allow to cool and set aside.
1 medium spaghetti squash
Preheat oven to 350°
Cut the stem end off and then cut the squash length-wise. drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place face down on the parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Allow the squash to cool, then shred the squash with a fork.
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/4 onion (only peel the outer layer, leave the rest in tact)
1/4 red pepper, seeded and cut into big chunks
1/2 C. cauliflower florets
1 C. organic raw cashews
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper (optional)
In a large pot, fill with water 1/2 way and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, onion, red pepper, cauliflower and cashews. Return to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Meanwhile, in a blender add the lemon juice, 1/2 C. water, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, garlic and onion powders but don't turn on the blender until the rest is added.
When the vegetables and cashews are finished cooking, drain them in a colander and add them to the blender. Blend on high until the ingredients turn into a rich, golden sauce! Add more water if it needs to be thinner. Use additional salt and/or cayenne as needed after tasting. Spoon a generous amount to the shredded spaghetti squash and mix so the sauce is distributed well.
This recipe makes 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Save the rest for later! It's perfect on tortilla chips, pasta, or as a dip for veggies. I froze some and plan on testing it reheated - stay tuned if that works out!
TOASTED ALMOND QUINOA
1 C. organic quinoa (I used Ancient Harvest "Harmony Quinoa")
2 C. organic vegetable broth
1 tsp. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. toasted slivered almonds
sliced green onions (or a chopped herb will do great here, too)
In a medium pot, add the broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil and then turn to low and cook for 15 minutes. While cooking, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until very soft. When the timer goes off for the quinoa, removed from heat but let it sit covered for an additional 10 minutes.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add the cooked shallot/garlic mixture and toasted almonds. Then top with the sliced green onions. Taste, and adjust salt as needed.
Serve the creamy squash in the outer shell (I cut mine in half but you can be creative as you like) and scoop the quinoa right next to it. Feel free to mix the quinoa and creamy squash together - my husband loved it that way! A generous side of greens is always welcome too!