Lasagna – noodles + Spaghetti Squash= my new favorite comfort food.
It sure is dreary here in California, nothing but rain and wind for the last few weeks. Thinking of the glass half full, I’ve used this week to turn out my cold-weather favorites before Spring rolls in. Different soups and roasted vegetables have been on the menu lately as has this gem: baked spaghetti squash. Similar to baked spaghetti or lasagna, I combined the squash strands with my ricotta filling and topped it with crunchy herbed breadcrumbs. Easing into the seasons has never been so delicious!
1 large spaghetti squash
1 recipe DK’s Spaghetti Sauce
3/4 cup bread crumbs. (Store-bought or get crazy and make your own!)
1 bunch parsley
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 bunch spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced into 1/2 moons
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 pound firm tofu, pressed
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic (or more!), minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
handful basil leaves, chopped
handful parsley, chopped
small handful chopped oregano , or 1 tsp dried oregano
salt, pepper to taste
Mash tofu with fork or potato masher until crumbled. Add remaining ingredients and mix completely to combine. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Wash and chop the spinach and carrots. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, place the whole spaghetti squash in the boiling water for 10 minutes until skin softens. Remove from water, halve and place back in the water for an additional 10 or so minutes until the inside is fully cooked. (This to me is the easiest way to prepare it. I know you can also use a microwave to cook the squash but I don’t have timing info as I don’t own one!)
Remove the cooked squash and let cool while you prepare the filling. In a large skillet heat 2-3 tbsp. of vegetable broth or oil. I like using broth in place of oil, it works beautifully! You can also use 2 tbsp. vegetable broth and 1 tbsp. oil. Add the thinly sliced onions with 1/4 tsp. salt and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add the sliced carrots, sliced garlic and cook until tender. Add the spinach, thyme, red pepper flakes and cook an additional 5 minutes.
With a fork, remove the strands of squash. Keep the squash halves and place the strands in a large bowl. Add the cooked vegetables and 2-3 cups sauce. The mixture should be wet but not soupy. Depending on the size of your squash, you might need to add less/more. Place a large scoop (about 1/2 cup) of the filling in the bottom of one of the emptied shells. Layer a 1/4th of the ricotta filling ontop. Place another 1/2 cup of squash filling and another 1/4 of the ricotta filling. Do the same with the other squash half.
For the crunchy topping combine the bread crumbs, finely chopped parsley and garlic powder. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top and bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes until hot.
Serve with a glass of red wine because baby… it’s cold outside!
Serves 4. 520 calories, 16g fat, 15g fiber, 24g protein. High in manganese, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin C
I’m off to Phoenix for the weekend, see you with a new breakfast recipe next week!
Along with other great causes, March is honored as National Nutrition Month. Each year the American Dietetic Association chooses a theme to promote and celebrate. This years is ‘Eat Right with Color.’ I love this theme, it’s the perfect “anti-diet” message. Focusing on eating a variety of produce not only allows for more interesting meals, but it also ensures the consumption of a variety of antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds responsible for providing food with color and the nutrients that reduce the risk of cancer or heart disease and promote vision, immune system, and healthy aging.
While I want to promote natural colors in produce, I want to caution against the use of artificial colorings. Artificial colorings are synthetic products used to give color and appeal to mostly low-nutrient foods. The problem? Artificial colorings have been shown to promote hyperactivity in some children and some studies suggest they increase cancer risk.
Thankfully, the FDA is holding a meeting on March 30th to consider the need for these toxic chemicals in our food supply. While I am skeptical on change, you can send a letter by march 23rd stating your support for removing artificial colorings.
If your interested in learning more one of my favorite organization’s, The Center for Science in the Public Interest has compiled all the studies done on artificial colorings and the risk they pose. You can see the detailed list here. As my speciality is food sensitivity, I also see a lot of patients whose migraines/IBS/ect. are triggered by artificial colorings. See what a color-free diet can do for you!
Are you worried or concerned about artificial sweeteners?
I can’t stop eating these little gems, they are really good. Steamed chard leaves are filled with black “forbidden” rice, mashed butternut squash, kumquat-bbq tofu and topped with a creamy garlic tahini sauce. The combination of colors and flavors make these rolls really special. Great as an appetizer, light lunch or paired with a salad for larger meal. I had a similar item last weekend and was so excited to come home and create rolls with my own DK twist.
1 cup Cooked leftover black rice, (or brown/wild rice)
1 cup butternut squash
8 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
10 large chard leaves (could also use collard/cabbage leaves)
½ cup favorite BBQ sauce
½ cup Kumquat marmalade (Recipe post coming soon! Or substitute orange or apricot jam)
Garlic Tahini Sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
2 large lemons, juiced
3 cloves garlic
In a blender/food processor combine all ingredients for the garlic tahini sauce and puree until smooth.
Halve the tofu widthwise and then cut into thin slices. Place in a glass pan sprayed very lightly with cooking spray. Combine the BBQ sauce and marmalade. Brush the sauce over the tofu and let sit for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Flip to the other side and brush on the remaining sauce. Place in preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
While the tofu is cooking, set up a steamer. Finely dice the butternut squash and steam for 10-15 minutes until soft. Place the cooked squash in a bowl and mash.
Wash the leaves and trim to the base of the stem. Place in the steamer and steam for 1-2 minutes until soft and pliable. Remove and place on a clean working space. Now you are ready to roll! Place the leaf down, widest side facing you. If the stem is still hard, gently press on the stem to flatten. While the leaves are sturdy for filling they are very fragile. Take care not to rip them.
Place a small amount of rice (about 2 tbsp) on the base of the leaf, about ¾ of an inch from the end. Place a similar amount of squash on top. Lay a piece of tofu ontop of the squash, Depending on how big your leaves are will determine how much filling to place. Wrap the end over the tofu and gently push the side leaves over to cover. It will now roll like a burrito. Take care to keep pressing the leaves in towards the filling. Place the finished roll seam side down into the steamer basket. Continue to fill the rest of the rolls and place in the steamer basket. Steam for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove and top with tahini sauce.
Share with someone you love!
There is nothing Irish about this pasta but in the spirit of tomorrow it’s GREEN! I originally made the filling to stuff into filo dough but decided to go with weeknight pasta meal instead.
2 large bunches spinach leaves
4 tbsp. fresh dill
3 tbsp. fresh mint
2 lemons, juiced
8 oz. whole wheat pasta (I used fusili)
¼ cup cashew pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
½ cup vegetable broth
½ pound tofu, firm
1 tsp. dried basil
In a food processor/blender combine the cashews, lemon juice, 2 tbsp. oil, and garlic. Pulse a few times until a paste forms. Add the tofu, 2 tbsp. mint, 2 tbsp. dill and basil to the processor. Blend together and set aside.
In a sauce pan heat ¼ cup broth over medium-high heat. In a food processor or by hand, finely chop the onion and spinach leaves. Add the onion to the broth pan along with 1tsp. salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes until onions are cooked thoroughly and reduced.
While the onions are cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Add the chopped spinach and remaining broth to the onion mixture and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the reserved tofu mixture and remaining mint and dill. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a bit of pasta water to thin it out. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Have a Happy St. Patty’s Day!