spaghetti squash

Faux Thai Peanut "Noodles"

Ever since I got engaged in November I have been trying my best to eat less carbs...I mean have you ever tried on wedding dresses? Most of the designer gowns come off the runway and go right to the Trunk Shows, so yea were talking size 2 and less. Needless to say the less bloat the better. Although I am trying to eat healthier I still want to enjoy my meals especially after a long work day.  This dish is truly crave-able because it has one of the most craved ingredients in it, Peanut Butter. The peanut butter gives it the creamiest most delicious texture, the soy sauce gives it the perfect umami salty bite and the lime and cilantro both cut through the richness with their fresh flavor. Peanut Butter noodles in an Asian Restaurant can really pack a punch in the carb/calorie department but swapping the pasta out for Spaghetti Squash makes this almost guilt free. And hey it is Vegan and Gluten Free (if you use GF soy sauce)!

noodle.jpg

Ingredients-

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chunky Peanut Butter (or whatever kind you like, creamy will work as well)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice and more for Garnish
  • 1 Medium Garlic Glove
  • 1.5 Teaspoons freshly grated peeled Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • Freshly Chopped Cilantro
  • Black Sesame Seeds or Chopped Peanuts (Garnish) (optional)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the Spaghetti Squash lengthwise and brush the inner flesh with Olive Oil and Season with Salt, Black Pepper and a squeeze of fresh Lime juice.  
  3. Roast on a parchment lined sheet pan cut side down.Roast for roughly 45 minutes or until you can easily puncture the outside skin with a fork.  While the squash is roasting make the sauce.
  4. When the squash is done, scrape the inside of the squash into strands with a fork, it will resemble spaghetti. Leave it a little al dente so it has a slight bite like pasta. 
  5.  In a food processor or bullet blender, puree the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice water,  grated ginger, garlic clove, Sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. In a large pan or pot on low heat toss the cooked spaghetti squash with the sauce until the sauce is fully incorporated. Plate and season with salt and pepper as needed but the soy is salty so you may not need it. Squeeze Fresh lime juice over the top and top with fresh chopped Cilantro and Black Sesame Seeds or Chopped Peanuts. Serve and enjoy! 

Spaghetti Squash Fritters- Vegetarian "Crab Cakes"

I HATED leftovers as a child!  I always felt like they never tasted fresh, and being the foodie that I am, I didn't want to have the same dish multiple times in one week.  Once I started managing restaurants and cooking in professional kitchens, I realized how important it is to take the scraps and leftovers of your vegetables, meats, cheeses etc. and use them to create more dishes!  Ultimately, if you throw good, useable leftovers in the garbage, you are throwing money in the garbage!  This week I had a substantial amount of Spaghetti Squash leftover, so I got a little creative and created a delicious appetizer to bring to my friend's apartment for dinner. These fritters are crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside.  The pleasantly stringy texture of the spaghetti squash and the flavors of the capers, sun dried tomatoes and breadcrumbs oddly make these little patties taste just like crab cakes! My friends kept insisting that I was lying to them and that they were crab cakes and not vegetable fritters!  So if you are a vegetarian or have vegetarian guests, this is the perfect dish to serve!  You can even make a "crab cake" sandwich by making a larger spaghetti squash patty, put it on a nice brioche bun with a cajun style aioli and top it with some mixed greens..now how delicious does that sound!


Ingredients-

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

Canola Oil

5 Sun Dried Tomatoes chopped fine (you can use more if you'd like)

2 Small Cloves of Garlic Minced

Seasoned Breadcrumbs (about 1 cup sometimes you need a little more)

1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1  1/2- 2 Tablespoons Capers

2 Eggs beaten

Flour (you just need a few Teaspoons for the mixture to hold together)

About 4-5 Large Fresh Basil Leaves Chiffonade (sliced into thin ribbons)

Salt & Pepper


Steps-

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half vertically using a big chefs knife.  Scoop out and discard the seeds from the middle of the squash and then drizzle the flesh with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place the cut side down onto a foil or parchment line sheet pan and roast in the oven about 35-45 minutes or until a fork can easily poke through the outer skin of the spaghetti squash.  

When the squash is cooked, using a fork scrape the squash flesh into a bowl.  It should fall into the bowl like spaghetti! Let it cool and set aside.

Once the spaghetti squash is cooled place in some paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and try to squeeze out any excess water that the squash naturally has.

Place the squash in a bowl and add the minced garlic, chopped sun dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese an capers.  Add the 2 beaten eggs and a dash of salt and black pepper.  Stir together until combined.

Add the seasoned breadcrumbs, about 1 Cup and stir together.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of Flour and stir together.  This will help to bind the mixture.  If you try to fry them and they are not crisping up and are just falling apart, add a little more breadcrumbs and flour.

Coat the bottom of a skillet with Canola Oil and heat on medium heat.  Test the temperature of the oil by placing a dot of the batter into the oil and if the oil sizzles around the batter, your mixture is ready.  Scoop about 1  1/2 Tablespoons of the mixture into you hands, make a ball, and flatten it out into a pancake shape.  You want them about 1/3 inch thick.  Place them in the pan with the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crusty on the bottom and then flip and brown the other side. Only fry a few at a time so they brown evenly and the oil temperature doesn't drop.

When they are cooked place them on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve with a dollop of the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Crema! See below!


Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Crema-

Ingredients-

Plain Greek Yogurt

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (you can also use regular pesto)

2 Large Basil Leaves Chiffonade

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Steps-

1. Mix together some Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with the Greek Yogurt, a drizzle of Olive Oil and the chopped Basil. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper, and give it a taste!  If you feel the flavor or color is too bland add more of the pesto! That is all there is too it!