First post of 2016! Happy New Year, everyone! I thought it fitting to start this new year off with a recipe that is LONG overdue. As in, over a year overdue. Let me explain.
Last June I posted a tutorial called How to Cook Spaghetti Squash. It went crazy, and is still my #1 most popular post to this day. Now, granted, I don’t have that many posts (yet), but this one kicks every other post’s booty. Although Vegetable Bolognese is giving it a run for its money. 🙂
Anyway, at the end of the tutorial post, I showed a picture of how I mix the spaghetti squash with regular pasta and a creamy cauliflower sauce, and topped it with sautéed mushrooms. I have been asked for the recipe MANY times, and have always meant to share it, let alone any other recipe featuring spaghetti squash (because, HELLO, obviously I should), but only now have I actually done it. From this point forward I intend to share at least one spaghetti squash recipe per month, so consider this the first of many.
I am not sure if one can get more vegetables into this recipe than I did. I mean, maybe, but dang, this is like vegetable overload, in the best way. The noodles are vegetables, the sauce is vegetables. Even the optional pasta has vegetable puree in it! Let’s break it down, shall we?
So, obviously, we need to cook some spaghetti squash in order to make this spaghetti squash alfredo. It’s sort of implied. If you have been under a rock and haven’t seen my method for getting the longest noodles out of the squash, stop right here and go read this post, then come right back here, ok? Ok.
Then, we need to make the sauce. It’s super easy, and crazypants delicious. Crazypants is a word, right? I just said it is. All you need is cauliflower, a few raw cashew pieces, and a touch of miso, salt, garlic, and nutritional yeast to flavor it up. We’re just all going to agree that there are garlic cloves in that picture. I definitely didn’t forget to include them before taking that photograph.
Can we stop here for a minute and talk about how wonderful cauliflower is? It is seriously one of the most versatile vegetables ever. As a young girl eating microwaved frozen cauliflower with melted Kraft Singles on top, I would never have dreamed that I would one day hold this cruciferous wonder food in such high regard, but I do. Peek inside my fridge on any given day and you are likely to find at least one head of cauliflower. At the moment, I have 3. (recipe testing awaits)
All I’m saying is, cauliflower is amazing, and it plays a very important role in this sauce. As in, the starring role.
While this recipe is chock full of vegetables, I am a carbivore at heart, so I can’t help but sneak in a few strands of actual pasta with the spaghetti squash. I call it “medium-carb.” Imagine my delight at the grocery store when I discovered that Barilla makes a pasta that includes vegetable puree as one of the ingredients! SCORE. This thin spaghetti has zucchini and spinach puree in it – so you can totally count it as two extra veggies! Just so we are clear, Barilla has no idea I exist (yet), and they did not sponsor this post. Maybe next time. 🙂
If you decide to go for the medium-carb option, you can boil the cauliflower florets for the sauce in the water that you’ll use to cook the pasta. Multitasking for the win!
The basic steps here are:
– Cook the squash (salt it first if you have time, see recipe)
– Cook the cauliflower and garlic cloves
– Strain the cauliflower and garlic into a blender, and puree with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Blend it until smooth and creamy and mouthwateringly delectable. Are you getting hungry yet?
– Cook the pasta (if using), then drain and return to the pot. Note: This recipe can be made gluten-free by either omitting the pasta altogether or substituting your favorite gluten-free spaghetti.
After the squash has been roasted and then cooled for a bit, separate the strands from the skin, and add the “noodles” to the cooked pasta. Pour the sauce over the top, and mix to combine with kitchen tongs. Isn’t it cool how the squash and the pasta just sort of blend together?
At this point, you can top it with whatever you like! I chose sautéed mushrooms and broccoli this time, because, YUM. Also, MORE VEGETABLES. You could also fold in some frozen peas at this point. Another great option would be roasted brussels sprouts (your oven is already on!). Or, just slurp this straight up, it’s already chock full of goodness all on its own.
See what I mean?
I feel a weight of relief off my shoulders now that I have finally shared an actual recipe using spaghetti squash. 2016 is going to be all downhill from here. Now go make this recipe! And when you do, tag @eatwithinyourmeans on Instagram! That makes me happier than a squash in sauce.
Happy New Year! May it be your best one yet. 🙂
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
- 1 medium Spaghetti Squash
- 1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
- 4-6 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1 teaspoon chickpea miso (optional, or white/yellow miso)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (or water)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 box of spaghetti (such as Barilla Veggie Thin Spaghetti)
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Sautéed broccoli florets
- Roasted cauliflower florets or brussels sprouts
- in Frozen Peas (folded at the last minute)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut spaghetti squash across the width into 4 rings and place on an oven-safe cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Deseed the squash by running a small knife around the seeds, if you like (you can also deseed after roasting in the same manner).
- Liberally salt both sides of each squash ring and set aside for at least 15 minutes, allowing time for the salt to draw out some of the water from the squash.
- Wipe away the liquid that the salt has drawn away from the squash with a paper towel, then place the baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes.
- While the spaghetti squash being prepared, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Cut the head of cauliflower into equal sized pieces, about 1-2 inches in diameter.
- Add the cauliflower and peeled garlic cloves into the boiling water, and cook for 8 minutes.
- Strain the cauliflower and garlic out of the water and place in a blender.
- Turn the heat of the pot of water down to low until you are ready to cook the pasta (if using).
- Add the cashews, miso, nutritional yeast, salt, and non-dairy milk to the blender, and puree until smooth and creamy.
- If using the pasta, place it in the boiling water to cook for the time directed on the package.
- When the squash is done roasting, allow to cook for 5-10 minutes before removing the squash from the skin and cutting away the seeds.
- Drain the pasta, if using, and return to the pot, along with the spaghetti squash.
- Pour the sauce over the squash and pasta, a little at a time, mixing with tongs or a fork until fully coated, adding more sauce as needed. Refrigerate any leftover sauce for another use.
- Add optional toppings, and serve.