Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fledgling Vegan: Spaghetti Squash and Kale with Mushroom Sauce

We've noticed a couple of changes since embracing veganism over a month ago. Cutting meat and dairy from our diets has made us both drop a few pounds but we haven't had to sacrifice for it, meaning: we eat tasty, whole meals three times a day, snack in between, and never count calories. We hadn't even considered weight loss as a result of going vegan because we did it for different reasons (I was completely satisfied with my weight before and I celebrate people of all shapes and sizes) but, nevertheless, it's happened.

We also feel great: energized, light, wholesome. I find that I can eat what appears to be a big dinner and walk away from it full without feeling stuffed and bloated. One of those meals is what we ate for dinner on Monday night.

From above the bowl doesn't look too big but it holds 1.5 liters. I would never serve myself regular pasta in a bowl that deep but when the pasta is actually shredded spaghetti squash then, by all means, fill it up.

Here's what you need (recipe adapted from here):

1 spaghetti squash

2 garlic cloves

2 tbps of olive oil or vegan butter 

a bunch of sliced mushrooms (I used white button 'shroomies)

a bunch of kale (washed and roughly chopped)

2 cups of non-dairy milk (I used soy but you can use almond or coconut - plain)

2 Tbsp non-dairy creamer (I used french vanilla coconut creamer because it's all I had - use what you got!)

2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast 

2 tsp of cornstarch or arrowroot (I used egg replacer 'cause, again, it's what I had available)

sprinkles of salt and pepper

First find whatever means necessary of splitting that squash lengthwise down the middle. It wasn't easy to cut the first time I made this recipe and I spent about ten minutes sort of see-sawing my knife back and forth until it finally split. This time I had Chris cut it before he left for work and it took him about seven seconds (yeah, I don't even...ugh); then I put the two halves in the refrigerator for later.

When you're ready to start cooking preheat the oven to 375, brush a tablespoon of olive oil/ vegan butter between the two halves of squash, and sprinkle minced garlic and black pepper on top. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour. 

When you've got about 20 minutes left of baking time you can start making the cream sauce. 

Saute the sliced mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil/vegan butter for about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms start to soften and brown, causing them to magically release that delicious liquid they hide inside.

Then pour in one cup of the non-dairy milk and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. This helps the milk soak up all the mushrooms' liquids. Then dump in the two tablespoons of nutritional yeast (a vegan staple for it's B-complex vitamins, especially B12, and it's cheesy flavor), and stir them around until totally absorbed by the milk.

Now mix in the two tablespoons of non-dairy creamer and the second cup of non-dairy milk. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes while you prepare the cornstarch mixture (two teaspoons of cornstarch stirred with two teaspoons of water).

Pour in the cornstarch mixture (or arrowroot or egg replacer) and stir until the mixture dissolves. Then add the bunch of kale and let it simmer for a few more minutes, stirring frequently.

By now the spaghetti squash halves should be ready so take them out and let them cool. If you're too impatient to wait the 5 - 10 minutes it might take then I highly recommend you put on gloves before scooping the squash "pasta" out of the skin because if you don't you'll burn yourself. The blister on my left thumb is my witness (as is Chris, who told me to "put on your dish-washing gloves").

With a fork pull the squash flesh down and scoop into however many bowls you'll be serving (can serve up to four). The squash flesh will resemble pasta when it detaches from the skin.

Finally, pour some of the cream sauce on top of the "spaghetti" and sprinkle with pepper. 

So good, so creamy, and the fact that I used french vanilla creamer because it's all I had didn't make it taste weird at all, I actually liked the hint of sweetness it gave the dish. This is a recipe I'll be making over and over again for sure. Vegan food - so tasty, so good for you, so good for the planet, so good for animals!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!


Anonymous said...

Excellent post!

Anonymous said...

I recall it being less than 7 seconds... hmmm