I remember back in high school when I started trying pasta alternatives, spaghetti squash was just coming onto the scene. This was long before I even knew what a spiralizer was or what zucchini noodles looked like. My mom had this book that we refer to as the “Detox Book” and I honestly don’t remember what the heck it’s actually called but the recipes are all low carb, filled with nutrient-rich ingredients and detoxifying.
One of my favorite recipes out of this book was a roasted spaghetti squash with this thick meat-based tomato sauce that made me think I was eating a ginormous plate of angel hair pasta, even if it was secretly just veggies and meat.
Since trying the meaty squash recipe straight from my mom’s kitchen, I had never cooked the vegetable on my own. I think it’s the whole concept of cutting the darn thing in half that scares me. If you don’t have a knife that’s incredibly sharp, good luck trying to get one of these things to break in half. I’ll let you in on a secret: 90% of the time I buy squash, it’s the butternut that is pre-cut into cubes at Trader Joe’s. I’m always nervous I’m going to slice my hand in half trying to cut one open.
But because I wanted to make this a dairy-free cheezy squash pasta, I had to find all of the strength inside of me to buy a relatively small squash (easy to cut) and slice that baby in half, cook it up and devour it.
Move over zucchini noodles because spaghetti squash has stolen my heart this year. Instead of pairing the stringy spaghetti with meat this time around like my mom always did, I’m sticking with one cheeeezy sauce made of cashews because well… duh, cashews are only the creamiest and dreamiest ingredient out there and I had some leftover from my BLT Without The B.
After the sauce, I follow it up with some roasted mushrooms and one of the simpler veggie burgers around: an Engine2 Plant-Strong Italian Fennel plant burger. The burger is made of brown rice, chickpeas, caramelized onions, red quinoa, garlic and sundried tomatoes a.k.a all of my favorite things you know.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp basil
- Himalayan pink sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 box of button mushrooms, sliced in half
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Cashew sauce:
- ½ cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 plant-based veggie burger of your choice
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350º. Cut squash in half, remove the seeds and coat each inside with your olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.
- Place on baking sheet with inside facing up and pop into the oven for 1 hour.
- At the same time, place your diced mushrooms on a separate baking sheet with 1 tbsp of olive oil to roast. Roast for 20-30 minutes.
- While mushrooms and squash are cooking, blend together your soaked/rinsed cashews, vegetable broth and nutritional yeast in a food processor for about two minutes. Make sure it is extra creamy! Add a tablespoon of water gradually if it is not thin enough to your liking.
- Take your squash and mushrooms out of the oven when done. Use a fork to scrape the insides of the squash to form spaghetti-like noodles.
- Place squash shreds into a bowl, top with sauce followed by mushrooms and your veggie burger (I heat mine in the oven for about 10 minutes before eating) and enjoy!
You might look at this recipe and say, “Wow I definitely need more than 5 ingredients to make this, ya silly goose.” But I am calling this a five ingredient dish primarily because of the main components: the squash, mushrooms, cashews, vegetable burger and nutritional yeast.
All of the others are just minor in making this dish come to life!
I like to make this dish when I come home from classes and while I’m waiting for the squash to cook I can crack down on blog posts, take photos for other recipes, study or even take a nap. Then once I bust the squash out from the oven, scrape out the insides and throw into my dish, I’m ready to devour it. I bought a smaller, medium squash so that I could eat the whole thing as a main meal but if you went without the veggie burger, this recipe would fit perfectly next to a piece of salmon or chicken for a little bit more protein!
Now when you take your first bite, you’ll notice the strings of squash get looped around your fork looking almost identical to pasta. Who wouldn’t want to stuff their face into that?! I could eat bowls on bowls of this stuff it is that good.
Plant-based, rich and packed with flavor. The way I like my dishes to be!
If you make this for your Valentine this weekend, let me know and tell me how you like it. If my non-existent bae made me this, I’d probably fall head over heels in love.
Happy Friday, chickpeas!