During this time of the year; i.e. winter months & holidays, I feel like everyone's stress levels are in high gear. We seem to be more emotional, our to-do lists grow longer by the day as the days become darker and colder, we start to reflect on the past years and compare it to what we have accomplished so far this year, wondering if we are where we should be. SO, with that being said, during this time, I always like to make sure that I am preparing healthy meals each week that are nourishing my body properly instead of stressing it out. Ones that are light, but filling. Dishes that won't slow me down and leave me feeling like I need to go and take the biggest nap on the couch until we actually reach 2017. Usually, I turn to more plant-based types of dishes because they tend to make me feel more energized and they are easier for me to digest. Also, I know when I make a big batch of a plant based meal, I can always add in a lean meat protein or fish if I want to during the week to change it up.
I crave all the winter vegetables during the time and squash is no exception. Spaghetti squash is probably one of my favorite things to make because it is honestly one of the most simple things you can make, besides from trying to cut the dam thing in half! Seriously though, I fear for my fingers every time the cutting board moves as I am slicing it with my massive knife.....After roasting it in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size, you simply grate the insides with a fork and you've got yourself some spaghetti squash!
Top it with a red sauce or pesto like here and you feel like you are eating pasta! I've never been a big red sauce person and always prefer spaghetti squash with either pesto, olive oil, or a dairy free butter. I already have a pesto recipe on the blog, but I decided to make a new one for this squash- it is quicker, easier- but just as tasty! If you are allergic to nuts, but can tolerate pine nuts, just use pine nuts for the entire recipe! I also think it makes the dish a bit heartier since the pesto has nuts, nutritional yeast, and olive oil in the mix; it gives the dish a little extra protein and healthy fats, but if you are looking to incorporate a fish or meat into the dish, I would recommend shrimp or chicken! The pesto recipe makes about 1 cup and if you are serving the squash as a side you will have enough leftovers for lunch the next day or if you are eating a whole half it makes an entire meal!
1 squash, cut in half length wise
Yields about 1 cup (*will keep for about 1 week)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup sprouted almonds
2 & 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. pink himalayan sea sat
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, length wise and coat with about 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil and a little sea salt and black better.
3. Bake the squash in the oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The time will greatly depend on size. It will be done when it is tender and can easily be scrapped with a fork on all sides and middle to resemble spaghetti.
Make the pesto while squash is baking.
In a food processor:
1. Add the the pine nuts and the almonds and processor until somewhat of a flour consistency is formed. I prefer it to be a little on the chunky side. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Taste test and adjust to preference.
To combine: Allow the squash to cool for about 10 minutes and then scrape the sides and the middle with a fork and add the pesto. Top off with red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, and pine nuts!