Some might call me an enigma. But “enigma” has always made me think “enema” and then I have to google enema to make sure I’m not actually thinking of the movie Enemy of the State. Basically, I’ll think it’s an insult. So I prefer being called a puzzle. A mystery inside a cop drama inside of a Rubik’s Cube. Half of me’s all like “what does this even mean?” and then the other half of me is like “exactly.”
Still with me?
Sweet Noodle-less Kugel is so right up my alley that it deserves a bowling analogy that I’ll let you figure out yourself. First of all, I’m a Jew and Passover is fast approaching so there’s that. But even more importantly, I took all the normal in this recipe and made it bizarro world. If there’s ever been a perfect recipe to flip on its face to take out bread or pasta or rice, it’s kugel. I mean, the base of the whole dish is supposed to be egg noodles which, if you can believe it/read, is not vegan. So in my effort to find an egg noodle replacement (mostly I just stared aimlessly around the pasta aisle at Whole Foods for way, way too long) I fell back on my old friend: the squash noodle. And it works! My goodness it works! If you have a spiral vegetable cutter similar to mine, you have three cut options: thin spirals, less thin spirals, and ribbon [spirals]. Ribbon spirals, when cut to 1-2″ long, produce a shape from the squash that is similar in both size and shape to classic egg noodles.
Another key component to a classic kugel is cottage cheese or cream cheese or sour cream or the whole trifecta. The easy route there is to replace cream cheese and sour cream with their vegan counterparts but, I’m not sure anyone’s told you this, vegan sour cream is the worst food on earth and also that’s not being very creative. But mostly that first part. Really bad. Vegan sour cream is really, really bad. Cue: the perfect excuse to make cashew cream. I mean, it’s kind of exceptionally awesome in kugel. You can make the cashew cream savory or sweet and it’s so easy to manipulate both the texture and the flavors. What you end up with is something similar to a cottage cheese/sour cream hybrid.
What else? I don’t know, this just tastes really, really good and really, really kugel-y. Maybe it was the Passover upsurge of Hasids in Union Square today asking every passerby if they were Jewish or maybe it was the Mitzvah Mobile set up nearby or maybe I just want to make something Passover-y and make my boyfriend eat it to see if he really loves me – Sweet Noodle-less Kugel felt really, really right today.
Next up? Vegan Brisket.
Jk. That sounds fucking terrible. Happy Passover!
SWEET NOODLE-LESS KUGEL
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + more for sprinkling
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- dash of ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons melted vegan butter
- 4 oz unsweetened applesauce
- 35g of raisins, gold/regular/combination of both
- 3 medium zucchinis or squash or a combination of both (nutrition facts based on 300g squash, 200g zucchini)
- 1 teaspoon Splenda brown sugar blend
- cooking spray
next year in Not-Crown Heights!
Put your cashews in a bowl. Cover with water. Let them soak at least an hour and a half. Drain, rinse with cool water, and transfer to a high powered food processor. Add enough water to cover the nuts by about ½” – we want this cashew cream to be on the thicker side. Process the cashews and water until it becomes a thick, creamy consistency. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Adjust a little to your liking. Add in the melted butter and applesauce. Process until it’s even creamier. Set aside while you do the rest of the stuff.
preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Find a square baking dish – I want to say mine was 8×8? 9×9? can’t judge spacial relationships x still can’t judge spacial relationships?
Using a spiral vegetable slicer (if you’re using the kind I have – The Paderno Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Slicer - use the straight blade [the one on the far right of the product picture] to produce a ribbon cut), make your zucchini or squash or both into zucchini ribbon noodles or squash ribbon noodles or both. Don’t let the ribbon noodle strands get too long – lob them off after every inch or 2. Remember, the goal is to mimic egg noodles.
In a large bowl, combine your veggie noodles and the cashew cream mixture. Stir in the raisins.
Spray your baking pan with some cooking spray. Spread the veggie noodle/cashew cream/raisin mixture into the pan. Sprinkle some more ground cinnamon + the Splenda brown sugar on top. Bake for an hour or so. Let cool before serving or it may fall apart.
I wish I’d made 1-10 dayenu references somewhere in here! Rats! I mean, flying frogs!
NUTRITION: 256 calories . 20g carbs . 18g fat . 7g protein . 2g fiber . 9g sugar