Cue the copious amounts of seasonal recipes!
So many good fall things happening here.
First off, it’s officially tights-under-shorts weather. Praise!
Second, it’s spaghetti squash season and dare I say spaghetti squash tastes better than spaghetti? I dared! I dared!
Third, pumpkin. Pumpkin in everything. Because fall.
I doubt I’m the only one, but I don’t eat pasta for the same reason I don’t eat bread or pizza: our history is rocky and there was that one incident where we both said things we didn’t mean and I packed up my things and left for good. Also, I meant those things that I said. But, like everyone who’s ever cut out carbs knows, a spaghetti void can grow. But that’s where spaghetti squash comes in! Delicious, delicious spaghetti squash! Taking pasta’s place because I’ve moved on and you don’t own me anymore! There are also zucchini and yellow squash noodles in this spaghetti bake because why would you eat one type of squash when you could be eating three types of squash?
And I’m pleased to say that pumpkin puree is a fabulous fall edition to the vegan ricotta from Lasagna and Lasagna Bites recipes of yore. The bite of the ricotta gives the subtle pumpkin puree a tangy lift. A layer of earthy mushrooms are a rich and meaty addition to this dish, making it as hearty as a something-that’s-really-hearty. And, as is common with pumpkinny goodies, all the flavors are elevated when the dish is baked. Seriously, baked pumpkin puree is like a warm hug.
Also sprouted pumpkin seeds are my new favorite overpriced snack. The Bulk Aisle delivers again!
I LOVE YOU FALL.
BAKED VEGGIE SPAGHETTIS with VEGAN PUMPKIN RICOTTA
makes 6 big portions
adapted from an About.com Recipe
VEGAN PUMPKIN RICOTTA
- 3/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- the juice of half a lemon
- 185g pumpkin puree
- 1 small spaghetti squash, yielding about 500g of “spaghetti”
- 1 small zucchini (125g), spiral cut into noodles
- 1 small yellow squash (125g), spiral cut into noodles
- 50g yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 8oz package of baby bella mushrooms
- a dash of oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce, divided (Dell’amore’ Premium Marinara Sauce with Artichoke & Capers is a dream come true, fyi)
- 1/2 cup Daiya shredded mozzarella
Prepare your vegan pumpkin ricotta:
Soak the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in two different containers, using enough water to cover the nuts/seeds with about a 1/2″ of water. Lightly cover and soak for an hour.
Drain your nuts and seeds and toss them in a food processor along with the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt. Process everything until it’s all small ricotta-curd-sized chunks. One tablespoon at a time, add up to 3 tablespoons of water to your food processor, processing everything after each addition. Use your own judgment for the water but stop adding it when you like the consistency and think it’s ricotta-like enough. Transfer your pureed goods to a bowl and fold in the pumpkin puree. Add some extra salt and/or lemon juice as you see fit.
Prepare your squash:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pierce the skin of your spaghetti squash several times with a fork. Place it in a baking sheet and bake it for an hour, turning it every so often for even cooking and to keep the skin from burning. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. It takes a surprising amount to cool enough for comfortable handling so go about the rest of your business.
The rest of your business:
Cook your onions in a skillet over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Toss your mushrooms in with some salt and pepper and your dash of oregano. Cook your mushrooms until they’re brown and tender and delicious. Remove from the heat.
Turn your oven up to 400 degrees and take out a baking dish (a medium sized square one was kinda perfect).
Slice your cooled spaghetti squash in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds and middle dark orange gunk. Using a fork or a spoon or your hands (guess which one I used…), scoop out all the noodle-like meat of the squash, being careful not to destroy the strands too badly, and place it in a large bowl. Add 1/2-2/3 of the vegan pumpkin ricotta to the bowl and stir until the spaghetti squash is thoroughly coated. In another bowl, combine the spiral cut zucchini and yellow squash with the remaining vegan pumpkin ricotta and mix until coated.
Spread your spaghetti squash mixture into the pan. Spread 1 cup of your pasta sauce on top of it. Top with the mushrooms and onions mixture. Spread the zucchini and yellow squash spirals on top of that. Cover very lightly with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce. (Use another full cup for more substantially coverage but it’s not necessary and may make it all too wet.) Top with your cup of Daiya shreds.
Bake for 30 minutes or until your Daiya is melty and everything underneath is bubbly. Serve with some extra pumpkin seeds on top.