Asian Inspired Spaghetti Squash Boats

Last week I did not enjoy my lunch. In an effort to conserve, cook with what I had on hand, and trust in my kitchen creativity, I created a butternut squash and carrot soup, spiced with miso, ginger paste, and black pepper, for a slightly Asian flair. Now, my stovetop tastes all led me to believe I had created a warming, seasonal soup that would pack up well for two days worth of work lunches. Yet, for some reason, as I got over halfway through my soup I stopped loving my lunch. Something was missing- or was it that there was too much of something else? The flavor simply did not carry over to the next day.

So here I was, staring down another mason jar of soup that was supposed to be packed into the next day’s lunch bag, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. If you know me at all, you know I HATE wasting food, so I was then presented with a new challenge of re-purposing my sad soup.

Rather than use it as a soup, I thought why not turn it into a sauce! I’ve been keeping lunches fairly plant-based and so it was decided to keep the Asian inspiration going with some tempeh. Never cooked with tempeh before? I prefer its meaty, nutty texture and taste over tofu, and I find that pan-fried pieces hold well in the fridge so as to toss them into meals throughout the week. The base that would tie together my soup-sauce and tempeh was to be spaghetti squash boats, which will inevitably draw “you’re too healthy” eye rolls from my coworkers, but I could easily see this served over soba noodles or brown rice. With a little ingenuity, I am confident I’ll be enjoying not one, but two lunches this week!

What are your recipe flops turned successes?

Asian Inspired Spaghetti Squash Boats- serves 2

Ingredients for “soup sauce”

  • 1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash soup
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste from Trader Joe’s, or 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions- *Remember, this soup was somewhat of a flop, so follow these directions loosely and “go with your gut”, it’s all gonna be re-purposed anyways.

  1. In a medium pot, combine squash, carrots, and stock, which should cover the vegetables, and if not, add a touch of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are fork tender.
  2. Add ginger and miso to softened vegetables. Stir until combined, then turn off heat. Use an immersion blender or countertop blender to puree soup into a smooth, silky texture. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Remaining Ingredients

  • 1 small to medium sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 package Organic Flax Tempeh by Lightlife, or any brand of your choosing
  • olive oil as needed
  • cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees to prepare the spaghetti squash. Slice  squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds from both halves. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Lay squash halves cut-side down on a baking tray. Bake until able to pierce skin with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven and flip over to allow flesh to cool.
  2. While squash is cooling, prepare the tempeh. Remove entire block from package and cut into triangles. In a medium cast-iron skillet or pan, heat a small amount of oil. Pan-fry tempeh triangles, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove once cooked and let cool.
  3. Once squash is cool, use a fork to scrape insides into spaghetti strands. Place strands in a separate bowl. To the spaghetti squash, add the “soup sauce”. Mix until strands are well-coated.
  4. Add sauce covered spaghetti back to squash boats. Nestle in tempeh triangles and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Kefir Pumpkin Bread with Miso Nut Butter Spread

When it’s 70 degrees and sunny in October, flu and cold season seems farther away than ever; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t start playing defense by boosting your immune system now. Truthfully, I believe that a whole foods, well-rounded diet, combined with a healthy dose of physical activity is the best year-long medicine, but there is a group of foods that can help to fortify your most crucial defensive player during the winter months. I’m talking about probiotic foods and your gut.
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Chai Spice Almond Butter

New York City has not been shy about welcoming fall this weekend. The temperature dropped a cool ten degrees, pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that waves at you from every storefront, and footballers have taken over the bar scene- fall is finally here! 

Wrapped up in a cozy sweater, with a warm mug of tea, I’m waiting to take my Sunday morning trip to the farmers market to see if my fruit farmers have brought their apples to market yet. While I usually get more excited about other cool-weather produce, such as butternut squash and parnsips, I’m especially eager for this season’s crop of apples so I can eat them with my delicious Chai Spice Almond Butter.
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The Story of the Late Night Snacker

When I meet with patients who are looking to lose weight for reasons X, Y, or Z  one of my most valuable tools as an RD is conducting a thorough diet recall. Essentially I’ll start by asking them to tell me at what time they wake up, when and what is the first thing they eat, and so on and so forth. They’ll proceed to walk me through a typical day, uninterrupted, telling me about their meals and wrap up their story by saying, “See, I don’t eat that much” or “I feel like my meals are healthy, I just don’t get why I’m not losing weight”.

As an RD I know that asking them to walk me through their day once is never the end of their eating story. I’ll carefully revisit their day, asking for elaboration on brands, portion size, and timing, which usually reveals a bit more. Towards the end, almost as a sneak attack tactic, I ask about their drink and snack habits, which have conveniently been left out of their original telling of their story. At long last, I usually uncover their “zinger”, the answers to why weight loss has been so difficult!
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Zucchini Noodle Paella

Was it really only 2 months ago that Mr. CN and I were munching and sipping our way around Spain? Summer has flown by, but the sights, smells, and sounds of bustling Barcelona and the beaches of Mallorca have still been trapped in my senses.

Thinking back on this trip is especially poignant as I’m writing this post in late August, only a few weeks following the tragedy on Las Ramblas. My husband and I strolled down that main thoroughfare, taking in the lively vendors, and stopping off the strip to visit La Boqueria market for snacks. My heart was saddened with the news of the attacks, but I was happy that local and visiting friends who were nearby reported their safety during that time. The people of Barcelona and Spain are strong, persistent, and resilient, and today’s recipe pays tribute to that beauty.

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