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

Directions

  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!
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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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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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Rainbow Collard Green Wrap

Of his own choosing my husband requested a recipe with collard greens and portobello mushrooms this week- seriously! If you knew Mr. CN five years ago your eyes would be popping out of your head right now. This is the guy whose vegetable intake was basically limited to guacamole and a tomato pasta sauce when I met him. Now, after years of gentle nudging and a few fancy dinners to expand his culinary horizons, my husband pages through Eating Well magazine in a manner similar to which I delve into newly published nutrition studies. Oh how my dietitian heart sings!

The point of this post is not the fact that we enjoyed delicious Collards and Portobello Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, but rather that I have collard greens for days and created a delicious and refreshing lunch for myself this week.

Collard green wraps are a great low-carb lunch option and a cool answer your cooking woes during this oppressive NYC heat. The best part is their versatility. I chose to prepare mine in more of a Mediterranean style (still reeling about my recent travels to Spain I suppose), but you could roll up a Mexican or Asian variety by changing the fillings (corn/black bean/bell peppers or tofu/kimchi/scallions, respectively) and perhaps serving it with a spicy or soy-based sauce.

Now, if you’re looking at that thick stem running through the leafy green thinking, “this is WAY too much crunch and will taste like I’m eating a twig”, trust me when I say it’s delicious! I was rolling my wrap with a little trepidation, but within my first few bites I was glad I didn’t break down the integrity of the collard by cutting it out- keep those leaves intact!

Collards are a Southern staple that are ripe with good nutrition- some of the standout nutrients are vitamins A & K, folate, and calcium. Plus, you get so much bang for your buck- my massive bunch, which will easily feed me/us for 3-4 meals, only cost $1.50. When you get big nutrition for a low cost it’s a win-win!

Rainbow Collard Green Wrap- serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 collard green leaf, washed and pat dry
  • 4 Tbsp hummus- I have found this Brooklyn-based company that I LOVE! Find it at Fairway.
  • 2 Honey and Ginger Love Beets, sliced
  • 3/4 bell pepper, sliced
  • sliced red onion
  • crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Layer

Roll- via a twitter video ’cause i’m new to this whole video thing :)