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Impressive Vegan Entrées

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Today, I present you with a recipe for Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas & Veggies. Now that you may be starting to dine again with a few friends on occasion or meeting up with family you haven’t seen in more than a year, you might want a dish that impresses them with the delights of vegan cuisine. This entrée will wow them—even If I do say so myself!

Admittedly, this stuffed squash is a bit of a project. There is nothing difficult about it, but it has several steps, so plan to make this when you have a couple hours to relax and enjoy cooking.

This recipe takes advantage of my recently posted Asparagus & Sweet Potato Side, which becomes the filling of the scooped-out spaghetti squash boat. Of course, you might choose a different coupling of vegetables. I recommend pairing something sweet—like the squash—with something astringent or bitter.

I made quick work of freshly cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzos) in my 20-something-year-old pressure cooker, and you can certainly do the same in your Instant Pot, which has the advantage of being newer and more in vogue. I then  puréed half of the beans to make a homemade Hummus Topping. The advantage to this hummus is that it’s made without tahini—and, thus, is free of sesame. Many people, myself included, have some sensitivity or even allergy to sesame, an ingredient found in most commercial hummus. I believe you will find that this sesame-free version of the beloved side dish does not disappoint!

If you do not want to create a showpiece like the one pictured here, you can scoop out the spaghetti squash strands and serve them on a plate topped with the vegetables. Either way, enjoy this delicious Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas & Veggies!

 

PS  Special thanks to Sari-Rose Brown, my temporary sous chef and food stylist, who is helping me while I rest my hands for a few weeks.

BAKED SPAGHETTI
SQUASH WITH
CHICKPEAS & VEGGIES

Preparation Time: About 2.5 hours, including 1.5 hours active in addition to 8 hours soaking
Serves 4

For the Squash Boats
2 large spaghetti squash
¼ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the Asparagus and Sweet Potato Filling
See Asparagus & Sweet Potato Side recipe here.
Plus ½ teaspoon salt
1 large leek (optional)

For the Hummus Topping:
3 cups cooked chickpeas
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons whole coconut milk (or more olive oil)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water

Time Saver: You can bake the squash earlier in the day, so they are ready to stuff once the filling is complete.

1. Prepare the chickpeas: Cover the chickpeas with water and soak them for at least 8 hours before cooking. Rinse and strain them 3 or 4 times before cooking, preferably in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot on the pressure setting, which will take up to an hour from the time the pressure builds to maximum pressure, then releases naturally. The chickpeas can take up to 2 hours to become tender if they’re cooked in a standard pot on a stovetop. Once they’re tender, strain the chickpeas and set them aside.

2. Prepare the squash: Preheat the oven to 450°F and line two baking dishes with parchment paper. Carefully cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and the darker colored strands around them. Place the halves flesh down in the baking dishes. Cover with foil and bake about 90 minutes. Once the squashes are very tender, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, rake the squash halves with a fork to delicately pull the squash away from the sides of the shell. Drizzle a little olive oil over each half and add a pinch of salt to each.

3. Make the filling: See directions for the Asparagus and Sweet Potato Filling here.  If you wish, slice a leek and add it to the pan along with the asparagus.

4. Prepare the Hummus Topping: Transfer 3 cups of the cooked chickpeas to a food processor bowl. Add the oil, coconut milk, lime juice, pressed garlic, salt, and water and pulse several times. Then process about five minutes total, stopping occasionally to stir with a spatula if needed and taste. Increase salt, oil, and lime, to taste.

5. Assemble the entrée: Sprinkle the remaining chickpeas with ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt and transfer them to the pan holding the Asparagus and Sweet Potato Filling. Stir gently to combine. Fill each of the squash halves with ¼ of the vegetable mixture. Reheat in a warm oven for 10 minutes if necessary. Then top with hummus and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

Add a dash of black pepper, if you wish.

Add a dash of cayenne, if you wish.

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