Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chopped garlic
  • 1 skinny bottle of capers (or two short fat bottles)
  • 1 skinny jar of pitted Kalamata olives (whole or halved, you choose)
  • 1 cup red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Italian seasoning or Herbs d’Provence (it’s Italian season plus lavender)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • Chili flakes (optional if you want to spice it up)
  • Olive oil

Hardware

  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Hot pads or cotton kitchen towels (don’t pick up hot things wiht microfiber towels. They will melt)
  • Large stainless steel or enamle cast iron pot
  • Can opener
  • Wooden spoon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss in whole squash once oven is heated.
  2. In a large pot, over medium heat, ad a generous drizzle of olive oil and saute the onions, garlic and Italian Seasoning/Herb d’Provence.
  3. Once that fills your kitchen with heavenly aromas and the onions are translucent (about 2 minutes), add the capers, olives and wine.
  4. Stir that whole combo together and let it simmer for a few minutes to get the alcohol flavor out of the wine and reduce a tad.
  5. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add 2 pinches of salt and 6 cracks of pepper. Toss in your chili flakes now if you desire. Stir to combine.
  6. Let that sauce hang out over medium-low heat to let everything marry happily together.
  7. Adjust the seasoning on the sauce as needed and then turn the burner to low, just to keep it warm.
  8. Poke the squash with a sharp knife. If it goes into the flesh easily, it’s done. If there’s firm resistance, let it go longer.
  9. Once the squash is done, take it out (be careful that sucker is hot!) and put it in your cutting board. Use a hot pad, folder towel, or pair of tongs to keep the squash in placed as you cut it in half, through the equator, not the axis (sideways not up and down).
  10. Open the halves and use a large spoon to scrape out the guts and seeds. Toss that in the trash or your compost bin.
  11. Using a large dinner fork, scrape the flesh out onto your cutting board, or into a separate bowl. This is will be your noodles.
  12. After you get all the “noodles” out, add them to your sauce and mix it all up.
  13. Serve hot!

Pro Tips

  • As with any pasta dish, you can sprinkle some “Parmesan” on top. Go Veggie brand is really good and totally reminds me of the Kraft version you can buy in the pasta aisle.
  • Make your sauce a day in advance to really bring out the flavors. Sauces, soups and chilies are usually even better the second day.

Special Brownies, not that kind of special

This surprisingly decadent recipes is courtesy of So Vegan

Makes 12 delicious gluten-free brownies.

Ingredients

1 can black beans (240g drained weight)
1/2 avocado
1 cup brown sugar (suitable for vegans)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut oil (plus more for greasing)
Large pinch of salt
150g dark chocolate (suitable for vegans) – that’s about half a bag of chocolate chips

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and grease a 12-slot muffin tray with coconut oil.

2. Drain and rinse beans, then add beans, avocado, sugar, cocoa powder, half the walnuts (1/4 cup), baking powder, vanilla extract, coconut oil and the salt to a food processor.

3. Melt 120g of the dark chocolate in a double boiler, then transfer to the food processor.

4. Combine ingredients in the food processor for 1-2 minutes.

5. Evenly distribute the mixture into the muffin tray (roughly one heaped tablespoon per slot).

6. Cut remaining chocolate into 12 pieces and put one piece on top of each brownie, pushing down gently on each piece of chocolate so they become partly submerged in the mixture.

7. Finely chop the remaining walnuts and sprinkle over brownies. I think walnuts are the devil, so I skipped this garnish steps but kept them in the mix.

8. Place muffin tray in oven for 20-25 minutes (we take them out after 22 minutes). Yo, baking time greatly varies depending on altitude. I’m at about 5,000 feet and these took a solid 50 minutes to bake in my gas oven.

9. Leave to cool completely before gently removing each brownie. The longer you leave them to cool, the easier they will be to remove them from the tin. Gently loosen the brownies out of the tin with the thin end of a fork.

This is where a food processor (or food professor as my BFF calls it) comes in WAY handy. You could surely try this in a blender but you better have something beefy, like a Vitamix or Blendtec to get the job done.