We have had an influx of visitors from back home in NYC (I love it!). And of course if people come over, I have to cook because that is just how I operate. Lately I have been swamped with work and toddler changes/tantrums, prepping my food every day for Whole30 and resisting that which I should not eat. So when guests come to town, if I don’t have anything prepped or time on my hands I need to come up with quick dishes. My fridge is overflowing with squash purees, so I decided to make her a pasta with a cayenne spiced pumpkin goat cheese sauce. My husband and friend loved it and I was drooling, frustrated I could not eat it. So of course I began to create a compliant recipe in my head and made it the very next day – gluten-free, dairy-free, white wine-free full of whole foods. Instead of spaghetti noodles, I used spaghetti squash. Instead of pumpkin, I used butternut squash just to change it up. Instead of goat cheese, I used cashew cream and nutrional yeast. Instead of white wine, I used lemon juice. And added kale and pistachios. Heavenly. I had three servings.
My counter top was full of squash and my fridge was full of squash puree after going to the pumpkin patch and farm with my daughter. I had been so focused on pumpkin treats, I decided to focus on a savory pumpkin dish.
Pumpkins are squashes but not all squashes are pumpkins. For the most part, butternut squash and pumpkin are interchangeable – I often used butternut squash in place of pumpkin – it’s sweeter, easier to de-seed and for the most part gives you more yield per fruit (I also prefer roasted butternut squash seeds to pumpkin seeds as they are less fibrous.)
I roasted the squash for 45 min to 1 hour at 400 degrees F in the oven until it was tender and soft as butter. The flesh was scooped out and pureed until it was smooth and creamy.
Like all purees, I store it in ziplock bags in the freezer until I need it.
To make the sauce, cashews soaked overnight in water and drained were placed into a food processor and pureed with veggie stock, spices, lemon juice and nutritional yeast until they were creamy and smooth with absolutely no texture.
Nutritional yeast is an important source for B-vitamins for non-meat, non-dairy diets. B vitamins are only made by eukaryotes and cannot be derived from plant sources. When B vitamins are depleted from our body, we are fatigued. And it can sneak up on you – my father who is a physician was hospitalized because he had been depleted of B vitamins for too long. Nutritional yeast offers a nutty flavor and gives cashew cream a “cheesy” flavor. The nutmeg and stock give it depth. The cayenne gives it just the right amount of heat.
The squash was simmered with the cashew cream, additional stock, olive oil and sauteed onions for a few minutes. I sauteed kale separately and folded it into the sauce.
Spaghetti squash is an interesting squash because the flesh is so fibrous, it forms strands that withstand heat and manipulation.
To cook it, I cut it in half, remove the seeds, and place it face down in a baking dish with some water – this steams it.
I cooked it at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes until tender enough to run a butter knife through it. To make the “spaghetti”, simply rake a fork back and forth – the “noodles” simply lift up. They are firm and make a great substitute for pasta.
I folded the squash into the sauce, served it and garnished with pistachios that I chopped into pieces.
The pistachios not only give the dish texture, but their distinctive flavor pairs so well with squash. Creamy. Rich. Nutty…almost cheesy. It was hard to resist fourths. My husband on the other hand finished the pot – he liked it more than the pasta dish I had made the night before. I can’t wait for my friend to return to try this version. 🙂
Spaghetti Squash with a Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce with Kale and Pistachios
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 cup butternut squash puree
- 1/2 cup cashews soaked overnight and drained
- 1 + 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2-3 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped fine
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 bunch kale (about 1 cup), de-stemmed and chopped
- chopped pistachios for garnish
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut sides down in a baking dish and add 1/3 cup of water. Cook for 35-45 min until tender. Let cool. Rake a fork back and forth in the flesh to remove as strands – noodles.
Meanwhile, place drained cashews, 1 cup vegetable stock, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, cayennes, salt and black pepper and puree until smooth without any chunks.
Melt coconut oil in a pot and add chopped onion – sautee until soft (about 5 min). Add butternut squash puree, cashew cream, olive oil and 1 cup stock and simmer with stirring for 5 min. Remove from heat – adjust for taste (salt, pepper, cayenne).
Add chopped kale to a pan with a bit of oil and over medium heat and gently sautee until wilted. Fold into the sauce.
Add in spaghetti squash and ladle into a bowl. Top with pistachios.