Cashew Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash

This is another 'comfort food' recipe hack that I came up with. Basically a version of macaroni and cheese with neither the macaroni nor the cheese. But it does feature some of the ingredient darlings of this blog--cheese made from blended cashews, spaghetti squash, and spinach. It's a really light alternative to a traditional pasta dish, but also filling enough to work as a dinner.

To be honest this is another recipe out of my draft folder as I've been a bit too swamped to take photos of anything new lately. I've also been trying to perfect a gluten-free, vegan sourdough bread roll, but so far have just produced a variety of hockey pucks that are only edible when you microwave them in a wet paper towel. However, I'm about to embark on a glorious 12 day break from work, so I'm hoping to plan ahead during that time and perfect the bread rolls. Ambitious? Maybe so.

I've also started eyeing Spring races, as after nearly two months of running slow miles with the dogs, I think I'm ready to start training again. That said, our weather forecast also calls for temps around 4 degrees for this coming weekend, which isn't exactly inspirational. I pride myself on being an all-weather runner, but I also have some self-preservation skills when it comes to avoiding frostbite. So training may need to wait.

Anyway, back to the recipe. This is a great dinner to make, but you probably won't have too many leftovers, so keep that in mind. This picture shows a single serving, but this makes enough for about two-four people, depending on how hungry you are. It was two people in my house because I'm always starving.

What You Need:

  • One Medium Spaghetti Squash, cooked & scraped (I make mine by cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds, then putting it face down over a bowl of water in the Microwave for 10-12 minutes. Be careful when scraping out the strands after--it will be super hot!)

  • One cup of peas, fresh or frozen

  • Two cups of densely packed baby spinach

  • Half an onion, chopped

  • One minced garlic clove

  • One tablespoon of oil of your choice (or you can substitute water)

  • (Optional) Two tablespoons nutritional yeast to sprinkle on top

For the Vegan Ricotta:

  • 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours and drained

  • Handful of fresh basil

  • Two garlic cloves

  • One tablespoon Miso

  • Two tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

This recipe is basically a collection of different steps that ends with combining everything. I recommend the order below to allow for the spaghetti squash to cool.

Step Zero: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees!

Step One: Start with your spaghetti squash in the microwave, then let it sit while you prepare everything else so it's cool enough to handle.

Step Two: Prep your vegan ricotta by blending the raw cashews, fresh basil, garlic cloves, miso, lemon juice, salt and water until creamy.

Step Three: For this recipe, I actually sauteed the onions and garlic in advance because I had a little extra time. To do that you simply chop up your onion and mince your garlic. Place a saucepan on medium heat and add your oil or water. Then add your onions and garlic, stirring until the onions are translucent.

Step Four: In a large mixing bowl, add all of your ingredients: the cooked spaghetti squash, the vegan ricotta, the peas, the spinach, and the cooked onion/garlic mix. Stir gently, with the goal of coating all of the ingredients with the vegan ricotta.

Step Five: Once everything is well mixed, transfer to an oven safe casserole dish.

Step Six: Leave in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Optional Step Seven: Put the dish under the broiler for an additional 2-5 minutes (watching closely so it doesn't burn) so that the top gets browned and crispy.

This would be a really easy recipe to add some extras too such as tomatoes, tofu, etc. Let me know what you come up with.


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