Curried Spaghetti Squash


Last weekend I was invited to a "Bring-A-Friend" Potluck Holiday Party. Each guest was asked to bring a dish for sharing, and a friend not known by the hosts. What a fun evening eating delicious food and meeting new company! The party was a great kick off to the December holiday season.

I have been cooking more with squash the last few weeks, as it is in season now. Here is the recipe for the vegan dish I made, to be a topping for toast or crackers, or savored on its own. Your tastebuds will enjoy a spice kick, so a side of yogurt may be a nice complement.

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds), halved and seeded (Optional: keep the seeds aside for roasting)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (plus a little extra for roasting seeds)

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 carrot, shredded

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced

  • Turmeric (Haldi) - 1 tablespoon

  • Coriander, ground (Dhania) - 1 tablespoon

  • Cumin, ground (Jeera) - 1 1/2 teaspoons

  • Garam Masala - 1 1/2 teaspoons

  • Red chili powder 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon (as spicy as you like!)

  • Orange zest, finely grated - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

  • Water - 1/2 cup

  • Cilantro, chopped - 1/2 cup

  • Toasted bread or crackers (optional)

  • Toasted pumpkin seeds (if not roasting seeds from squash)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the halved spaghetti squash cut side up on a baking sheet. Brush the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast the spaghetti squash for about 45 - 60 minutes, until the flesh is tender and lightly browned in spots. Remove from oven and let it cool slightly.

2. You may roast the seeds from the squash, or buy already toasted pumpkin seeds. First clean the seeds, separating them from the pulp and rinsing under cold water in a colander. Shake them dry (do not blot with paper towel as they will stick). Place them on baking sheet, and toss with a little olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Toss and return back to the oven for another 20-30 minutes, until crisp and golden. If you like some flavor, toss with a pinch of garam masala before returning for second baking.

3. While the squash is baking, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and shredded carrot and cook over medium-high heat; stir frequently, for about 5 minutes, until they are just tender. Add the garlic, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala, red chili powder, and orange zest and cook until fragrant, stirring for about 1 minute. Add the drained chickpeas and the water. Simmer until the vegetables are very tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

4. Using a fork, rake the squash into strands. Add the chopped cilantro and squash to the curry. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the roasted seeds. Serve the curried squash over toasted bread or crackers, or enjoy solo!

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© 2014 Seetal Cheema, MD, PC; Seetal Cheema Wellness.   All rights reserved.