DISCOVER VIBRANT & VEGANFULL

Vibrant and Veganfull (V&V) provides vegan recipes to support health and contributions to sustainability.  V&V also explores ideas and concepts to provide you informed choices for living more sustainably.


With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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Spaghetti Squash & Mushroom Scampi

If there is a more interesting whole food than spaghetti squash, I don't know what it is but it would have to be incredibly spectacular to compete with this amazing gourd! Custard yellow and infinitely customizable, spaghetti squash is one of my favorite Italian whole foods (despite the origination of this fruit (yes, it's a fruit) in China). I say Italian because the fleshy strands that fall away from the rind once roasted represent noodle-like consistency without the processing; perfect for Italian fare.


Spaghetti squash stands up to heavy red sauces with chunky vegetables and tomatoes, but can also be a beautiful compliment for recipes like this where you are coating the silken twirls of fruit with a simple garlic and oil sauce. Gluten free for those with allergens combined with the folic acid, beta carotene, Vitamin A and potassium, this squash has found continued popularity and purchase in the heart-healthy minds of Americans

Sustainability Spotlight: Use of Spaghetti Squash (a whole food) vs. processed flour spaghetti represents one of the most easy swaps for packaging and processing wastes. Flour spaghetti takes an enormous amount of resources to go from wheat stalk to shaped strands of dried pasta and is 100% less sustainable than any whole food resource. Here's the (very simplified!) difference:


Spaghetti Squash: Grow in fields, harvest, wash, transport to store / market, purchase, roast / cook.


Spaghetti: Grow wheat or millet in fields, harvest, separate, mill / grind, transport 1 (ship to pasta manufacturing facility), mix with water, extrude into shapes, dry using energy (kilns), package in plastic or cardboard boxes, transport 2 (ship dried and packaged pasta to the store / market), purchase, boil water and cook.


As exemplified in the above, there are a lot more resources utilized to make that package of spaghetti pasta (especially water) vs. the resources used for whole food spaghetti squash in your recipes. If you haven't tried spaghetti squash before, don't be shy (you can't really mess it up - like pasta, just be sure to cook it to your preference for "chew" or texture). Grab a beautiful ellipse of squash at the store and roast on a crisp fall day. Use the in-season produce and reap the rewards of the gourd harvest season by placing this whole food replacement recipe in your meal planning. The world will thank you!


Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (trimmed, seeds removed and cut into 4 inch "rings")

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (divided)

  • 1/2 Spanish onion (diced)

  • 6-8 garlic cloves (sliced thin; level 1 on the mandoline)

  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (I used baby bella)

  • 1 lemon (juiced)

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1 cup vegetable stock (divided)

  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1 large handful of spinach (chopped)

  • 1 large handful of basil (chopped)

  • 1 large handful of parsley (chopped)

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. On a silpat lined baking sheet, place rings evenly and drizzle with 1/2 tbsp oil. Rub oil onto both sides and into the ring flesh. Roast for ~45 min - 1 hour until softened. Allow to cool for ~10 minutes and use a fork to "pull" the strands from the peel; discard peel.

  2. Next, heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the other half of the 1/2 tbsp of oil to the pan. Once it shimmers, swirl to coat and add onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Saute for ~5-7 minutes until the onion starts to become golden.

  3. Next, add mushrooms, basil, parsley, and a pinch more salt, saute another 5-7 minutes until mushrooms have released their juices. Add lemon and another pinch of salt and pepper.

  4. Now add 1/2 cup vegetable stock to deglaze the pan. Add 1/2 of the spinach and cook for ~2 minutes until wilted.

  5. Add tomatoes and squash to the pan and stir thoroughly to coat in pan "sauce." Next, add the remaining vegetable stock and the vegan butter; simmer for ~5 minutes stirring occasionally. Finally, stir in the remaining spinach to wilt; remove pan from heat.

  6. Serve healthy portions in pasta bowls; enjoy!

With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie


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