Can a Vegetable Really Pass for a Noodle?

The answer is yes!   Each time I pass by the pale yellow spaghetti squash in the vegetable aisle, I think about the magic that happens when that squash is cut in half, seeded, and roasted.  Wielding my Nana’s three-tined cooking fork, I scrape the flesh.   Sweet strands separate from the skin, yielding a firm, golden, noodle-like pile, ready to be dressed up and served to a crowd.  I have not cooked spaghetti squash since my pre-vegan days. Then, the sauce was all about cream, Parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper and crumbled bacon.  I once tried it with traditional sauce, but somehow the squash didn’t meet my expectations when ladled with tomatoes and ground beef.  The creamy sauce was definitely the favorite.

At Trader Joe’s, I eye the stack of local produce in the entrance way.  I think of cashew cream, and know exactly what to do.  I buy the squash and make a vegan Indian yellow curry with vegetables to serve over it.

Indian cooking can be mysterious— there are many complex flavors, and sometimes the list of spices can be intimidating.  I have experimented with Indian cooking for years, combining various flavors to try and duplicate the tastes I love from my favorite restaurants.  This recipe came out exactly like something I ate recently at Passage to India in Portland, ME.  The spaghetti squash turned out to be the perfect bottom layer, replacing the traditional Basmati rice usually served with curry.  My son was home for the weekend and couldn’t wait to get to the dinner table.  I think he even ended his skateboarding session early to join us.  We didn’t talk much at the table that night— dinner was too tasty to do anything but savor each bite.  My daughter insisted I write down exactly what I did before I forgot.  I did as she asked and was able to duplicate the recipe again a few days later.  We needed to finish the leftover squash and I couldn’t imagine serving it with anything else.

Yellow Curry  and Vegetables with Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash, washed, split, and seeded

For the Vegetables:

olive oil

1 sweet onion, chopped into medium dice

1 red bell pepper, washed, split, seeded and chopped into medium dice

3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, skins on, chopped into medium dice

4 cups finely chopped cabbage

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2-3/4 cup thick cashew cream

2 cups water

For the curry:

olive oil

2 tsp. mustard seeds

2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp. Madras curry powder

1 tbsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup raw slivered almonds

1 tsp. sea salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 °.  Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the clean squash, cut side down, on the cookie sheet and roast for about 50-60 minutes, or until the skin gives when pressed firmly with your finger.  Remove from oven, turn over the halves and allow to cool.

While squash is cooking, prepare the vegetables and curry:  For the vegetables:  In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Add onions and peppers and cook over medium-high heat until onion begins to soften.  Add garlic and stir.  Add potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until potato starts to soften.  Add a little water if the skillet becomes too dry.  Add the cabbage and cook about 5 minutes more.  Add peas, raisins, coconut, cashew cream and the water.  Stir well to combine and turn off heat.

For the curry:  Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and roll the oil around the pan to coat.  Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook until you can smell the cumin and the mustard seeds begin to pop.  Add the almonds and another tbsp. of oil.  Continue to cook until the almonds start to brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the Madras curry, the turmeric, the ginger and the salt.  Stir well to combine.  The pan with start to look dry when it is ready.  Stir in the cinnamon and remove from heat.  Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper.

Combine the curry with the vegetable mixture, stirring gently but thoroughly.  The mixture should be thick and creamy, the vegetables tender but not mushy.

To serve: Spoon about a cup of spaghetti squash into a shallow bowl.  Ladle the vegetable curry over the squash.  Serves 6-8 hungry people for dinner.

Some nice condiments to add to this meal are tamarind chutney, (a sweet thick sauce of tamarind and dates), coriander chutney,(a bright green, slightly spicy, tart cilantro paste), and lime pickle (a fiery-hot, salty traditional Indian pickle).  Most grocery stores carry these in the international food section.

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6 Comments on “Can a Vegetable Really Pass for a Noodle?”

  1. Tes Says:

    I love spaghetti squash as substitute of pasta when I wanna eat lighter and healthier…but I would say that it’s never taste better than real pasta though… but it does taste ok and make me feel good.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe… I can’t wait to try it.


    • Hi Tes, In this recipe, the squash really does pass— hope you give it a try! Thanks for reading! Elizabeth

      • Debbie Says:

        I made this last nite on Halloween….Yum!!The cashew cream is to die for…..I just should have bought a bigger squash we had more curry than squash oh well thanks for this great recipe!!!!Deb


      • So glad you liked it! We probably put more curry on our squash than you did— but it’s great over rice, too. Thanks for reading!


  2. Raw Slivered Almonds…

    […] e the clean squash, cut side down, on the cookie sheet and roast for about 50-60 […]…


  3. You kinda make me want to seriously consider being a vegan. Keep posting this stuff,please. And add offering classes in tasty vegan cooking to your list of Things Elizabeth Does.


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