Spaghetti Squash & Garlicky Kale: Vegan Italian Extravaganza! (v, gf)

Well, well, well, looks like dinner was vegan and I didn’t even mean to plan it that way. And meat was not missed! This meal was full-flavored, hearty, and robust, sans any major source of protein.  I did miss having a glass of wine, though- but that still wouldn’t have disrupted the accidental vegan harmony (winey ommmmm).

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Dave and I made spaghetti squash for the first time last month, after my mother-in-law ordered it at a Ruby Tuesday (who’da thunk it) the night before a race. The race went well and we were left with happy memories of swimming, sweating, and spaghetti squash. I’ve made it three times now, and have been roasting it à la Martha– the squash has turned out well each time. Ms. Stewart doens’t disappoint. You really will be shocked and amazed at how easily the strands shred away in noodle-like ribbons from their gourds. Ooh! Aah! Spaghetti squash has a mild, neutral flavor, so pairing it with this very bold kale worked well. I also opted to use Newman’s Own Sockarooni, a loud sauce, for the squash itself.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH & GARLICKY KALE

Ingredients:

  • 1+ lb kale, washed and cut into ribbons
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • water
  • red wine vinegar
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 jar Newman’s Own Sockarooni or 2 cups homemade marinara (show-off)
  • salt & cracked black pepper
  • Parmesan, if desired (I understand this is not vegan- leave it off for true vegan purity and click more for a related video)

Directions:

***Before you begin, let me tell you that roasting spaghetti squash takes an hour and a half. It can be microwaved, but I can give zero advice on microwaved spaghetti squash because I haven’t done it. That sounds pretty unappealing, anyway. Cleared your calendar? Good! Here we go!***

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and move the rack you plan to use to the middle or bottom middle of the oven. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a knife, in rows from top to bottom. Place the squash on a baking sheet and b=roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes- set your timer for 40 minutes so you can flip it halfway through.

Once you have flipped the squash at 40 minutes, heat your olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven. Add enough chopped kale to cover the bottom of the pot and stir. It will be snap-crackle-popping, but don’t be scared. Add more kale if you think too much bare, hot pan is exposed and causing oil to pop. Stir and add the rest of the kale, in batches, coating with the hot oil. After all of the kale has wilted (about 3-5 minutes), salt it, cover and reduce heat to medium. After 5 minutes, or if the kale seems too dry, add a bit of water (about 1/4 cup), and recover.

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Let this kale cook until the spaghetti squash has just 5 minutes left, and add more water if you need to. With 5 minutes to go on the squash, uncover the kale, cook off any excess water, and push the kale to one side of the pot. Add a splash of olive oil to the bare side, and add the garlic to the oil. Stir gently for 1 minute; then combine with the kale. Add a splash of red wine vinegar, and stir again. Done!

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Okay, back to the squash. Remove it from the oven, cut off the ends with the trimmed stem, and cut the squash in half lengthwise to cool- use an oven mitt for this. It will be hot. Let the squash cool for about 15 minutes, then remove its middle seeds with a slotted spoon, the way you would with the seeds of a [piping hot] Halloween pumpkin. Holding a squash half with an oven mitt, scrape the flesh out from side to side over a colander. The flesh will come out in perfect, spaghetti-like strands! Heat a bit of sauce and top the squash with the sauce if your choice. Serve alongside the kale. Tasty, healthy, hearty, ever-loving goodness.

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