Vegan/Vegetarian Pulled ‘Pork’ (Spaghetti Squash)

We had some remaining spaghetti squash from this year’s growing season, (it’s December, and they keep really well!) and had just had the classic spaghetti-squash-with-spaghetti-sauce iteration recently, so we wanted something different (and simple!)

I stumbled across the original recipe idea: http://greatist.com/eat/recipes/barbecue-spaghetti-squash-pulled-pork-tacos, but wanted something even simpler than that.  A crock pot beckoned.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 or 2 spaghetti squash (depending on size, may need more if smaller squash)

Coconut Oil

Cumin

 

BBQ Sauce (I used a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s: http://www.sweetbabyrays.com/ but use whichever you like, or make your own)

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Cut squash length-wise and remove seeds. Remove the stem end. (You can make and snack on roasted squash* seeds** while you are waiting for this to cook!)   Put aluminum foil in a baking pan large enough for squash (use a pan with sides). Rub coconut oil on cut sides and in center of squash halves.   Sprinkle cumin over all and put cut side facing down, onto aluminum foil. Bake halves at 350 for at least 45 minutes, until squash is tender- check with a fork. (It should string out like spaghetti from shell.) More baking time may be needed; it will depend on the size of the squash.

 

Put 2 cups of water in crock pot. Mince onions and garlic and add to crock pot. Add half of squash to crock pot and top with BBQ sauce. Add remaining squash and top with more BBQ sauce. Follow crock pot directions (can be on low or high setting).   Stir halfway through cooking time.   Add more BBQ sauce to taste. Let cook with crock pot cover off for a little if mixture is too watery. Serve on rolls/buns.

recipe in crock pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crock-potting it up!

 

 

 

recipe plated with rolls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-crock.

 

Feedback:  The cumin gave the squash a nice deep flavor, and the BBQ simmered down to be very rich and robust. We would definitely make this again.  We froze some for later use.

Some family members said they liked this better than actual pulled pork because it was not fatty.

The squash (not altogether unexpected) was maybe lighter than my hardwired-for-pulled-pork brain was expecting.  Next time, I may add a few lentils to cook in the crock pot with the mix to add a little more heartiness to the dish/make it more toothsome.  I’d have to watch the liquid levels, though, just so nothing dries out.

*                                                                   *                                                            *

 

*Yes, these squash seeds will work too- move over, pumpkin!

**Additional recipe for roasted squash seeds: Check out the link, or use my way- cover a pan with parchment paper- no butter/oil needed.  Add squash seeds (no need to rinse, though you may want to pick out any random squash strands).  Shake your favorite seasoning over seeds.  Salt, if desired, or a no-salt seasoning works just fine too.  Stir and season again.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir.  Add more seasoning if desired.  Bake another 10 minutes or until seeds have completely dried (the seasoning will dry/adhere to the seeds).  Enjoy!

Soup Day!

Squash soup with wild rice

Yes, pomegranate in the background…

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s National Homemade Soup Day!  And there are always plenty of ideas and flavors for soup…

I love soup.  It’s not the first time nor the last time I will say that on this blog.  I enjoy eating different soups as much as I enjoy making soup.  I like that it’s easy, aside from much chopping (sometimes)!  The above picture is of a curried squash and wild rice soup that I made a little while ago with the last of our squash we had from our Community Shares Agriculture (CSA) share.  I often make soups with the abundance of vegetables we get, especially in the middle of summer.  It tends to freeze well for winter, when CSA vegetables are nowhere around.  I tend to use spices instead of salt, almost to the point of under-salting, though the broth adds much of what I don’t.

The recipe turned out fairly well.  I followed some of the comments and caramelized the onions in brown sugar, as well as using tomato sauce for an acid instead of orange juice.  I also upped the curry powder a bit.  I baked the squash beforehand, which made it easy to mix together and used an immersion blender before adding the rice to cook.  We didn’t have any butternut squash left, but some buttercup squash combined with other squash worked just fine and gave it a nice color.  The wild rice (from our Minnesota trip) held up well in the soup and added to the texture.  It was nicely toothsome even in the tasty leftovers.  I would make this again, as we had been looking for some good squash recipes.

What’s cooking on Thanksgiving Eve?

Butternut Squash Risotto

Photograph from recipe

As I’m writing this, my wife and I are finishing up applesauce and baking butternut squash for butternut squash risotto for Thanksgiving.  Risotto is one of my favorite thing to make, given that the recipe is so versatile with add-in ingredients.  I especially enjoyed my mother-in-law’s response upon tasting it- “How can we make our rice taste like this?”   I will often make it with portabellas (with some modifications), but this version with butternut squash is another of my favorites.  I love the flavor of butternut squash, as it can savory or slightly sweet, depending on how it’s made.  I have made this recipe previously, to excellent results.  It doesn’t call for other herbs or spices other than salt and pepper, but it can easily be adjusted.  I use a little cinnamon and nutmeg to add a little spice to the recipe.  Butternut squash risotto is a nice alternative to cheesy potatoes (though I love cheesy potatoes, as well!) and adds in an extra vegetable with the starch.  Happy Thanksgiving!