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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Balsamic Veggies and Toasted Pine Nuts

Because I'm running out of time to plan holiday food!!!

It's not like I didn't know Thanksgiving was coming up soon, it's just that I kind of forgot.  And I really haven't had much time lately to work on any new holiday recipes anyway.  So instead, it is quite likely that this year, I'll be recreating this fantastic little number.

I've mentioned before that many of the recipes on this blog are the result of recipe testing for various online contests.  When I first moved to Kalamazoo, I was broke as a joke, and found myself sitting alone in my studio apartment one night, frantically brainstorming ways to make extra money.  A couple of Google searches later, and I found a whole list of cooking contests.  Some of the prizes for each contest were monetary, some resulted in free product, some involved fancy vacations.  Let's get serious- I wanted, no, needed the money.  So I just started throwing any recipe I had into these contests, hoping I might some day win a $50 third place prize.

I hit the jackpot- literally- with this recipe, however.  The contest theme was "Healthy Cooking" and the prize was $1,000!!!  That money was almost gone before I ever got it, but I was riding pretty high for a while after getting the news that I won.  Knowing that I won once has fueled my passion for cooking (and entering contests) even further.  Hey!  Who knew that vegan food could be so rewarding?  ;)

So anyway, enough about me.  This is hands down the best spaghetti squash dish I have ever had.  And it's quick to make!  And elegant!  And healthy!  And...  Alright, so it's settled, I'm making this for Thanksgiving this year. 

 1 large spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1 cup chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can diced tomatoes
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
15 oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts

 Poke several holes in the shell of each squash half several times. Microwave each half on a plate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat oil, onion, garlic and carrot on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, artichokes, beans, balsamic vinegar, thyme and zucchini, then simmer on low for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scrape the cooked squash into a large serving bowl and cover to keep warm. In a small frying pan, toast pine nuts over medium low heat for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from heat and set aside. When second squash half is done, scrape cooked squash into serving bowl. Top squash with cooked vegetables. Top entree with toasted pine nuts and serve hot.

This is the fancy pic the website used when they featured my recipe.   :)

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