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Vegan for the Holidays

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September weather still has warm days, but those cool nights seem to encourage cooking up heartier dishes that bring warmth to the body. Spaghetti squash creates the ideal base to show off some of your favorite sauces. You'll appreciate its very low calorie content and enjoy its crunchy texture and delicate taste. The lively flavor comes from the sauces and seasonings you provide. Don't just limit this dish to the sauces suggested. Try your own favorite pasta sauce or even a pesto.

2 medium-size spaghetti squashes or1 large one

1/4 C. (60 ml) each raw toasted pine nuts and raw pumpkin seeds*

Wash squashes thoroughly. Cook until tender using either of the following methods below.

To Bake

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side facing down. Pierce squashes in several places with a fork to prevent them from exploding in the oven. Place baking sheet on lower rack in oven. Bake at 400 F. (gas mark 6) for approximately 1 hour or until skin feels tender when pressed. Squash

Alternatively, cut squashes in half lengthwise, scoop out, and discard seeds. Brush cut sides with canola oil and place cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake at 475 F. (gas mark 7) for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender when pressed.

To Boil: Pierce squashes in several places with a fork and put them into a large stock pot with plenty of water to cover. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down slightly and boil gently 30 to 45 minutes. Squashes are done when they can be pierced easily.

Remove squashes from oven or stock pot, and cut them in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out seeds, and scrape pulp into a large platter using a fork and spoon. Spoon a little of each of the sauces over the top, and garnish with toasted nuts. Serve the extra sauces at the table. Serves 6.


3 or 4 green or red bell peppers

1 1/2 oz. (45 ml) water
1/2 t. salt or to taste
Pepper 1 very small clove garlic
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Wash peppers and lay them whole on a baking sheet. Place 3" (7.5 cm) from broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn 1/4 turn and repeat until completely soft and slightly blackened, about 15 or 20 minutes.
  2. Plunge peppers into a bowl of cold water, cool a few minutes, and rub skins off with your fingers. Remove cores and seeds and put peppers into a food processor.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

*This method of roasting peppers produces a moist pepper with a delightfully grilled flavor. It also allows the skins to be removed easily.

NOTE: For a variation with visual pizazz, roast 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, and 1 orange bell pepper. Then, whirl them together in the food processor to a medium fine, chunky consistency. The colorful, mosaic-like result makes a delightful presentation.


2 green bell peppers, cut into thin julienne, 2" (5 cm) in length
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. (680 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 C. (240 ml) sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried thyme Mushrooms 2 bay leaves
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 t. salt or to taste
1/2 C. (120 ml) water
Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 - 3 T. cornstarch
2 - 3 T. water

  1. Combine bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, thyme, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt, water, and lemon juice in a large wok or skillet and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, about 8 - 10 minutes.
  2. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl or cup and add to bubbling sauce a little at a time, stirring constantly until thickened to desired consistency, about 1 minute. Adjust seasoning to taste if needed. Makes 6 servings.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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