Mushroom Barley Soup

Today actually felt like autumn, so I decided to make soup. I had a hard time coming up with the right soup that both my son and I would eat and I finally decided on mushroom barley soup. It is a vegetarian version, I remember loving my aunt’s mushroom barley soup as a kid, but I remember it having beef chunks in it. Since I decided to make this vegetarian I made a side of homemade meatballs to add some extra food for the growing teenager. We were both happy this way and there was plenty of leftover soup for lunch tomorrow and for freezing for future meals.

Mushroom Barley Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
  • Print

Fairly quick and healthy vegetarian soup for a chilly day

Credit: Mushroom Barley Soup from Food & Wine

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of Vegetable Stock or Broth (or Beef Stock if you aren’t making it vegetarian)
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, cut in a small dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Heat a large saucepan with a little safflower oil. When hot, add the carrot, fennel, and onion. Saute for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and saute 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, oregano and thyme, and saute one more minute.
  4. Add the stock or broth and barley.
  5. Bring to a boil, stir and then cover and simmer over moderately low heat for 30 minutes or until the barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve in bowls. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

October 3, 2019

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Heirloom Tomato, English Pea and Farro Salad

I went to the farmer’s market this past Sunday and there were piles of beautiful plump english peas. I kept looking and commenting on them even though they were not on my shopping list. Finally my husband suggested I just buy a bag of them and figure out what to do with them in a day or two –what a good idea! Sunday I made the fresh corn soup with crab for my mother-in-law’s birthday because she really likes that soup, therefore Monday was my day to use the peas. I searched the Internet for a good recipe for them but couldn’t find anything. So what to do now….they were calling me, you know? I had two ripe heirloom tomatoes on my counter, and a big bunch of basil from the farmers market as well so I eventually came up with this salad and added some farro to make it a little more filling for my family. We all really enjoyed it, the flavors were just bright, fresh and summery. I hope you enjoy it!

Heirloom Tomato, English Pea and Farro Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Best of summer's sweet heirloom tomatoes combine with fresh sweet english peas and nutty farro for a filling but healthy summer vegetarian salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked farro (whole grain)
  • 1 pound of fresh english peas, shelled (about a cup when shelled)
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into a large chunks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus a little more for garnishing
  • handful of basil leaves, roughly torn

Procedure

  1. Cook the farro according to the directions on the package.
  2. While the farro cooks, saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes in a little olive oil. Add the peas and a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes or until the peas soften and sweeten. (Optional to add a little butter if you want some extra richness. A splash of white wine would probably add some dimension as well).
  3. Remove the peas and set the pea mixture aside. Add a little more oil to the pan and turn the heat to low. Add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper and just warm them up a bit. A few minutes and a stir or two will do. Turn off the heat, add the basil and stir.
  4. When farro is cooked add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup of the parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  5. Spoon a layer of the farro on a plate and top with tomatoes and then the pea mixture. Garnish with a little cheese. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    August 20, 2019

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Vegetable Lo Mein

 

Mid-March and it is like spring here in the SF Bay area! I am really loving the weather since we have had a very rainy winter here, yes, we needed it, but I am really over it by now. Since it is so warm and beautiful I started to plan a salad for dinner, but then I decided a vegetable stir fry dish is similar, lots of fresh vegetables, but more likely to be accepted by my teen.  I made this last week with shrimp, like the original recipe was written, but today I feel like something vegetarian, maybe because we celebrated my son’s birthday yesterday and had a very meat and pasta-centric dinner out? Thank you The Woks of Life for the recipe, it is delicious! I made a few changes, such as doubling the sauce, using shirataki noodles  instead of traditional lo mein noodles, and lastly adding more vegetables, 2 eggs and some tofu. If shirataki noodles are not your thing, and I am still learning about them, then use lo mein noodles or whatever noodles taste good to you. Enjoy!

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Vegetable Lo Mein

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Quick and healthy Chinese vegetable and noodle dish.

Credit: Shrimp Lo Mein Just Like Chinese Takeout by The Woks of Life

Ingredients

  • 2 – 7ounce packages of shirataki konjac pasta (I used Miracle Noodle brand that I bought at Whole Foods)
  • 3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar (or whatever you prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch of white pepper
  • oil of choice for cooking (a neutral oil is best, like safflower oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 small can of water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin
  • 3 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 8 ounces extra firm high protein tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
  • 2 scallions, split and cut into 2-inch long pieces

Procedure

  1. Rinse the noodles in water and cook according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil and white pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the two eggs with a dash of soy sauce, sesame oil and a pinch of black pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the egg and cook. I like to make it a flat omelet and then slice it into long strips. Set the egg aside.
  5. Turn the heat up to high, add a little more safflower oil and cook the garlic for about a minute.
  6. Add the mushrooms, carrots and water chestnuts and cook for 30 seconds.
  7. Pour in the mirin and add the cabbage. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
  8. Add the noodles and stir it into the vegetables. Cook for 1 minute.
  9. Add the sauce mixture and stir for 30 seconds.
  10. Add the tofu, egg, snow peas, bean sprouts and scallions. Mix well for about 2 more minutes.
  11. Serve in bowls. Good with a little chile sauce!

Note: You can make a chile sauce with a mixture of 1 Tablespoon each of Chinese chile sauce, hot water, rice vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

March 18, 2019

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Shirataki noodles
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sauce on the right and the eggs with soy sauce and sesame oil

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Cooking the vegetables

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Healthy Ramen Soup

This is not Ramen from my college days, thank goodness! I remember a roommate I had in college who seemed to eat nothing but pre-packaged ramen (a serious sodium and fat bomb) and Kraft macaroni and cheese. I don’t know how he lived on this combination, but I guess he was young…but there are long-term health consequences… I won’t preach.

Well Ramen is back and getting quite gourmet from what I have read. There is a new ramen restaurant here in Palo Alto that has daily lines snaking around the corner. So popular, but I have not tried it as (1) I don’t want to wait in line to get in and (2) I am pretty certain that restaurant ramen will be loaded with fat and sodium. But curious, as I can be about a new food trend, I decided I would make this myself and add vegetables. I found this recipe on a site called Damn Delicious (catchy name). I have made this a few times with great success. So easy and so delicious! I have only modified it slightly, mostly adding more broth, miso and sometimes changing out the vegetables. It was really good with bok choy instead of spinach, but today I used what was in my refrigerator and that was mushrooms, a carrot and fresh spinach.

Healthy Ramen Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Finally, a Ramen soup that is healthy and easy.

Credit:  Easy Homemade Ramen by Damn Delicious

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs, soft or hard boiled (to your liking), sliced in half
  • Safflower seed oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (I only had some dried shiitakes so I used mostly cremini mushrooms today- but I think the shiitake are better in this soup)
  • 6 cups unsalted vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • Soba noodles or Shirataki noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons light miso
  • 3 cups fresh spinach (or baby bok choy, or whatever green vegetable you have)
  • chopped chives for a garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add a little oil to the pot and heat another minute. When oil is hot, add garlic and ginger to the pot and stir for about 1 minute. Add carrot slices and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.
  2. Add stock, water and soy sauce, stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. While soup simmers, cook your noodles according to package instructions. (I made vegetable-based, zero calorie shirataki noodles for myself and more traditional soba noodles for my son). Set cooked noodles aside.
  4. Add the spinach to the soup and stir.  Turn off the heat, add the miso and stir with a whisk to blend the miso in.
  5. Place noodles in bowl, ladle soup in and garnish with two egg halves and chives. Enjoy!

Note:  Shirataki noodles are a new find for me. The are a traditional Japanese ingredient made from the yam-like roots of plants in the amorphophallus family. The noodles are mostly made of water and have an interesting chewy texture. They have fiber and are either very low calorie or calorie-free.  This information and more is from:  Decker, Fred. (2017, July 20). Benefits of Shirataki Noodles. Healthy Eating | SF Gate. Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-shirataki-noodles-11780.html

Healthy Seasonal Cooking,  February 15, 2019

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Soup with the soba noodles
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Soup with the shirataki noodles

Loaded Baked Potato-Style Cauliflower Soup

Wow, this was really good. I ate it for dinner on Sunday and have enjoyed the leftovers for the last two days for lunch. I feel like we have been eating more meat than I prefer to eat so I was looking for a vegetarian dish (ok, it has bacon, so almost vegetarian is what I ended up with). I found this on Cookinglight.com and my son and I really liked it! Ok, he liked it as long as I added extra cheese and bacon to his… but hey, he is a growing teen! I love how the soup has a very rich and silky mouthfeel, with only a small amount of added half and half (I am considering leaving the half and half out next time and adding greek yogurt instead?). I give all the credit to Cooking Light, I cooked it pretty much as written. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato-Style Cauliflower Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Rich, creamy and still very healthy cauliflower soup with a bit of crispy bacon and cheddar cheese to make it seem decadent

Ingredients

  • 4 thick applewood bacon slices
  • 1 leek, white part only, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, florets and stems chopped
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • About 1/4 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place bacon strips on baking sheet and cook until crispy, about 15 minutes. Drain grease thoroughly on paper towels. When cool chop into small crumbles. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on Medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the pot and heat. Add Leek, celery and garlic to the pot and stir often until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover ad reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the majority of the vegetables and liquid to a blender and blend with half and half and blend until smooth. Be careful not to burn your self on the hot liquid while blending (put a towel over the blender lid).
  5. Return the blended mixture to the pot. Cook over medium heat for about 5 more minutes.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cheese, bacon and chives. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    October 23, 2018

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Healthy Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

Oh my gosh! This was so good. I have to give all the credit to Elena at HappyKitchen.Rocks! I followed her recipe with a few adjustments: I used canned pumpkin, as this was a last minute dinner idea and I happened to have canned organic pumpkin in my pantry (but not a whole sugar pumpkin lying around!), I added a half a chopped leek, just one large clove of garlic, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano instead of the chopped walnuts, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth and left off the pumpkin oil (no idea where that would come from?).  If you want to keep it vegan use the chopped walnuts instead of cheese and vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. My son made some homemade pumpkin spaghetti with his pasta machine, substituting a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree for the usual water and oil he would put in the dough. It was soooo good! I had most of mine with some leftover frozen spaghetti squash I had in the freezer, but I had to try the pasta as well. I wasn’t sure I was going to post this, so I am lacking in pictures, next time I make it I will update with more pictures.  I think this is the beginning of my usual Fall Pumpkin Crush (I made pumpkin granola yesterday)…

Healthy Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Rich, creamy and very healthy pasta (or vegetable noodles) with sautéed mushrooms and spinach topped with a savory pumpkin sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 leek, white part only, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can organic pumpkin (make sure nothing else is added, especially sugar as this is a savory dish, not pie). Or a small sugar pumpkin, roasted and puréed.
  • about 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer to make this vegan). The amount may vary a bit.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • Fresh pasta of choice or spaghetti squash
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnishing (unless making it vegan – then try chopped walnuts or toasted pine nuts or nutritional yeast).

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the mushrooms in an even layer and roast until soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through. Add the spinach for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  3. While the mushrooms cook, sauté the leeks and garlic for a few minutes or until they soften and become fragrant. Add pumpkin puree and small amounts of the chicken stock, until it is thinner than a soup, but still thick enough to grab onto your pasta. Cook over very low heat, stir frequently, and periodically add stock as it thickens while you cook it. Season with salt, pepper and sage.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions (or vegetable “noodles”). Drain.
  5. Mix noodles with spinach, mushrooms and sauce. Serve in bowls with freshly grated parmesan and enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    October 22, 2018

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The finished pumpkin sauce (leftovers).

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Farro with Roasted Mushrooms, Corn and Cauliflower

I don’t post many side dishes but I thought this one was interesting. I made salmon yesterday and was trying to come up with a different side that my whole family would eat and that was healthy. My teenage son will eat salad, but he always complains and I often serve salmon with a salad and rice, so I combined my vegetables with farro, a healthy whole grain. The result was pretty good. I think tomorrow I will eat the farro vegetable mix by itself with some added spinach and melted cheese for lunch!

Farro with Roasted Mushrooms, Corn and Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy and Delicious Autumn Side Dish

Ingredients

Farro:

  • 1 cup pearled farro
  • 3 cups water
  • salt

Vegetables:

  • About 2 cups of thinly sliced mixed mushrooms (today I used 8 shiitakes and 4 big white button mushrooms)
  • 1 small shallot thinly sliced
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and sliced off the cob
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. While oven is heating boil water in a medium pot. Add salt if desired.
  3. When water boils add farro and boil for 20 minutes, or until farro is soft, but firm in the middle, al dente (like pasta).
  4. While farro cooks, spread mushrooms and shallots on a large baking pan. Drizzle olive oil and toss the vegetables. Add salt, pepper, oregano and thyme to the vegetables. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring once.
  5. Add the cauliflower with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast another 15 minutes or until vegetable are soft and slightly browned.
  6. Drain farro.
  7. In a large bowl combine farro with all the cooked vegetables. Add salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    October 17, 2018

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Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

I am obsessed with spaghetti squash. I forgot about it all summer, but now I am seeing it on the grocery shelves and I had to buy one this week. It is just my “pastaterian” (I made that up, or a friend did, meaning he would only eat pasta if I let him) son and I for dinner tonight, and I decided I would make a big pot of vegetable ragu and add ground beef to a portion of the ragu to make it Bolognese-like for him.  This way everyone is happy with little extra effort. This provided plenty of leftover sauce to freeze for later use.

Part of  my obsession with spaghetti squash is that when cooked it really shreds like spaghetti! On top of that it is healthy – one cup is only 42 calories, it has fiber, vitamin A, several B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K.  This is pretty much the same recipe as Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu but I am making it a separate recipe so people can find it easily. Basically the difference is baking the dish in the squash shells and topping with mozzarella cheese versus with this recipe I scoop out all the spaghetti squash and serve it like a pasta with sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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Amazing how it shreds like spaghetti!

Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: variable
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti with a vegetarian pasta sauce using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (or more if you are feeding more than 2 or 3 people)
  • olive oil (spray if available)
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Spray or rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and let cool slightly.
  8. Run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti and put in a bowl. Discard the squash “skin.”
  9. Serve squash strands with the vegetable ragu and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    September 26, 2018

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Scooping seeds out of raw squash
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Shredding the cooked squash
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Prepping the vegetables for the ragu
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Sautéing the vegetables
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Finished Vegetarian Ragu
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Ragu with meat added
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Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu
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Pasta with Beef Ragu

 

Roasted Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

This is a Food and Wine Recipe that I pretty much followed except I used white wine instead of vermouth, deleted the butter, and added spinach and extra mushrooms. The recipe is quite creamy and decadent tasting but with only stock, wine, olive oil and vegetables added to the rice I think it is pretty healthy and nutritious. I made this three times already, and everyone I have made it for has really liked it. The original recipe says it only takes 35 minutes, but it has taken me at least an hour each time I have made it, so it is not quick, but I think it is worth it.

Roasted Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Rich, creamy yet healthy risotto with mushrooms and spinach

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as oyster, hen-of-the-woods and chanterelle, cut or torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 7 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (or vermouth as the original recipe was written)
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for garnishing

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the mushrooms in an even layer and roast until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
  3. While the mushrooms cook, warm the stock in either a pot or if you are lazy like me in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (one less pot to clean).
  4. In a large deep skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat stirring until softened, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the rice mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Repeat adding the stock 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly until the liquid is nearly absorbed between additions, for about 15 minutes (you may not use all the stock).
  8. Add 3/4 of the roasted mushrooms and all of the spinach to the risotto and cook, adding more stock as needed, until the rice is just tender and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve immediately, topping each potion with the remaining roasted mushrooms and a sprinkle of parmesan. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 25, 2018

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the rice
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the mushrooms before roasting
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Rice mixture when liquid is first added
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Rice mixture when liquid is nearly absorbed and ready for more liquid to be added
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Adding spinach to the almost finished risotto
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Finished risotto

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti and parmesan dishes using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz. bag of fresh organic spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup (approx.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti.
  8. Turn the oven on to Broil.
  9. Microwave the spinach for one minute and press out the excess water. Divide up the spinach and parmesan in half and add to each squash half. Add about 1/2 cup of sauce and mix into the squash. Top with a little more sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Place squash under broiler and cook until cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.
  11. Depending on the size of the squash and your appetite either cut each half again so they are in quarters or serve as is.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!
  • Make it dairy-free: My daughter does not eat cheese, so I made hers without the parmesan and mozzarella and it was still very delicious.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 24, 2018

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Onions, garlic, mushrooms and bell peppers sautéing 
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Cleaning the seeds out of the squash
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The sauce when it was thick and finished cooking. Delicious!
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Separating out the squash “spaghetti strings”
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The finished product. We cut ours in quarters because it was pretty big. Worked out well, we both ate the rest for lunch the next day.