Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spaghetti squash with sweet potato coulis and almond-crusted tofu

I was fortunate to spend three days at the end of September doing one of my favorite things---backpacking! Pictures are worth a thousand words for why I enjoy hiking/backpacking.

Nika and Misha provide extra warmth on a cold night in the woods.
 Fall backpacking means special moments spent snuggling with your snow hounds in your tent.

Box Lake (McCall, Idaho) landscape painted in fall colors
Fall backpacking means the whole forest is ablaze with brilliant colors of red, yellow and orange.

More fall colors at Box Lake
What's not to love about fall backpacking? You spend uninterrupted time (no cellphones or computers) with fellow hikers and pooches, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Nika and Misha enjoy spending quality time with their pet parents.
What a great end to September! And now, how about a great meal?

Spaghetti squash with sweet potato coulis, asparagus succotash and almond-crusted tofu
My garden is brimming with spaghetti squash and other winter squashes too. While in Bend, Ore., awhile back, I ordered a dinner of Spaghetti Squash with sweet potato coulis, asparagus succotash and almond-crusted tofu. It was a dinner made in heaven for me. I decided to replicate the recipe at home using one of my home-grown spaghetti squash.

Ingredients for two meals:

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 medium sweet potato
2 granny smith apples
1 tsp. cinnamon
lemon juice, stevia and coconut nectar to taste
1/2 bunch asparagus
1 medium zucchini
olive oil
1/2 package extra firm tofu
2 T. almond butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder

For spaghetti squash:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and split squash in half; remove seeds. Place squash in a baking pan filled with 1 cup of water. Season squash halves with salt and pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Bake about 30 minutes until tender. Note: there is an alternative method of baking the squash whole but I prefer the splitting and seeding method. Remove from oven and allow to cool before scooping out the spaghetti squash strands.

For sweet potato coulis:
Dice sweet potato and granny smith apples (no need to peel). Place on a large baking sheet sprayed with pan spray. Toss with small amount of olive oil and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Bake at 425 degrees until tender.  Allow to cool slightly. Make coulis by pureeing diced sweet potato and apple pieces with lemon juice, stevia and coconut nectar to taste in a food processor. Add more liquid for a thinner coulis. The coulis will taste sweet. Set aside.

For almond-crusted tofu:
Slice tofu into two or three rectangles. Prepare the almond marinade/dressing by mixing 2 T. almond butter with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 T. olive oil. Mix in cumin, chili powder and a dash of stevia powder. Dilute with a bit of water to make a medium thick dressing/marinade. Rub some of the marinade/dressing all over the tofu pieces. Reserve the extra for dressing for serving. Place the tofu on a sprayed baking sheet and pop in the 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Flip the pieces after about 7-8 minutes. Continue baking until crisp and golden. Set aside.

For the asparagus succotash:
Chop the asparagus spears into 1/2-inch pieces. Dice the zucchini. Saute in a skillet with olive oil until tender.

For serving:
Scoop out the flesh of the squash. Put half on each plate. Top squash with asparagus succotash. Add a slice of tofu and several spoonfuls of coulis to each plate. Drizzle some extra almond marinade/dressing on the tofu if desired.

Recipe contributed to:

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