Seriously, this whole recipe was so good, I couldn’t wait to document it for you! It requires some time, but once you get everything going, it’s pretty easy to pull together and SO WORTH IT!! Please read through the entire recipe first before tackling it. I want you to be successful with it, and as happy as I was eating it! This dish earned me a big high five from Roger!
This is a three part recipe, so hold on tight!
Inspired by PPK
Prep time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour cashew soaking time
Cook time: 45-60 minutes
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 1/4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice (see recipe notes below)
- 1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, cooled, drained well
- 1 cup cooked beets, minced finely (canned is ok, but without salt)
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- 1 ½ cup warm water
- 1 large can no-salt Italian tomatoes, crushed or diced
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2-3 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 cup chopped red pepper
- 1 Tbls. oregano
- 1 tsp. ground sage
- 1 tsp. smoky paprika
- Red pepper flakes to your taste
- Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Cut the squash lengthwise with a good, sharp knife. C’mon, get in there with a little elbow grease!
- Next, soak the cashews in warm water for at least one hour. If you want to speed up this process, you can microwave them for 2-3 minutes, but it’s not quite the same. The softer the cashews, the creamier the sauce.
- Bake squash rind side up on foil in baking pan for 30 to 45 minutes. It’s ready when the rind feels rubbery and gives easily when you press it.
- Remove from oven, turn squash halves over and let cool for at least 20 minutes.
- Then, separate strands by running a fork through each half.
Second Step: Beet balls
- In your food processor, pulse the rice, minced beets and lentils 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look a lot like ground meat.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Using your (clean) hands, mix until well incorporated.
- Place the beet/rice mixture in fridge for at least half an hour to chill (this is a really important step).
- Preheat a non-stick pan over medium-high. Begin to form the balls. Each ball should be a heaping tablespoon of mixture. If they’re too big, they won’t hold together as well. Mine were easy enough to roll in my hands.
- Cook beet balls, using cooking spray as needed, for about 12 minutes, turning them gently and occasionally. Beet balls will begin to firm up and crisp on the side down to pan. I cooked these in advance, then baked them in the oven for another 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Third step: The Sauce
- Begin to sauté the onions in hot non-stick pan, using a little of the tomato juice from the can of Italian tomatoes to keep onions from sticking. After they soften, add the garlic and red pepper. Cook for 4 minutes on med-high heat.
- Add the rest of the Italian tomatoes and the spices. Combine well and taste. This is where your own creativity comes in!
- Add 2/3 of the tomato sauce and the soaked cashews to high speed blender/mixer. Blend until creamy, leaving a bit of texture to it. Add back into the sauce pan, gently combining with remaining sauce.
- Decrease heat to low, cover sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Arrange your spaghetti squash on either a platter, or individual plates for serving. Pour or spoon lots of sauce on the squash, then add the beet balls. You can finish with chopped fresh parsley and/or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Enjoy!