New Year Glow Meal Plan: Spaghetti Squash (Pho, Lasagna, Tacos, Pesto Noodles)
The New Year Glow Meal Plan is here! All kinds of carb-on-carb, dessert-every-day type of holiday indulgence happened for us over the past month, and at this point we are so ready to fill our plates with 99% plants. That’s what this meal plan is all about. We are employing the amazing, shape-shifting powers of spaghetti squash to create four distinctly different, plant-fueled dishes that will still keep us cozy in this frigid weather (no bone-chilling, cold salads or fully raw dishes here!). We’ve got special pesto ‘noodles’, pho, tacos, and lasagna. As usual, there is a step-by-step weekend prep guide, as well as a shopping list for your convenience :) Hope you enjoy this one!
- Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Brussels Sprout Pesto
- Kale Pho with Spaghetti Squash Noodles
- Spaghetti Squash Kimchi Tacos
- Portobello Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
*all recipes are vegan and gluten-free if needed, see the recipes for serving sizes
Bring this list with you when you go food shopping, it’s got all the ingredients you’ll need for the recipes in this meal plan mini. All the items are separated by category, to make the shopping easier and more efficient. Take the time to look over this list beforehand and cross out any items you already have. The hope here is that you own some of the pantry staples, spices, and maybe even some of the produce required, which will help minimize the list. Add whatever other ingredients you’ll need for the week here, if doing shopping for the whole week.
2 large or 3 medium spaghetti squash
1 lb Brussel sprouts
1 medium yellow onion
2 large leeks
1 head of garlic
1-inch piece ginger
1 bunch kale
1/2 lb shiitake
8-10 portobello caps
1 bunch cilantro
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
5 whole cloves
3 whole cardamom pods
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
neutral avocado oil or other oil of choice
apple cider vinegar
brown rice vinegar
24 oz marinara sauce
1 cup vegan kimchi
tortillas – gluten-free if needed
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw almonds
Complete these steps on the weekend (or whenever you have the time), and these meals will be a breeze to put together during the week, thanks to all the prepared components.
1) Roast The Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash, the beautiful yellow vegetable with flesh that turns into ‘noodles’ when roasted, will be the base for all our dishes in this meal plan. Here, we are roasting 2 large squashes, which we’ll be using for pesto noodles, pho, tacos, and lasagna throughout the week.
ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH
- 2 large spaghetti squash - halved, seeds scooped out
- avocado oil or other neutral oil of choice
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Prepare 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper.
- Place the halved spaghetti squash on the baking sheets, face up. Oil thoroughly and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the squashes face down, place in the oven, and roast for 30-40 minutes,until the flesh is soft, cooked through, and noodle-like when scraped with a fork. Take care not to overcook, as the 'noodles' can turn mushy. Let cool slightly. Scrape all of the 'noodles' out of the squash skins using a fork, and store refrigerated in an airtight glass container, until ready to use.
2) Cook Chickpeas and Make Broth Base for Pho
In this step, we are cooking chickpeas for the pho and tacos, while also making the broth base for our pho. Making ingredients using the offshoots from other ingredients is one of the most gratifying and humbling things about cooking!
POT OF CHICKPEAS
- 1 cup dried chickpeas - soaked overnight in purified water with a splash of apple cider vinegar
- sea salt
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas in a pot and cover with about 8 cups of purified water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Test the chickpeas for doneness. Cook longer if needed, until completely soft. Add salt to taste at the end. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid for the pho broth (below).
3) Make the Pho Broth
This pho broth gets its deep, comforting flavor from toasted spices, chickpeas (cooked in the same water, in the previous step), tamari, and any other vegetable scraps you have around.
- 2 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
- 5 whole cloves
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 medium yellow onion - sliced into 8 wedges
- 3 garlic cloves - crushed with a knife
- 1-inch piece ginger, sliced and crushed with a knife
- 6 cups chickpea broth - from above
- any vegetable scraps like leek tops, onion skins, etc. (optional)
- ½ lb shiitake - hard stems separated, caps reserved
- 3½ tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sriracha/chili sauce
- Warm a soup pot over medium heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon, coriander, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom. Toast, stirring, until fragrant, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for another couple of minutes, until fragrant, and until the onion begins to get some color.
- Carefully add the chickpea broth (it may splatter), vegetable scraps (if using), shiitake stems, tamari, brown rice vinegar, and sriracha. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Reserve the shiitake caps for when you make the pho (recipe below). Remove the pot from heat and let infuse further for at least 30 minutes, or as long as you have (overnight is best, refrigerate if letting infuse overnight). Strain the broth, discarding the solids. Keep the broth in the same soup pot, refrigerated, until ready to make the pho.
4) Make the Brussels Sprout Pesto
This pesto is made with blanched Brussels sprouts, for a dose of cruciferous goodness, and pumpkin seeds, for a lighter alternative to nuts. The result is surprisingly delicious pesto, which will be used for the Spaghetti Squash Noodle dish, as well as the lasagna.
BRUSSELS SPROUT PESTO
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts - ends trimmed off, sliced in half
- sea salt
- 1 clove garlic - chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves (reserve a handful of leaves for the pho and tacos) - torn
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant and slightly golden.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rapid boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and blanch for about 8 minutes, or longer, until soft throughout, but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
- Reserve a small handful of pumpkin seeds and set aside to use as a garnish for the pesto noodle dish. Place the rest of the pumpkin seeds into a food processor, followed by a large pinch of salt and garlic. Pulse to roughly break up the pumpkin seeds.
- Divide the blanched Brussels sprouts in half. Save one half of them whole, to use later in the pesto noodle dish, keeping them refrigerated in an airtight container. Add the other half of the blanched Brussels sprouts to the food processor, along with the cilantro, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, another pinch of salt and black pepper. Process until well combined. Slowly poor the olive oil through the feeding tube on the lid, with the motor still running. Taste for salt, adjust if needed. Use the pesto right away or store refrigerated for up to 5 days.
5) Make the Almond Ricotta
This easy almond ricotta is mainly meant for the lasagna, but you can use any of the leftovers in the tacos or in the Brussels sprout pesto noodles.
- 1 cup almonds - soaked overnight in purified water
- 1 small garlic clove
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- generous squeeze of lemon juice - to taste
- Drain and rinse the almonds. Optionally, squeeze each almond to slip off the skin for a whiter, smoother ricotta.
- Place the almonds into the bowl of a food processor, along with the garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Add 2 tablespoons water and pulse, until you achieve a ricotta consistency. Add another 1-2 tablespoons of water, if needed. Use right away or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
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