Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day…

…but give a girl a spaghetti squash and she can eat for… well, not sure, I still have some left.

Seriously. I have made three main courses and two sides out of one large spaghetti squash- admittedly a large one, and I’m the only person in my house eating it. I didn’t even anticipate how convenient the leftovers from this thing have become- instant vegetables with dinner, every night!

I’ve been wanting to try spaghetti squash for a while now. The idea of a vegetable serving as a pasta substitute intrigued me. Plus, as much as I love butternut squash, acorn squash, and the other fall gourds, they all have similar textures, flavors, and cooking methods. This seemed new and exciting!

I picked this baby up from Whole Foods last weekend. The first recipe, and the one I was most excited to try, was Emily’s Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Mushroom Cream Sauce – though I altered it slightly and mine, therefore, was not quite vegan.

So, the most annoying part of eating gourds: cutting them. Here’s me, purple pants and all, wrestling with the monster.

My first observation when planning out this dinner is how looong spaghetti squash takes. Between the cutting, the roasting, the resting, the forking… oy ve. Do not start this with your tummy rumbling.

My second impression, after cutting, was that it looked almost exactly like butternut, with a less funky shape and a yellow-er color. Neat.

I proceeded to make Emily’s recipe as she describes it in post, but with one crucial alteration/flaw. I only had unsweetened vanilla almond milk, not plain. I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference, so I did one cup vanilla almond milk and one cup skim milk. Sadly, the error did not go unnoticed- I could taste a slightly odd sweetness in the sauce.

Mushrooms are so fun, aren’t they? Ever since reading Michael Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dilemma I’ve had a newfound appreciation for the little guys. We forget that they are an entirely different kingdom than animals and plants, and they are fascinating. I feel like I’m eating something exotic, even though it just came from the grocery store- nerdy, I know.

For someone whose dishes usually suffer from abysmal presentation, this came out semi-pretty!

Despite the slightly off-kilter sauce, I could tell this vegetable was a winner. Loved the texture, slightly nutty taste, and most of all the versatility. You can season and serve this stuff  just like any other vegetable, but also dress it up in all sorts of creative sauces and dishes. Lots of room for creativity.

However, I did not anticipate that I would be in the only one eating the squash with mushroom sauce. I have quite the appetite, but even I’m not that good; there was a substantial amount of leftovers, and since everyone in my house is traveling this week, it’s all up to me to eat them! Which led me to my midweek creation..

Spaghetti Squash Cakes!

I suspected based on the texture of the strands that they would work well in patties. I did some googling, found this quick and easy recipe, and got to work. I topped a few with hummus, and a few with greek yogurt + sriracha hot sauce. Definitely a winner.

The third entree I got out of this one gigantic batch of spaghetti squash strands was essentially a lazy version of Emily’s mushroom sauce. But I’ll call it…

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Herb No-Cream Sauce!

Basically, I melted a wedge of garlic and herb laughing cow, stirred in some greek yogurt, a splash of milk, nutritional yeast (more on this later- this stuff is changing my life, thank you blog world), some minced garlic, salt + pepper. Stirred all together and spread over a heaping pile of squash, it made a tasty light dinner.

For the last two nights, when I decided that three nights of squash entrees would suffice for a bit, I still dug into the leftovers as side dishes. Topped with a little parmesan cheese, it was still pretty great.

But now, I think it’s time for me to say goodbye to the remaining ~1 cup. I did the best I could to finish it, and came damn close, but it’s a little past its prime. Talk about worth the time effort, though- that one hour I spent butchering squash on a Saturday afternoon saved me countless hours during the workweek! How often does one hour of cooking pay off so well.. never?!

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