As part of my pursuit of food blogging world domination, I make a concerted effort to keep up with the current diet and food trends, and I can tell you that veganism is having a major moment. After all, according to the Life & Style headline I perused while waiting in line at Shoppers Drug Mart, J-Lo recently dropped a whole 10 pounds and is looking “fab” thanks to her recently completed 3-week vegan diet plan. And although as a rule I don’t seek out any sort of reliable information from a seedy tabloid cover, it is true that there are a lot of health benefits to going vegan, including weight-loss.
Now as a girl whose motto when it comes to meat is “the redder, the better”, I don’t think a strict plant-based diet is in the cards for me (much to my husband’s relief). But I do love to throw in a good vegetarian meal into the weekly rotation, and this super easy, crazy low-calorie recipe is one of my regulars. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, high-protein, and packed with nutrients – my Eastern Spice Spaghetti Squash is the perfect vegan dish that takes next to no time to make.
Where veganism can go terribly wrong is when you don’t replace all the proteins and minerals you’ve removed along with the meat, eggs and dairy (such as Iron and crucial B vitamins) by choosing healthy nutrient-packed alternatives – such as the chick peas found in this recipe. Chick peas are not only one of the best vegan sources of iron (an essential element for most life on Earth), they are also high in both fibre and protein and boast a low glycemic index (meaning they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar). This means you stay fuller, longer while avoiding crashes in your energy levels. Bonus: a can of chick peas is like a $1.Woot!
So let the cows, the tree hugging hippies, and your wallet rest a little easier tonight and pack your plate with this flavourful, vegan dish.
The Natural Blonde
P.s. I know you may be judging me for getting information from a certain trashy magazine, but I challenge you to resist the lure of those sensational headlines after standing in line for 20 minutes as an 80 year-old lady digs for dimes in a seemingly bottomless change purse. I’m only human (unlike Bruce Jenner, who apparently isn’t according to aforementioned magazine).
Eastern Spice Spaghetti Squash
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (olive oil works, too)
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped cashews (optional)
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
Prep your spaghetti squash by cutting it in half and scraping out all the seeds and gunky pulp. Lay them face down in an oiled baking dish and roast for 40 minutes. Once cooked through (should be very soft inside), remove and let cool slightly before scraping out the spaghetti squash with a fork, until you have a bowl full of cooked “squash pasta.” Set aside.
Next, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and red pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent, around 5 minutes. Add in all dried spices and salt and sauté for one minute before adding the tomatoes, chickpeas, and garlic to the pot. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until the chickpeas have softened, about 15-20 minutes.
Once the chickpeas have cooked, add the spaghetti squash into the pot and stir to combine. Lastly, stir in the spinach until slightly wilted.
Portion into bowls and sprinkle with the cilantro and cashews (if using). Serve and enjoy!
Can be stored in the fridge for up to one week in an airtight container. Leftovers make an awesome lunch!