Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spaghetti and Meatballs  Not really.  It's not Spaghetti and Meatballs.  I'm not sure what to call it.  It's all a little confusing.

is not spaghetti.  It is squash.  Spaghetti Squash.

And those round things under the sauce:
those are what are not meatballs.  Meatless-balls.  Actually, they are made from lentils.  So, maybe I should say "beanballs"?

But really, do you think that sounds like an appetizing name: "Squash and Beanballs?"

Yeah.  Me either.
Even as much as I love beans.

I just don't know what to call it because this really does taste rather like spaghetti and meatballs!

The confusion began at dinner time one evening when I thought I would make meatballs without meat.  The result?  One of my Pickles, who is the resident meatball-eating-machine, kept sneaking back into the kitchen after supper to snatch a few more of those meat-less meatballs.  He never noticed.  I didn't think that the non-meat-beanballs had an exact meat texture, but the flavors of this dish meshed together in such a way as to make it taste like meatballs.  This dish confuses your brain like that.  

So here's what I came up with:

Not Meatballs
(inspired by this Vegetarian Meatloaf)
2 cups water
l cup lentils
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup quick oats
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup pasta sauce (I happened to have some leftover pizza sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Bring lentils and water to boil in a saucepan. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and drain. (Don't boil lentils with salt. It can make the lentils tough.)

2. In a small saucepan, combine 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 2 tbsp water. Over medium to medium-high heat, stir constantly until the mixture comes together or becomes "goopy." Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Puree lentils in food processor.

5. Pour into a bowl and add oats, onion, flaxseed goop, pasta sauce, garlic, basil, parsely, salt and pepper. Combine thoroughly.

6. Using a small cookie dough scoop, scoop mixture onto a well-seasoned (greased) baking stone.

7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and holding together. Gently remove to a cooling rack or serving dish.

And, here is how we love our spaghetti squash...

Not Spaghetti, with Garlic
1 spaghetti squash, washed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

2.  Cut squash in half length-wise (from stem to end).  Remove seeds and strings from middle of squash. Place cut side down in a glass baking dish that has been lightly greased with coconut oil.

3.  Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until squash is cooked through and skin can be pierced with a fork.  Remove from oven. 

4.  In a small saucepan, heat olive oil and garlic over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to slightly brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

5.  Being careful not to burn your hands (hold the squash with a hot pad), scrape the "spaghetti" out of the squash and into a serving dish.

6.  Pour olive oil and garlic over squash and gently toss squash to coat.

(This is also great as its own side dish.  When some of the Pickles in our house see a spaghetti squash on the counter, I hear squeals of delight! "Yay! When do we get to eat spaghetti squash?!"  Well, with the exception of one little Pickle.)

We topped our Not Spaghetti and our Not Meatballs with a For-Real-Genuine Pasta Sauce.  I am partial to a sweet basil marinara sauce.  And then the crowning glory of this dish was to top it with fresh torn basil.  That was the final flavor to bring this entire dish together, bringing orderliness to the confusion.  Don't try to serve it without the basil. 

We loved it...even though it really wasn't Spaghetti and Meatballs.

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