Cheating deliciously [Spaghetti Squash Bake]

First things first: Happy World Vegan Day!

Do you ever notice trends in the way you cook or the recipes you create? When it comes to the latter or at least those I’ve posted on the blog there’s an obvious one: just about every recipe contains legumes of some kind. Be it beans in their natural – wait, are canned beans still ‘natural’? – form or more processed as silken tofu: I can’t deny I’m a legume fiend. This hasn’t always been the case but becoming vegetarian somehow naturally lead me to incorporating more of these fine little guys into my diet and I’m not complaining. It’s not even intentionally for the reason of trying to get in my protein and nutrients but an intuitive choice for taste reasons. Just goes to show how smart our bodies are making us choose what we need.

Spaghetti Squash

Okay, first trend: beans. Another one I found myself laughing at just today was my constant ‘faking it’ attitude. Think of my Mushroom Stroganoff or Chickpeas in Blueberry Mole: I’ve never had the ‘real deal’ of either of those dishes so I just winged it keeping only the name. Authenticity? No. Deliciousness? Yes!


The same goes for the [unfried] ‘refried beans’ in this dish: I’ve never actually had them but came upon numerous recipes and as the spices were right up my alley decided to turn it into a new meal. The ones in this recipe are adapted from Appetite for Reduction but changing up amounts and subbing kidney beans for the unavailable [authentic] pinto beans. With spaghetti squash being a newfound second favourite – right behind kabocha which can’t be beaten – I just got working in the kitchen. The result was a probably highly inauthentic but totally satisfying meal.

Cheater ‘Refried Bean’ Spaghetti Squash Bake

  • 200 g spaghetti squash strands
  • 1 ½ tbsps white almond butter mixed with 2-3 tbsps water
  • 150 g kidney beans
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups fresh spinach [45 g]
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • nutritional yeast
  1. Sauté half of the onion with the garlic until slightly browned. Add in the spices and stir-fry until fragrant being careful not to burn them.
  2. Add the kidney beans and mash with a fork leaving some beans whole. Stir in the tomato sauce and let simmer for a few more minutes to let the flavours mingle.
  3. Pour the ‘unfried’ beans into a casserole dish.
  4. In the same pot add the remaining onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add the spinach and let wilt. Season lightly with salt and a dash of freshly ground nutmeg.
  5. Layer the spinach on top of the beans.
  6. Arrange the spaghetti squash on top. Spread the almond butter ‘sauce’ onto the squash and sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.

About those pictures? They’re the result of a current weather trend I’m not fond of combined with the fact that mashed beans just never look delicious [don’t prove me wrong, please!]. However, when a recipe’s worth sharing I’ll bite the bullet and go with whichever pictures I managed to snap.

Spaghetti squashAnd about the white almond butter? Sorry for using it once more – it adds a lot of creaminess. If you have a food processor: go and make your own by using blanched almonds. If you don’t … well, then I’d better convince my favourite almond butter company to team up with me for a giveaway 😉 [if only!]. Really, though, I’d suggest subbing any creamy mildly flavoured nut butter like white cashew if you feel like eating a nice plate of creamy [fake] spaghetti with [cheater] refried beans. Not a bad cheat if I dare say so myself ;). Strange? Maybe. Good? Totally.

I’m also linking up with Kierston for Recipe Friday so make sure to head over and get inspired by some of the other creations, too – maybe even some more vegan ones to celebrate today?!

Happiness inducing today: Meeting a friend at a [vegan] café and spending several hours chatting about anything and everything.

Authenticity: Do you pay attention to it when cooking or can’t help but put your own spin on recipes? For me it’s most often about ingredient non-availability and the fact that I’ve likely never had the real deal. If I ever happen upon the chance, though, I’d be more than happy to try dishes from many different cuisines prepared the authentic way.

What are some of the most used ingredients in your kitchen?

18 thoughts on “Cheating deliciously [Spaghetti Squash Bake]

  1. Sue says:

    I often cook Korean food for my husband (that’s where he’s from), and I’m happy when he says that the food tastes authentic.
    The most used ingredients in my kitchen are probably black pepper, garlic, onions, soy sauce, and sesame seads. And rice. We eat a lot of rice. 😉

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Aw, if that’s not a compliment by your husband as a real Korean … I don’t think I’ve ever had authentic Korean food. But given my liking of Asian food [and we’re not talking fast food like Ramen noodle cups ;)] it’d be right on top of my list of cuisines to try. And many of your most used ingredients are some of mine, too.

  2. Emily says:

    I love these unique recipes that you create! While they may not be “authentic” they always look delicious. (:
    Lately I’ve been using quinoa for almost everything! It’s so versatile and delicious. I just make a big batch and then add it to salads, stir-frys, baked goods, an oatmeal replacement, etc!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      You’re so sweet, Emily! Come over for dinner any time you like :).
      Don’t give me the stank eye but I somehow can’t convince myself to like quinoa. I’ve tried numerous times but it’s somehow “lacking” to me. But your quinoa creativity once more makes it seem like such a versatile little [pseudo-]grain.

      • Emily says:

        Really?! Ahhh…I love it. But I actually wasn’t a fan for a long time either- I used to mainly stick with brown rice. I’ve found that it’s allllll about how it’s prepared. Cook it up in some vegetable broth instead of water, for one. That adds so much more flavor!

  3. GiGi Eats Celebrities says:

    OOO You very well may need to re-share this recipe on my blog this Tuesday. I am doing a spaghetti squash post and link up!! 🙂 I have to say that spaghetti squash is the MOST USED ingredient in my house!! That and salmon and spinach! So delicious.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      [Spaghetti squash] ‘pasta’ party over on your blog ;)? I’m in! So yes, I’ll be linking up – thanks for the invitation.
      After finally discovering its amazingness this year spaghetti squash would be right up there among my most used ingredients if it was more widely available. I could eat it pretty much every day.

  4. sprint2thetable says:

    Yummmm! I love spaghetti squash bakes – I did a “cheat” of spaghetti pie my mom made us growing up, but lightened it up with spaghetti squash (and left off the pound of butter – ha). Love the refried bean idea!!!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      I’m glad you approve of my cheater ways!
      Confession: I still haven’t tried your spaghetti squash pie because I keep forgetting or don’t have all ingredients on hand. I’ll prepare it eventually … one day.

  5. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says:

    Ok, so that has to be like the cutest little graphic ever! I love pairing nut butter and nutritional yeast with spaghetti squash! I like to try to stay authentic to a dish the first time I make it, but I’m with you on the availability…and ok, maybe laziness! It’s just easier to wing it sometimes instead of going out to the store!

    Most used ingredients in my kitchen: Greek yogurt, peanut flour, and right now…anything ORANGE! hahaha!

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