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Inspired by Pesto

by Marissa on February 10, 2011

The one thing that inspires me beyond all measure to cook, is when I find a great recipe that, with a few tweaks, can become a healthier, vegan version of the same thing. Another dirty, little secret is that I can often be found tearing pages out of magazines — a cute pair of shoes, inspiring quotes, web sites to check out, and yes, recipes are all fair game. It should come as no surprise then that on one recent “tear-capade” I came across a recipe for Fettuccine with Sage and Walnut Pesto. My tastebuds thought, “yum” but my mind knew there was a way to make it more health-friendly.

First, I decided that I would use spaghetti squash in place of white pasta (Brown rice or quinoa pasta are also good options). And to make it vegan, I figured I would skip the cheese. When I finally got around to making this dish, I had Thyme on hand and not Sage, so I used what I had! So without further adieu …

Spaghetti Squash with Sage and Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:
1 small-medium spaghetti squash
1/3 c. walnuts soaked in water for 1-3 hours
1 large clove garlic
¼ c. chopped, fresh parsley
1 packed Tbsps fresh, whole Sage leaves (Thyme works too)
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Pierce the outside skin with a knife several times and coat the inside skin with a little olive oil. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place the squash cut side down. Bake for 50 minutes or until a fork can pierce the skin easily.

2. Combine the parsley, sage (or thyme), garlic, salt, black pepper and walnuts in a blender. Drizzle in the olive oil and blend well. Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl. Add a bit of water to thin it out if necessary.

3. When the squash is done, let cool then scrape the flesh lengthwise with a fork to create spaghetti-like pieces. Add the squash to the bowl of pesto and toss to combine.

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