Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spaghetti Squash & Black Bean Mexican Bowl....plus Banana Wontons for dessert

You see the guy in this picture?





















No, not the one in the colorful headpiece looking like a Hawaiian banana!  (Although keep bananas in mind.  A delicious banana dessert is coming up later.)  The one on the left.  That's my brother-in-law standing with my sister Aimee during their honeymoon in Hawaii.  Well, ex-brother-in-law now.  Let's call him Derrick.

I credit Derrick for introducing me to spaghetti squash.  And hail the holy gods of spaghetti squash, I'm glad he did!

Here's the quick version of the story.  I went over to their house years ago for lunch, and Aimee was cooking up a creamy mushroom sauce that she told me was to be poured over spaghetti....squash, that is.  Derrick was on one of those famous low carb/no carb diets at the time, and Aimee, being the good wife she is (yes, I'm biased....she is my sister, after all), was cooking something that fit into his particular diet.  I was veeeeeeery skeptical, but I trusted her, and it turned out delicious.  Never did she (or he) know that I would come to thank them for this.

So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I was reminded of that meal in 2006 & promptly added it to my Pinterest boards & to our meal plan a couple of weeks ago.

Spaghetti Squash & Black Bean Mexican Bowl
Recipe & picture from Kalyn's Kitchen













If you've never had spaghetti squash in place of regular pasta, it's something you should definitely give a try.  About 30 minutes in the oven, and you can literally shred the squash into these pasta-like strings.  It looks & holds up exactly like pasta would.  And it's waaaay healthier!

This dish is a delicious combination of spaghetti squash with a mexican theme!  It starts with a spaghetti squash base, following by the layering of beans, salsa, avocado, tomato, onion, and cilantro.  So easy & quick to make on a busy weeknight.  It turned out amazing.  Like the  Easy Mini Nacho Pizzas I blogged about recently, this dish has tons of possibilities!  Don't like mexican so much?  Make it Italian instead with some pasta sauce & meatballs, if you're so inclined.  Have yourself a little Indian bowl with some chickpeas, lentils, and Indian spices.  Add some cheese & sour cream to the above recipe to make it vegetarian-friendly.  Or fajita steak or chicken to make it even more authentically mexican.  Lots & lots of possibilities, which is why I love this recipe.  And each person can "design" their bowl however they want.

Easy.  Healthy.  Delicious.  And best of all, it's vegan!  It makes great leftovers, too.  It's an easy workday lunch that pops really quickly into the microwave for a quick, warm lunch.  Kellie and I both had it this way a couple more times as lunch leftovers.

That same night, I also made these delicious nuggets of deliciousness for dessert.

Baked Banana Wontons
Recipe & picture from Oh My Veggies


This dessert has a story.

Let me first say that this dessert is sooooo delicious & soooooo easy to make!  I highly recommend it.  It just took a bit of extra work on my part to make these desserts a reality.

As you can see, these little bundles of yumminess require wonton wrappers to make.  I had the HARDEST time finding those buggers in Austin.  Several unnecessary miles & four stores later, including 3 asian grocery stores, and I finally had them in hand.  But first, the adventure...

The first store I went to was, I later found out, a Korean grocery store.  It's around the corner from our house, and I'd always wanted to pop in & see what they had, so this gave me the perfect reason.  Interesting store.  Lots of neat, different things.  I pick up a chili garlic paste I'd been wanting, and then I'm on the hunt for wonton wrappers.  I seriously have no idea where to start.  Are they shelf stable & therefore maybe with breads or something?  Do they need refrigeration?  Are they in the freezer section?  Would they be in a plastic package?  Would they just be in a bag?  I have no idea.

Finally I go up to the one & only register in the place & ask the guy for wonton wrappers.  He starts talking a mile a minute to me in what I'm pretty sure is Korean and points very sternly over & over & over again toward the freezer section.  The comedy of the situation - I asked a question in English....he answered in Korean.  I love it!

So I go in the general direction of wherever it was he pointed but didn't see anything resembling wonton wrappers.  Again, I didn't know what I was looking for, and all the packaging for stuff in the freezer was written in Korean, so I was just toast on this mission.  Off to the next grocery store.

This one was HEB, and of course they didn't have wonton wrapperss.  I didn't expect much, but I needed a couple of other things.  Off to asian grocery store #2.

Asian grocery store #2 is a combination sushi bar (and a dang good one!) & asian grocery store.  Or at least it used to be.  I walk in, and the entire thing is now a sushi restaurant.  Gone is the part of the store I came for!  Guess it's been a while, probably before our jaunt to NYC, since I've been to the place.  Good thing I stopped there, though.  After some light-hearted banter about my experience at the Korean grocery store, the guy making the sushi told me exactly what store to go to find my wonton wrappers.

And yes, at asian grocery store #3, I found wonton wrappers, only after having to ask two very friendly employees where to find them.  Turns out they WERE in the freezer section...in these tiny little ~3" x 3" x 3" plastic wrapped packages.  And guess what?  I saw those exact things at the Korean grocery store in the freezer section the guy pointed me to.  Damn.  If only I'd known what I was looking for.  Or been able to speak Korean.  Either one, really.

Now I know.  'Cause I'm making these bad boys again.

Peace.

2 comments:

  1. funny story about the wonton wrappers. I'm never like squash until recently, but I think the next one I want to try spaghetti squash.

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    Replies
    1. I think you'll like it, and it fits right in with your paleo diet. ;)

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