Have you been unfortunate enough to converse with a liar?
The person says something you know is completely false and no matter how much you disprove his comment, he won’t admit he lied. Your typical emotional response would range from a violent impulse to shake the liar’s shoulders until he sees reason or to scream and tear out your hair in frustration. It’s not a happy picture.
What’s even more aggravating than an obvious liar is a good liar. This is the type of person who you believe to be truthful until he says, “Nope! Just kidding! Wow, you are so gullible.” You end up feeling stupid, ashamed, and furious.
Food labeling does this sort of thing all the time. Manufacturers give you knock-off products of popular junk foods, except it’s low-fat, gluten-free, vegan, etc. Most of the time, these foods aren’t healthy at all. The producers add extra sugar, preservatives, flavorings, and fats to make up for the missing ingredients. (Often, it may be ‘more beneficial’ to eat the original.) This is similar to the good liar. You think the food is healthy until you read the ingredient list and find you cannot pronounce most of the words.
The obvious liar also has a place in the food industry. These are the brands that use healthy ingredients to recreate old favorite for the dietarily restricted or health conscious. The consumer is excited to have pizza, doughnuts, and all the old favorites while consuming whole natural ingredients.
These foods are great until you actually eat them. Your gluten-free, dairy-free, only veggie-ingredient pizza is nothing like pizza, and the non-fried, carb-free doughnut is dense and bland. It tastes like a lie.
Sometimes in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, we focus so much on the things we can no longer eat that we forget about what’s on the plate before us. Limiting junk food intake can open doors to explore new ways to cook and dine. Eating disappointing replacements can make a person feel deprived and depressed, and that state of mind can be more damaging to one’s health than any bad ingredient.
For this spaghetti squash recipe, I took a step back. The most classic ways to serve pasta is with sauce and cheese, but as much as this squash represents the Italian cuisine, it is still a legume and it will be delicious when prepared as one. For this reason, I went with pesto. Many people spread it on pizza dough, crackers, bread, and even mix it with real spaghetti. You can feel free to try out this Spinach-Walnut Pesto with those foods too. In this dish, it was a perfect compliment to the spaghetti squash and quinoa, creating a simple, wholesome meal.
Sometimes, we have to focus on what we have or else we will never enjoy it.
Walnut Pesto with Spaghetti Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 cup walnuts
- 6 cloves garlic
- 4 green onions
- 3 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- Walnut halves for garnish
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half and lie face-down on a parchment paper-lined pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees until the squash forms ‘noodles’ when scraped with a fork. Let cool.
- Rinse the quinoa very well. Bring the 2 cups of water in a saucepan and add the quinoa. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked.
- Blend the walnuts and garlic in food processor and put aside in a bowl. Process the spinach and green onions, and mix with the walnut-garlic mixture. Add the salt, 1/2 cup of water, and olive oil, and stir until combined.
- When the spaghetti squash is cool, scrape the side with a fork to create the noodles, and place them in a big bowl. Add the pesto, quinoa and mix until combined.
- Garnish with the walnut halves in the serving bowl or on individual plates. Enjoy warm, room temperature, or cold.
- Store the leftover pesto, squash, and quinoa in the fridge.