appetizer · vegetables

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

What to do on Friday night? Shopping spree at Trader Joes, cooking a delicious dinner, and plopping into bed to watch episodes of Breaking Bad at 7:45 – that’s what. When immersed in the season of holiday parties, white elephant gift exchanges, dinner parties and end-of-year installations (in my case at least), I am thrilled to have a night to decompress.

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I, like the majority of the working world, like to unwind with a glass of wine a few minutes after walking in the door from work. It flips the switch from work-mode to chillin’ in a similar way that coffee turns me from zombie to human. A simple, grain-free appetizer I snacked on while waiting for my various vegetables to roast was a few plantain chips topped with Greek yogurt, smoked salmon and a dash of lemon pepper.

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The rainbow of vegetables that came out of the oven were worth the wait. The secret to not waiting a million years for the spaghetti squash to cook is to microwave it for 5-6 minutes before popping it into the oven to finish off. I served this pasta-less pasta-like dish with a seasonal side of brussels sprouts and cranberries.

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Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1-2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Poke holes in the spaghetti squash, wrap in paper towel and microwave for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, toss tomatoes in olive oil and garlic and spread out on sheet pan lined with tin foil. Stick tomatoes and spaghetti squash in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until spaghetti squash is very soft. Remove from the oven and slice the squash in half and scrape flesh into a bowl. Stir in pesto and toss in tomatoes and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cranberries

1/2 pound brussels sprouts, quartered
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Grease a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Toss brussels sprouts and cranberries in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and roast for 15-17 minutes, until brussels sprouts are starting to brown. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

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And for dessert, a juicy pomegranate. I’ll advise against eating this while sitting on your white duvet cover. It’s bound to end in tragedy. Learn from my mistakes.

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