Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita Pesto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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I have never gotten into spaghetti squash. In fact – I don’t know if I have ever had it before today.  I knew it made a decent & guiltless pasta substitute but – when I want pasta – I want PASTA.  The one exception to this is my shirataki (zero calorie) noodle pho – seen just above.  I can eat that for lunch every day.

Still – I intentionally ordered a spaghetti squash from Farm Fresh to You this week to force myself to try it and I am glad I did.  It was easy to use and, while not convincing as pasta, it was good enough that I did not mind & it is so guiltless!

I made a collard green & pepita (pumpkin seed) pesto for this.  Click that link for the recipe or use your own favorite pesto variety.  It makes no real difference.  The real revelation here is how satisfying the spaghetti squash is – so – try it at least once.  I added roasted golden beets – you guessed it – because I had some.  They are a lovely addition but not critical.  As to the chard – you could use any other greens you like, instead.  If you are not vegan – tossing some Parmesan or goat cheese in this could be nice, too.


Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita Pesto

Serves  2 VERY well – more if used as a side


Collard Greens & Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Pesto – or 1 cup of other pesto

1 large spaghetti squash

6 Swiss chard leaves – spines removed but retained & chopped with the leaves (or about 2 cups)

3 (or more) golden beets – leaves & ends trimmed off

Olive oil


Garnish – either a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan or other vegan cheese or (if you are not vegan) real cheese (I used grated Asiago here)




Ignore those collards there.  🙂


Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the squash in half & scoop out the seeds.

Trim the beets & cover both the beets & squash with a bit of olive oil & some S&P.

Wrap the beets in foil.  Put the squash face-up on a cooking sheet & put the bundle of beets on the sheet, too.  Roast for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Depending on the size of your beets – they might take longer.  Allow everything to cool.

When cool enough to handle – scoop out the squash flesh & set aside.  Rub the skins off the beets under running water & cube them.



Heat a little olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the chard over high heat.  I added about 1/4 cup of water to help steam the chard into wilting completely.  Add the beets & the spaghetti squash & combine.  Heat through.  Using two forks – stir in enough pesto to suit your taste.  Combine.  Season with S&P.


Garnish maybe with an extra dollop of pesto or nutritional yeast or some cheese (vegan or otherwise).




Swiss Chard & Homemade Ricotta Balls with Sage Butter.



Photo – Christine Elise McCarthy – of my own malfatti effort.


From Brooklyn’s own AL DI LA – I present

Anna Klinger’s Malfatti



  • 1 pound ricotta (Recipe for homemade is below.  USE IT – it is WAY easy & WAY better!)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 bunches Swiss chard (about 4 pounds)
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 1/4 cup flour, plus more for shaping
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 fresh sage leaves
  • Parmesan cheese for serving


Drain the ricotta in a sieve lined with cheesecloth overnight in the refrigerator. Measure out 1 1/4 cups.
Bring a large pot of water, heavily seasoned with salt, to a boil. Trim the chard, removing all stems and large ridges. Add half to the boiling water and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Fish out and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Repeat.
Squeeze out chard with your hands. On a dish towel, spread the chard in a circle the size of a pie. Roll up the towel and have someone help you twist the ends to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Pulse in a food processor until fine. Squeeze out in a dish towel once more, until very dry. (You will have about 1 cup.)
Melt half the butter. Mix chard and ricotta. Add melted butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1 heaping teaspoon salt and nutmeg and mix again. Drop in egg yolks and egg, season with pepper and stir again. Sprinkle a cutting board with flour. Shape into 1 ounce balls, about 1 tablespoon each, dropping them on the cutting board. You should have 25 to 30.
Put a teaspoon of flour into a narrow wineglass. Drop in a ball and swirl until it forms an oval. Repeat. (You may need to change the glass.) You may freeze them at this point.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the malfatti and cook until they float, about 8 minutes. (If frozen, 10 minutes.) Put remaining butter in a small sauté pan and heat until bubbling, shaking the pan. When it smells nutty, add sage and cook 30 seconds. Season with salt.
Drain malfatti and place on plates. Spoon on the butter and sage. Grate Parmesan over each plate.
4 to 6 servings as a light main course; 6 to 8 as a first course
You will need CHEESECLOTH
9 cups whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBS white vinegar
Warm milk & buttermilk in heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge.  DO NOT BOIL.  Remove from heat and add the salt & vinegar.  Let stand 5 minutes til curd forms.  Strain curds through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.   I then gather the curds into a ball in the cheesecloth & gentle squeeze out the whey (watery remnants) progressively until I cannot squeeze out anything more & the ricotta is very dry.  Sometimes I tie it over my sink faucet & let it drip after I squeeze it & repeat every few minutes.  The drier your ricotta is here – the better your malfatti will be. Store in the fridge in a covered container until you are ready to use it.