Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Pesto Cream Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Pesto Cream Sauce

Here’s the truth: I’m a vegan substitute hater. I’m not talking about swapping applesauce for eggs while baking a cake or using almond milk in your raisin bran. Those are great ideas! I mean fake meats and in particular, fake cheese. Never in my life have I ever picked up a pizza and actually wanted daiya cheese or had vegan white cheddar popcorn that didn’t remind me of flavorless dust. No, I haven’t eaten dust before, but I can assume it tastes like vegan white cheddar popcorn.

I realize meat and cheese substitutes have a rightful place in the vegetable-eaters kingdom and many of these products have made the transition into veganism/vegetarianism much easier for many people. In fact, some of them are quite good, with both vegan chorizo and vegan nuggets being some of my absolute favorite substitutes. However, considering the main goal of this blog is to provide plant-based nutritious recipes so that everyone feels more comfortable making veggie centered meals, I can’t exactly advocate for eating vegan nuggets every day, nor would I make meat substitutes a staple in my diet.

With that point, I shy away from meat and dairy substitutes, but in the case of dairy, mostly because I find it unpleasant. However, a vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting my boyfriend made opened up my mind a bit to the variety of ways vegan cheese can be used. With that thought and my fridge stocked with Kite Hill cream cheese, I accidentally created the best pesto cream sauce I have ever had (and that includes the real dairy ones).

I made the sauce with a few unusual items. First I started by combining a little bit of basil with a handful of spinach. Basil can be really expensive if you don’t grow it yourself and tends to come in cumbersome and unnecessary plastic packaging. I’ve found that adding spinach to the mix beefs up the pesto without compromising the basil flavor. I also added roasted garlic instead of raw garlic, because I had some prepared that was most likely going to go to waste. This was a great idea.

Throw in some pine nuts for a little crunch and lemon for some tang and you’ve got a great pesto. But wait, the cream sauce requires a little more prep. A little almond milk and Kite Hill cream cheese, which is also made from almonds, provided the creamiest and cheesiest taste and texture. As an occasional meat eater and faux cheese hater, I can confidently say that I will never make pesto cream sauce again with actual cheese. I’m obviously biased, but it’s seriously that good.

While I probably could eat pesto cream sauce by itself and definitely funneled quite a bit down my throat during the preparation process, I gathered some sense and made a meal out of it with some very timely and seasonal spaghetti squash.

Feeling convinced? Try it out for yourself. 

Pesto Cream Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Pesto Cream Sauce

(makes about 3 servings with sauce included)

  • 4 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 1 cup of raw spinach
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 4 tbsp almond based vegan cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  •  1/3 cup of olive oil + enough to drizzle on garlic bulbs and spaghetti squash

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle garlic bulbs with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and wrap in foil. Place in oven to roast.
  2. Slice spaghetti squash in half and place on a sheet pan cut side down. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and set in oven with roasting garlic.
  3. Cook spaghetti squash until a fork can easily be placed through the skin. Roast garlic until soft and slightly brown.
  4. Place basil, spinach, lemon, salt, pepper, roasted garlic, pine nuts and 1/3 cup of olive oil in a food processor until smooth.
  5. Heat pesto mixture in a sauce pan and add vegan cream cheese and almond milk, stirring to melt cheese and allowing flavors to combine. Add more almond milk for a silkier texture and more cheese for a thicker, creamier texture.
  6. Remove seeds from spaghetti squash and fork out stringy interior.
  7. Mix pesto cream sauce with spaghetti squash and enjoy!
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