Spaghetti Squash with Spicey Tomato Sauce and Lentil, Mushroom and Millet Balls

Photo by Jodi Moreno

Serves 4

1. To bake the spaghetti squash, pre-heat the oven to 375º. Place the squash on a baking sheet (whole) and bake for about 1 hour. Let it rest until you are ready to assemble the spaghetti squash and sauce.
2. Keep the oven on at the same temp to cook the veggie balls. While the squash is baking, rinse 1/2 cup of raw millet and place in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. While the millet is cooking, place 2 cups of dried red lentils in a medium pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and run them under cold water. Drain well.

4. While the lentils are cooking, peel and finely chop one red onion to make one cup and smash, peel and mince 8 cloves of garlic. Wash and finely chop 1/2 pound of mushrooms. Place a cast iron pan over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic for about 2 minutes. Remove half and reserve for sauce. Then add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

5. In large bowl, combine the lentils with the mushrooms mixture. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Next, lightly beat two eggs, add and stir. Then add 1/4 whole wheat cup of flour (or substitute garbanzo flour, if you want the recipe to be gluten free) and stir. Lastly, add the millet and stir until everything is combined. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (or longer) while you start to make the sauce.

6. In a cast iron pan, add the remaining onions and garlic and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until tender, about another three minutes. Add 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil leaves and one pound of chopped tomatoes (or two small cans of unsalted diced tomatoes.) Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20-30 minutes.

7. While the sauce is simmering, shape the veggie balls by rolling between your palms and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

8. Remove veggie balls from the oven, and finish cooking in the tomato sauce for several minutes.

9. Cut the cooked squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and the pulp and discard. Then, continue to remove the insides by scraping with a spoon and place the spaghetti squash in a large bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt.

10. Spoon the sauce over the squash. Give it a light toss to combine. Spoon the spaghetti squash with the sauce onto plates, and finish with a couple of veggie balls. Serve warm with an optional garnish of some crushed red pepper, chopped parsley, and/or parmesan cheese.