Posts filed under ‘Main Dish’

4 Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Hummus “Pasta”

What’s a girl to do when the fridge is running on empty and she’s in need of a speedy meal? All I had besides a shelf of staples (coconut milk, chia seeds, tahini and coconut butter) was the following:

  • half a container of roasted red pepper hummus
  • half a carton of grape tomatoes
  • several cups of cooked spaghetti squash

So that’s I made for my lunch concoction… the simplicity of the dish far exceeded the complexity of the taste. I added a tablespoon or so of hemp seeds with a dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper and it was a tasty dish!

spaghetti squash hummus pasta 1

I should have known hummus would be good with spaghetti squash…it’s compliments just about everything! I’ll be making this again on purpose with a few more add-ins for some additional bulk. I am thinking chickpeas or navy beans, sautéed greens and roasted broccoli or caramelized onions. (I have a weird thing about always wanting something green on my plate.)

Please forgive the quick photo snapped on my phone…I didn’t realize how much I’d love this dish until I was part of the way through but knew I wanted to share it!
spaghetti squash hummus pasta

4-Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Hummus “Pasta”
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Quick


drizzle of olive oil
4-5 grape tomatoes, cut in half or quarted
2-3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
1/4-1/3 cup of roasted red pepper hummus (or your favorite flavor – roasted garlic would be delish)
1 Tbsp hemp hearts
salt and pepper to taste

Your favorite add-ins if desired (roasted veggies, chickpeas, grilled chicken or crumbled sausage etc)


  1. In a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add squash and tomatoes and saute until warmed through.
  3. Stir in hummus and hemp hearts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

*This serves one person; for a weeknight family meal quadruple the ingredients. You could always microwave all of these ingredients for a 5 minute meal as well.

November 20, 2015 at 6:54 pm 1 comment

Crockpot Shredded Chicken with Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce – 4 Ways (SRC)

Slow cooker meals are a lifesaver after a long day of work. I get home, I’m hungry and I’d prefer not to spend a couple hours in the kitchen. I’d rather heat up or whip up something quick to eat and be able to enjoy “free time” outside of work in the evenings. While cooking is certainly a passion, it can seem more like a chore at the end of a busy day.

When I find a recipe that can be used as a base for multiple meals, it’s a definite winner. This slow cooker pulled chicken is just that. I served this dish as a filling snack over a half of an avocado, over a bowl of cooked grains and lentils with green onions, as an add-in to a smoky veggie soup and as the main dish with some cabbage slaw and pickled onions. You can also serve this in a wrap, over a salad, in a panini, as a pizza topping or as a topping to a baked potato or yam. Can you say endless possibilities?
shredded bbq chicken 4waysLet’s not forget the BBQ sauce — Apple cider vinegar is such a versatile ingredient and I love love LOVE the taste! It’s bold and tangy, and adds a lovely zip to dishes from soups and salad dressings to marinades and main dishes. While lemon and lime juice have their places, apple cider vinegar has a place in my heart all it’s own. Naturally, when I came across Lauren’s recipe for a Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ sauce, I knew I had to make it.

shredded bbq chicken avocadoThis month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lauren’s delicious and crafty blog Sew You Think You Can Cook. I knew Lauren was a great match when I came across fun flavor combos such as her Hummus Waffles with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies, Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip  and Parsnip and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal.  While I chose her Pulled Chicken and Apple Cider BBQ Sauce, with my newfound love for parsnips, you can be sure Lauren’s baked oatmeal will be made in the next week or so!
shredded bbq chicken rice pilaf

I made a few changes to Lauren’s recipe based on what I had on hand. I had a combo or chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I really loved the flavor that the richer thigh meat lent to this dish. I swapped out the sweetener for maple sugar and used smoked salt instead of regular sea salt. I made a special grocery store run to buy gluten-free beer…I didn’t want to swap that out so I could stay true to the recipe, though now I have several bottles of beer to experiment in other recipes :) Thanks Lauren for this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
shredded bbq chicken slaw

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free


4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a combo (I used 2 chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp granulated sweetener (maple sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (can reduce if you are sensitive to spicy food)
1 bottle or can (12 oz) gluten-free beer
sea salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper generously. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, over grains, over avocado, as a pizza topping, on top of a salad and drizzle withe apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce (recipe below).

Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free

1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.

shredded bbq chicken veggie soupFor other recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!

September 27, 2015 at 10:00 pm 9 comments

West African Stew

Our local health food store has this luscious West African Peanut Soup that they feature in their hot bar on occasion. There’s something about the soup that screams “comfort” (…and eat me of course!). It combines some of my favorite foods in one dish- sweet potatoes, nut or seed butters, greens and coconut milk.

west african stew close

After inquiring about the ingredients used in their soup, I knew I could come up with my own version that I could make anytime…without having to wait whether it’s offered on the menu that day. Dare I say that I might even like this version better? Maybe because I added some of my favorite veggies and punched up the creaminess with the coconut milk…I even enjoyed this cold right from the fridge for lunch one day when I didn’t have a way to heat up the soup at work.

west african stew 1

This stew (or hearty soup) is a great way to kick off this Fall season and warm up on chilly evenings :)

If you aren’t familiar with Berbere, it’s a lovely warm Ethiopian spice mixture with a bit of heat made with chile powder, paprika, ginger, coriander and several other spices. It pairs really well with the sweet potatoes, tomato, nut butter and veggies and can be used in a variety of ingredients – . I purchased this spice mix in bulk, but if you are looking to make your own, try this homemade mix.
west african stew 2West African Stew
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free Option, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Paleo-Friendly

1 Tbsp coconut oil or other neutral oil
1-2 medium carrots, small diced
1 large or 2 small stalks of celery, diced
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled (if desired and cubed, about 4-5 cups, I used a combo of white and orange flesh)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1 14.5oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can full-fat coconut milk
32 oz low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
2 tbsp Berbere spice mix (I like the flavor punch, but you can use 1 tbsp if you like less spicy, mild flavors)
1-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos, gluten-free soy sauce tamari or coconut aminos (use coconut aminos for soy-free & paleo)
3/4 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter, sunflower seed butter (for nut-free) OR almond butter* (I’ve tried all 3 versions)
2-3 cups greens, rough chopped (chard, collards, kale, spinach)-optional
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice from one small lime

For serving (Optional but oh-so-good)
Cooked rice, quinoa or your favorite grain (omit for grain-free and/or Paleo)
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped green onion
Chopped peanuts, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
Chopped cilantro


  1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic, sweet potato chunks, and jalapeño and saute another 3-4 minutes until onions are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in broth, coconut milk, tomatoes (undrained), Berbere spice mix, and Braggs/aminos and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, roughly 20 minutes.
  4. Remove 1/2 cup of the hot soup broth and place in a small bowl. Stir in the nut/seed butter and whisk until smooth (this helps prevent clumping and even distribution), then add back to the soup and stir again.
  5. Toss in the chopped greens and cook for a few minutes wilted.
  6. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Taste and season with additional lime juice, liquid aminos, salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Ladle into bowls, garnish with grains, green onions, chopped nuts/seeds and additional cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and enjoy!

*I’ve made variations of this soup…feel free to make it your own! I’ll add in sliced mushrooms, swap out orange for purple sweet potatoes, add in greens, throw in some leftover cooked grains if I need to use some up, etc.

west african stew

September 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment

Garlic Chive Pesto Pasta with Langostino Lobster

Costco carries wild-caught langostino lobster tails, and my better half,  his daughter and I are all seafood lovers so naturally we could not resist this purchase. While it’s a bit pricier than chicken or veggies, we stretched the 2 pounds of this sweet langostino over three meals…and this garlic chive pesto pasta was one of the delicious results.

I rarely eat pasta, maybe twice a year when a random craving hits or I come across a “fun buy” and I give into indulgence. We bought this scrumptious gluten-free garlic chive pasta at Pike’s Place Market on our Seattle vacation this summer and “pasta guy” convinced us to sample a variety including “dark chocolate”. While I was tempted to buy anything chocolate, we settled on a bag of garlic chive “rooster comb”…simply because you can’t go wrong with Italian! Any gluten-free pasta can be used but our specialty pasta added some extra pizazz and flavor to the dish.
lobster garlic pasta salad

While I prefer pasta warm in general, this dish can also be eaten chilled. I devoured my leftovers straight from the fridge for lunch the next day and it was delightful :) If you are a vegetarian or vegan or just downright want more vegetables, omit the lobster and add another favorite veggie when you saute the summer squash. Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms would all be delicious additions!

Don’t be deterred from the longer direction list — essentially you blend all the ingredients for the pesto, cook the pasta and saute the veggies with lobster then toss everything together. It’s not as complicated as it may look at first glance!

Garlic Chive Pesto Pasta with Langostino Lobster
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Vegetarian & Vegan option, Sugar-free, Peanut-free, Nightshade-free, Egg-free option


2/3 lb wild caught langostino lobster tails (omit for vegan/vegetarian or sub shrimp if preferred)
9 oz gluten free garlic chive pasta* or your favorite gluten-free pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 yellow squash, diced (can substitute or add zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli etc)
3 cups spinach, baby chard or kale
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Slices of fresh lemon for serving
Additional pine nuts for serving (optional)

For the pesto:
1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts (or cashews)
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
large pinch of sea salt (~1/4 tsp or more to taste)
4 Tbsp olive oil

To make the pesto:
1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the pine nuts for a few minutes, but watch carefully since they burn quickly! You can skip this step but the toasted nuts adds another dimension to the pesto.

2. In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine basil through salt and blend for 15 seconds. While the blender or food processor is running, pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can pulse all ingredients together for a more rustic pesto until you reach your desired texture. Taste pesto and adjust with more salt and lemon if needed.

For pasta
1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a rolling boil on high. Add pasta and stir for the first 15 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-high and start the cooking timer once the water returns to a slow simmer or gentle rolling boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente, stirring occasionally.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced squash and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Toss in lobster and greens and cook until lobster is warmed and greens are wilted, a couple minutes, then remove from heat.

2. Drain pasta over a colander, reserving a few tablespoons of pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta back to large pot along with 1-2 Tbsp cooking liquid and pesto, then toss to combine. Add Lobster-veggie mix and fresh chives and toss to combine again. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

4. Portion into serving bowls, sprinkle with additional pine nuts (if desired) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!

Serves 4-5 main dish servings

lobster garlic pasta 2

*This garlic chive pasta contains egg whites, for an egg-free version substitute your favorite gluten-free vegan pasta –penne, spaghetti, elbow etc. will all work here!

Notes: If you can tolerate dairy, this dish would pair well with a sprinkle of parmesan or asiago.

August 31, 2015 at 12:03 pm 2 comments

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