Warmly infused with North African spices – ras el hanout, this Vegan Spaghetti Squash Casserole with crispy tempeh can be served as a side dish or lower carb alternative to pasta or rice. A delicious and easy to make vegan casserole that’s also gluten-free.
I realise that I don’t have that many vegan casserole recipes on the blog. I do have a few pasta bakes and gratin dishes but not really skillet casserole dishes that can go from the stovetop into the oven.
I’ve had a spaghetti squash for a few weeks in the fridge now and I was about to make this layered gratin dish that both Kevin and I love so much but then I also wanted to cook up something different.
North African inspired cuisine has been on my list of ‘to-do recipes’. Quintessential of this cuisine is ras el hanout, a beautiful mix of spices that is liberally used in Maghreb cuisine, predominantly Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian cuisines. The blend that I discovered in Europe was exquisite, with rose petals and tiny bits of whole spices that added a touch of uniqueness to any dish.
The generic store-bought ras el hanout that I stumbled on at my local grocery store here is a decent blend but it somewhat lacks the deep lingering aroma that only a good freshly made mix can reveal. A homemade blend is proving to be essential in my case, but until I devise my own unique spice mix of ras el hanout, the commercial one did infuse this vegan spaghetti squash casserole beautifully with layers of warm flavours and aroma.
Since spaghetti squash originates from North and Central America, it is probably not very prevalent, if at all, in North African cuisine. Bridging the continents opens up a whole new world of possibilities with this vegan casserole dish where you’ll also find crispy tempeh, green peas, king oyster mushrooms, some good tomato sauce,
On another day, I would have used vegan cheese for a richer dish but I wanted to keep things on the lighter side for today. Feel free to top it with your favourite non-dairy cheese if you wish though.
To make Vegan Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Tempeh
I find that it’s easier to cut the squash by making dents with a small knife across rather than from end to end. Cutting it across also leaves longer strands, as they spiral from one end to the other.
Consequently, Cutting the squash from top to bottom will result in shorter strands.
Depending on the size, the spaghetti squash may take 45 minutes up to an hour to roast.
The rest of the ingredients are fried and sauteed in a skillet, the spaghetti squash is then added in and the skillet goes in the oven for the final cooking.
There’s not much dish washing involved afterward which is why I think more skillet casserole dishes like these are what we need, right? If you want to skip the baking, you may simply continue to cook this dish on the stove top until the sauce is thickened. Then just top with the tempeh, thyme and coriander leaves.
- 1 spaghetti squash, [about 900 g - 1 kg]
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 200 g tempeh, sliced thinly
- 1 king oyster mushroom, or 3 - 4 white mushrooms or other types
- 120 ml crushed tomatoes, [½ cup]
- 1½ teaspoon ras el hanout, see notes for substitute
- ¼ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes, optional
- 180 ml soy milk, [¾ cup], or other plant milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 - 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes, for topping, optional
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Coriander leaves, (cilantro), for topping, optional
- Preheat oven at 190°C / 375°F
- Cut the spaghetti squash across in half and scoop the seeds out. Place the halves with cut side facing down on a baking tray and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the strands are soft and come out easily.
- In a large cast iron or oven safe skillet, heat the oil over medium-high temperature.
- When skillet is hot add the tempeh strips and fry until golden and crispy on our side. Flip and drizzle with some soy sauce. Fry until crispy on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the mushrooms to the same pan and sprinkle with a little salt. You may add a little more oil but most of the time I don’t find this necessary. Saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add in the spaghetti squash, green peas, crushed tomatoes, ras el hanout and chilli flakes. Stir until combined and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes. Season with a little salt.
- Remove the skillet from the heat.
- In a small jug mix the soy milk, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast and some salt to taste. Pour this slurry onto the spaghetti squash.
- Cut the tempeh strips into smaller pieces and arrange on top. Drop a few spoonfuls of crushed tomatoes here and there, and sprinkle with the thyme.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Top with fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) if desired. Serve warm as a main dish or side dish.
Where to buy Ras El Hanout?
To substitute the ras el hanout, you may use a mix of cumin, cinnamon, coriander seed powder, paprika and a pinch of turmeric and chilli powder.
Link to Vegan Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Tempeh - https://veganlovlie.com/vegan-spaghetti-squash-casserole-tempeh
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