The Best Fall Veggie Pasta Bowls

I need to start this post with an apology. I have been selfish. I stumbled upon a new favorite meal last week, and I’ve been keeping it to myself. Before you get upset, let me explain why. I had a strange group of leftovers in the fridge, and I was getting ready to go out of town, so I wanted to use them up. Instead of coming up with a bunch of separate meals, I sort of threw everything together, spiced it up a little, and I’ve been chasing down the ingredients to recreate it daily ever since.

It’s a lot of steps, which is why I’ve been avoiding typing it all up. Okay – so the truth comes out. Laziness is the real reason you haven’t been able to enjoy this heavenly fall-flavored, oh-so-good-for-you veggie noodle bowl yet. But, forgive and forget – let’s move on, shall we? No reason to waste valuable eating time being angry.

So I mentioned lots of steps. I’ll break down each part of the dish – it should also be noted that these “separates” can be used for lots of other things also. Since this has become my new obsession, I’ve started keeping these foods pre-made in the fridge and once that’s done, it’s very easy to throw any variation of this bowl together quickly for a lunch or dinner.

I should also tell you that a spiralizer is a necessary tool for this dish. I guess necessary is a strong word – you can also use a grater or peeler, and create “noodle-like” pieces, but the Spiralizer is so quick and easy, and will open your kitchen to a million different dishes – I can’t say enough good things about this investment. Plus, investment is another strong word – I found mine at TJ Maxx for $12.

Okay, let’s do this thing!

I chose to make my noodles (or zoodles) from butternut squash. Tis the season for fall everything and I am crushing hard on butternut squash this year. You want to cut both ends off the squash, so all you have left is the center.

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Next, using a potato peeler, peel all the skin from the squash. If you’re using the peeler to make your noodles, you can just keep peeling away into a bowl. If you’re using a Spiralizer, put the squash into the contraption and be sure to have a bowl on the other side to catch the noodles. As you can see, I didn’t. Thank God my husband didn’t see this happening. He thinks germs are everywhere. They probably are, but that doesn’t stop me from eating food off of pretty much anything.

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Once your squash has magically transformed into noodles, toss it in 2 tsp olive oil or coconut oil, seasoning of choice (I used Flavorgod everything) and cook in a skillet over medium heat until noodles are soft. This takes around 20 minutes, be sure to stir frequently. You can also roast it on a cookie sheet in the oven on 350 degrees. This takes a little longer, 30-35 minutes, but is much lower maintenance.

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Noodles are done! 1 squash makes anywhere between 2-3 servings, so you’ll have leftovers a few times.

The second part of this is the homemade cranberry sauce. Remember how I said you can use these recipes for other things? Well, Thanksgiving is in exactly 7 days and you no longer need yucky, pre-canned, sugar filled cranberry sauce – because you can make your own! But here’s where the second apology comes in – since this wasn’t a planned meal, I had no idea that these cranberries were going to come out yummy, and wasn’t planning to share them right away, so I took ZERO pictures. EEK. I would re-make them to take a picture, but Thanksgiving is so soon and I have no use for a batch of cranberry sauce a week from when I actually need it. The struggle. It’s real. Anyway, this is easy and I promise it will work out great, even without the comparison pictures!

In a sauce pan, combine 1 package of fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup raw honey, 1/2 cup Trop 50 orange juice (any kind is fine but I like this brand!), and 2 tsp ground cinnamon. Heat on high heat until boiling, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Be sure to mix this well.

Again, this will last you awhile – so be sure you have a use for lots of cranberry sauce, or cut this recipe down before making it!

Okay, now we can finally put our bowl together. Your options are limitless! I chose to add kale, brussel sprouts, chicken sausage, and a little feta cheese.

Whatever you add in, you want it to be pre-cooked – so I baked my chicken sausage and brussel sprouts while the rest of this was cooking.

Kale takes just a few minutes to cook, so I heated a skillet and dropped in 1 cup of kale, squeezed fresh lemon juice over top and allowed it to sauté for a quick minute or two, then threw in my noodles, brussel sprouts, and chicken, and mixed it all up. Once everything was warm, I added in 1/4 cup cranberry sauce and 1 tsp feta cheese.

Please don’t let this workload scare you off – I promise it’s worth it, and it will give you some amazing leftovers throughout the week. This can also be made vegetarian/vegan by using tofu for protein, and it’s gluten free! Love the idea of even turning this into a casserole dish for the holidays!

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If you’re following the 21 Day Fix, you won’t want to use sausage, but with chicken breast, your containers would be: 2 greens, 2 tsp, 1/2 purple, 1/2 blue.

Do you have any yummy zoodle recipes to share? I am obsessed and I can’t wait to try as many new takes on this as possible! Happy Spiralizing!

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