Tis The Season For Squash

December 8, 2014

I've had my fair share of squash this fall but have completely fallen for spaghetti squash. And lucky for me, I can buy it precut at my local natural food store (I don't have the arm muscle to cut through that tough gourd and I'm also terrified I may cut myself in the process).

I've been replacing regular pasta for spaghetti squash, which is helping me eat healthier so I can go crazy for Christmas cookies, pies, cakes, etc later this month. And I also have found spaghetti squash completely lovely in my other new obsession: fresh spring rolls.
To be honest, I've always been a little intimidated by rice paper. It baffled me how a plastic-y looking disc could magically turn into a soft, squishy wrapper. But after attending a DIY spring roll dinner party over the summer, I've been hooked. I can't stop eating them, even though they may seen a bit out of place as the weather gets cooler.

Usually I'll fill them with rice noodles, shrimp, bell pepper, raw spinach, cilantro and avocado and dip them in nuoc cham. But chilled, spaghetti squash "noodles" add an extra healthy kick to these delicious spring rolls.
And if you're extra adventurous, try them with a delicious shrimp cake, courtesy of the Easy Gourmet cookbook that I received from Twin Sista on my birthday. It's a new cookbook from one of my favorite food blogs, I am a food blog. Stephanie was so gracious to let me share this recipe too!
Spaghetti Squash Spring Rolls with Shrimp Cakes (makes 8 rolls)
1 spaghetti squash roasted and chilled (follow these really easy steps from The Kitchn)

6 oz or about 14 shrimp (thawed if using frozen shrimp or raw shrimp, peeled and tails removed)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs onion, diced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs rice flour
vegetable oil

for nuoc cham-
2 tbs sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbs fish sauce
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane
1 tsp chili paste 

warm water
8 rice paper wrappers
1 avocado, sliced into long strips
1 red bell pepper, julienned
raw spinach, rinsed
sprigs of cilantro

1 tbs sweet thai chili sauce

1. Prepare spaghetti squash by allowing 30-45 minutes for roasting. (Follow these easy steps).
2. For shrimp cakes, place shrimp, garlic, onion, sugar, salt and rice flour into a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste. With damp hands, form paste into patties. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and coat pan with enough oil to coat pan. Fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan, allow to cool and then cut into long strips.
3. Prepare nuoc cham by combining sugar, lemon juice, fish sauce, water, garlic and chili paste until mixed well.
4. To assemble rolls: fill a pie plate or large bowl with warm water. Submerge one wrapper into water for 10-15 seconds or until the wrapper softens. Place softened wrapper onto a plate. Add a handful of spaghetti squash, shrimp cake, several avocado strips, several red bell pepper strips, a bit of spinach and several sprigs of cilantro. Pour a tsp of nuoc cham onto ingredients. Then wrap by folding the sides in, then roll into a tight burrito-like roll. Repeat for other rolls. (Be careful, the softened wrapper is quite fragile and sticky. Use a gentle touch when rolling to avoid tearing).
5. Serve with more nuoc cham or sweet thai chili sauce.
6. Enjoy!

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