One of my favorite presents I received this Christmas was The Lemonade Cookbook. If you don’t live in Los Angeles you may not be familiar with this restaurant, so let me bring you up to speed. Lemonade is founder Alan Jackson’s take on “seasonal southern California comfort food,” cafeteria-style. They have a massive variety of salads to choose from along with some heartier dishes (and delicious sweets). I LOVE their food, so I was excited to find out that they had a cookbook.
The only thing I don’t love about some of Lemonade’s dishes (or most restaurants for that matter) is their excessive use of oil. The pomegranate vinaigrette uses a CUP of oil. A CUP! A little olive oil is good for you, but too much of it always makes me feel sluggish.
The first recipe I tried out from the book is this delicious spaghetti squash dish. If you’re saying, “spaghetti-what?,” you are in for a treat! Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for thin noodles and is loaded with nutrients like beta carotene and fiber. It’s tender with a slight crunch which makes it the perfect way to get your vegetables in AND satisfy your pasta cravings!
As a vegetarian, I’m constantly looking for ways to up my protein intake, so I added quinoa to the recipe. I think it gives the dish an additional layer of flavor and texture. I also swapped out the dried cranberries for fresh pomegranate seeds to compliment the vinaigrette. And, as I mentioned above, I downsized the olive oil from 1 cup to 2 tablespoons (your stomachs will thank me later).
I also learned a great way to deseed a pomegranate. I watched this YouTube video which is actually pretty hilarious. (SPOILER: He hits the pomegranate and keeps saying, "You've been a bad pomegranate"). Anyways, back to deseeding a pomegranate. Basically you cut it in half and then whack it with a wooden spoon and out pop all the seeds! Just be careful, I think I hit my own hand more than the actual pomegranate.
Farro, Quinoa, Spaghetti Squash with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Inspired by the Lemonade Cookbook
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper
1. In a small sauce pan, place the pomegranate juice and honey over medium-low heat. Bring to a strong enough simmer to allow it to reduce to about 1/4 cup. This should take about 10 minutes and the consistency should be slightly thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool.
2. I did the next step in my Magic Bullet. If you have a small food processor, that will work too. If not, you can mix it in a mason jar by shaking it all. Combine the pomegranate syrup, shallot, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and oil. Add salt & pepper according to your taste. Mix it up! Done.
Farro, Quinoa & Spaghetti Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash (around 3 pounds)
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup farro, dry
- 1/2 cup quinoa, dry
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthways. This took a little bit of muscling through, just be patient and don’t cut your finger off.
4. While the spaghetti squash is roasting, start preparing your farro & quinoa (separately).
For the quinoa: Add the quinoa to 1 cup of water in a covered saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer until all the water is absorbed, usually about 15-20 minutes.
For the farro: Add the farro to 2 cups of water with a dash of salt in a covered saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain the excess water.
5. When the spaghetti squash has finished roasting (test to make sure it’s tender enough to pierce a fork in the flesh), set it aside until it’s cool enough to handle.
6. Now comes the fun part! Take a fork and start scraping the insides of the squash. It comes out in long strands similar to spaghetti. Place all the stringy, flesh of the spaghetti squash in a large mixing bowl.
7. Mix in the farro, quinoa, parsley, pomegranate seeds and vinaigrette to the spaghetti squash.
8. Serve and DEVOUR!
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. I’ve been eating it all week and I’m still not sick of it!