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spaghetti squash noodle bowl + lime peanut sauce


Defaulting to kindness is this very simple idea that I try, rather mightily, to uphold in my day-to-day endeavours. It’s an easy and graceful thing that applies to relationships, work strategies, food on the table, the methods we choose, self care, and overall personal stillness. Dogma doesn’t muscle its way into such a direct mode of life. I don’t always succeed in this–that much has to be obvious. Inner landscapes are complex in the greatest of beings. I struggle under time constraints, matters of patience, when things go off the rails, disorganized dwellings, in the face of criticism… I become irritable as all hell if we’re being real.

So it’ll come as no surprise that, upon receiving some rather passive aggressive emails/messages of all sorts relating to this blog in the last couple weeks, I got thisclose to meeting those notions of skepticism with something to the tune of “OMG. BUT R U OK?” Hitting the send button was the next step in that absurdly demonstrative reply. Then I thought of kindness (almost begrudgingly), and trying to default to that state. The mere thought didn’t offer instantaneous optimism, but its warm lightbulb glow entered my realm of possibility in a gentle and persistent way. Slowly returning to the center, thank goodness.

I can appreciate having a point of view, dedication to a personal observation, and the confidence to bring it all forward. It’s silly to be dismissive of any and all reactions because… it’s just something that I do on the internet. Considering the point, trying to turn the scene around, saying thank you, having a better life (+ acknowledging that the internet is WAY REAL)–that’s all easy on paper and, as it turns out, easy in practice over time. Feeling much more solid in this space lately (this album on repeat and big cups of vanilla rooibos while sifting through the emails/everything else is helping) and I’m glad that you’re all here.

So in that vein, I thought I’d share more of an every day kindness that I grant myself. This is something you might catch me fixing up for lunch on a normal day. I might pre-roast the whole squash and make up the dressing at the beginning of the week, reheat the strands with some stock in a sauté pan and top it all up as I’ve done here. I never make a dressing or sauce the same way twice, and this peanut lime one is no exception. The list of ingredients seems long, but it’s largely a compilation of pantry items that can be subbed, swapped or chopped altogether.

Stay kind, in your life endeavours and your lunches, peeps. xo

spaghetti squash noodle bowl + lime peanut sauce recipe
serves:
4
notes: Definitely use the sharpest knife you’ve got for the spaghetti squash. You don’t want to be pulling a stubborn knife out of a half-cut squash, commanding someone nearby to dial 9 + 1 in standby emergency preparation

squash etc ingredients:
1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise + seeds scooped out
4-5 kale stalks (7-8 if you’re using lacinato), stems removed
1 shallot, peeled
1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts of your preference (I used cashews)
3 tbsp sesame seeds (toasted, raw, whatevs)
chopped leafy herb if you feel it (cilantro, mint, thai basil etc)
1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
salt + pepper

lime peanut sauce ingredients:
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled + rough chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled + rough chopped
1-2 tsp sriracha (or other hot sauce you like)
2 tbsp peanut butter (or tahini, sunflower seed butter, almond butter etc)
1 lime, peeled + chopped
1 tbsp rice vinegar (or apple cider/white wine vinegar)
2 tsp agave (or honey etc)
1.5 tbsp tamari soy sauce
little scoop of extra virgin coconut oil (optional, but I love the coconut fragrance here)
tiny splash of toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup grapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the squash halves, cut side down, onto the sheet. Bake for about an hour or until the flesh pulls away in easy strands.

While the squash is baking, slice the kale leaves into 1/3 inch-ish ribbons and place in a large bowl. Cut the shallot in half lengthwise, slice the halves into thin half-moons and set aside. Chop up the herbs and toasted nuts as well, set them aside with the shallows.

Once you’ve cut the broccoli, set a medium saucepan with about an inch of water over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer. Place the broccoli florets into a steamer basket and set aside until right before service.

Place all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and bend until fully incorporated. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

When squash is cool enough to handle, place the steamer basket of broccoli into the pot with the simmering water. Put a lid on it and allow broccoli to steam for 3-4 minutes, or desired doneness. While broccoli is steaming, scrape the spaghetti strands out with a fork into the large bowl with the sliced kale. The heat from the squash should wilt the kale slightly. Pour a big splash of the dressing into the bowl, season with salt and pepper and lightly toss the squash and kale.

Remove broccoli from the heat. Portion the squash and kale into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with the steamed broccoli, sliced shallots, chopped nuts, sesame seeds, chopped herbs and extra sauce.

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Anouk06/03/2013 - 4:45 am

Sweetie!! How in the world could people possibly be so cruel as to spam you with unfriendly messages? Sounds like it’s been spinning around in your head – I’d say: “don’t let it get to you”, but hey, we all know that’s easier said than done… You put your heart & soul in this place – inside out – which I find very brave & inspiring. Just remember: you rock! Keep on making my day with your warming words & fabulous food. <>

hungryandfrozen06/03/2013 - 5:13 am

Passive-aggressive emails? About THIS blog? Worst! Here is a totally non-passive-aggressive, transparent message to say that I love your blog, keep doing what you’re doing and if you can manage to stay positive then go you. I am also super envious of your access to spaghetti squash since they sound pretty fascinating. But at least I can make the dressing which sounds so, so good.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar06/03/2013 - 8:14 am

Looove this! It looks so fabulous!

thelittleloaf06/03/2013 - 9:34 am

This is the kind of dish I love to eat for lunch, fresh, clean and full of bright, zingy flavours. I’ve never tried substituting spaghetti squash for noodles but it looks lovely – did you say it would keep well for a few days too?

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan06/03/2013 - 9:47 am

Oh this bowl looks divine! Anytime peanuts and spaghetti squash is involved, I’m so in!

robyn06/03/2013 - 10:38 am

Where is the Cauli in the ingredient list…I see in the instructions to cook,,,is it for the sauce or as part of the bowl??

Laura Wright06/03/2013 - 10:45 am

Robyn, that was an error on my part. Should have been “broccoli florets.” Changed it! Thanks for noticing :)
-L

Cassie06/03/2013 - 10:57 am

Haters always gonna hate! Just know that for as many people who might talk smack about the blog, there are exponentially more who love it! I look at a lot of food blogs and yours is one of my favorites. Your recipes are always spot on and totally creative. I just put spaghetti squash on my shopping list so I can make today’s dish ASAP.

michelle06/03/2013 - 11:45 am

internet haters are the worst kind of haters. boy does this look delish. i can’t wait to have a second usable hand so i can make it!

Astrid06/03/2013 - 12:21 pm

Love your blog, and love your creative recipies. Just ignore the silly people who send you hate mail….many more think your great!

Sara06/03/2013 - 12:26 pm

I’ve been needing some good inspiration for spaghetti squash. This dish looks gorgeous and can only imagine is just as delicious!

Dana @ Vanishing Veggie06/03/2013 - 1:01 pm

I am a vegan trying to lose weight, and this would be a PERFECT quick dinner. It looks beautiful and tasty!

melissa06/03/2013 - 3:03 pm

This recipe looks lovely! Thank-you for the inspiration :)

Eileen06/03/2013 - 3:43 pm

There is definitely not enough spaghetti squash in rotation at our house. :) I love the idea of taking the “noodles” away from the typical marinara sauce and toward the Asian peanut and lime!

Ariel06/03/2013 - 5:04 pm

Ooh how lucky, I just roasted an enormous spaghetti squash this weekend and have tons of leftovers! I’m a big fan of your blog, and excited to give another one of your recipes a try! :)

Joanne06/03/2013 - 6:34 pm

It really is appalling the emails that “readers” think they can send bloggers – as if we aren’t real people with feelings!!! I’m so sorry you had to experience that. hopefully this delicious meal helped a bit! I love all things peanut sauce and it’d make just about any day better!

la domestique07/03/2013 - 2:53 am

Love the colors and textures in this dish! It hurts my heart that someone has been either aggressive or passively aggressive to you. In moments that test my kindness, I think about how when this whole journey of life is done do I want to have to watch a replay of my life and see myself acting like a jerk. No, I do not. So I try to be kind. I try. :)

Nicola Galloway07/03/2013 - 3:12 am

When I come to an unhappy comment I just try and remember it is not about me but the person who wrote it that is hurting and their words just come out hurtful. Not fun to recieve though.

Thanks for the yummy bowl inspiration, the sauce sounds fantastic :)

Elenore Bendel Zahn07/03/2013 - 7:45 am

Whaaaat? I don´t get it – you are like the most loving and sweet person alive! Wierd.. but honey, right approach you have there. Give and receive (plus some vanilla rooibos of course)

Big hug to you gorgeous lady.

Shira07/03/2013 - 2:26 pm

A perfect meal if I ever saw one and has literally all my favorite things. Too funny as this has been my “yellow and green vegetable week” as I try to get back to basics for the transition to spring foods – I think you read my mind! Gorgeous Laura!

Larissa07/03/2013 - 2:44 pm

I just discovered your blog and am totally inspired by it. Making this tonight!

Jasmine07/03/2013 - 5:58 pm

These all look so delicious. can’t wait to try.

Lauren @ A Nerd Cooks07/03/2013 - 6:14 pm

Y’know, haters gonna hate… Don’t let them get you down.

This dish looks insanely good! I can’t wait to make it. Keep doing what you’re doing =)

carey07/03/2013 - 7:27 pm

Ugh, what is wrong with those jerk people? Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much time wrapped up in the computer/Internet, between working and reading and blogging. And then I remind myself that I’m actually creating things and having an awesome time, and not just some dipstick trolling behind the anonymity of a computer screen, which is THE LAMEST.

The spaghetti squash is near and dear to my heart, as it was one of the first things I made when I began experimenting with cooking. Consequently, I’ve been stuck on pairing it with alfredo sauce, since that was the sauce I originally made for it as well. (Nostalgic to a fault, that’s me!) I was also never sure what to use in place of it, since tomato sauce + spaghetti squash didn’t quite appeal to me (for whatever reason). But lime peanut sauce sounds so awesome, and much better on so many levels. :)

sara forte07/03/2013 - 9:11 pm

it always seems lunch is a huge salad of whatever leftovers are around. I get frustrated sometimes ranting to hugh that I just want healthy/light WARM food instead of a hodge podge salad. I love love winter squash but have never tried it with peanut sauce – sounds like perfection. I’m in need of some new sauces, thanks for the idea.

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)07/03/2013 - 10:06 pm

This looks amazing! I’ve loved spaghetti squash every time I’ve cooked it in the past (although I paired mine with a traditional tomato sauce and meatballs)–but I need to try this peanut sauce. I’m sure it would be great on so many things, all the flavors sound right up my alley.

Love the pictures! :)

Liz M08/03/2013 - 10:21 am

has anyone figured the ww points on this dish?

Ashley08/03/2013 - 1:15 pm

These photos are stunning and this recipe sounds spectacular! What lens are you using for these? Beautiful all around!

mich08/03/2013 - 1:28 pm

I made this last night for dinner and it was AMAZING! I am thinking of all the other things I can put the dressing on. Thanks!

Laura Wright08/03/2013 - 1:49 pm

Hey Ashley! I shot this post with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4. Loving that one big time lately. xo

Mikey F.10/03/2013 - 6:00 pm

Kindness is such a great gift to give, even to those who upset us. I loved your words, wise and thoughtful. And this recipe, I MUST TRY.

Lots of love, and light,
M.

Jilly Inspired11/03/2013 - 8:35 pm

Hi There, recently I decided to post comments on food blogger sites that I regularly turn to for inspiration. I popped over to your site first and read this post. It’s the perfect time to tell you how much I love your blog. As a food blogger, I can understand how you feel. Your blog is always on my top 10 list. Thanks for the inspiration.

[...] the first mess [...]

hungryandfrozen12/03/2013 - 3:46 am

PS: obSESSED with Solange <3

Nat @ The Apple Diaries12/03/2013 - 4:23 am

That lime peanut sauce looks insanely good! If could also work as a salad dressing.

Great recipe :)

dashesofawesome12/03/2013 - 1:01 pm

This is a great gluten-free alternative to pasta, and will likely be dinner one night this week! Thanks for posting!

Andrea13/03/2013 - 2:57 pm

Defaulting to kindness is a beautiful way to live, keep it up.
And the food looks delish too :-)

Kathryne15/03/2013 - 10:38 pm

Sorry to hear about the meanies, Laura. You radiate kindness in real life. Listening to Solange now on spotify, thanks for the head’s up!

Sara17/03/2013 - 8:36 pm

Just made this tonight for dinner. The lime-peanut sauce is fantastic and really livens up squash (which I’m not always a fan of). I even had the black sesame seeds to sprinkle on top which was a great finishing touch.

Annalise19/03/2013 - 9:38 pm

Found this recipe from Pinterest, and tried it tonight for dinner. Fabulous! The lime peanut sauce is amazing, definitely something I’ll be making again. I think next time I’ll add some shrimp or chicken.

Robyn20/03/2013 - 5:47 pm

About how many cups cooked squash would you say you used? I don’t think my squash is “large” so i’m going to cook 2 but don’t wan’t to end up with too much for the sauce.

THANKS! :)

Bailey20/03/2013 - 8:39 pm

This was wonderful! I just finished eating it. A great healthy dish for when I’m needing some Thai food. I love spaghetti squash, but only used it with marinara sauce. This is now my new favorite!

Laura Wright21/03/2013 - 10:03 am

Hey Robyn! I would say in the area of 4-5 cups of cooked squash. Hope that helps :)
-L

Clare27/03/2013 - 10:15 am

I am definitely trying this! My stomach is grumbling just looking at it!

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[...] up is a spaghetti squash noodle bowl + lime peanut sauce from The First Mess. I had a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter for about 2 weeks that I had no [...]

J15/04/2013 - 8:30 pm

Made this tonight and it was delicious!! My husband loved it too and said it could be served in a restaurant! Thanks!

[...] concoctions that actually turned out well…woohoo! A few weeks back, my friend Molly and I made this yummy spaghetti squash stir fry and I decided to recreate it with some chicken. I don’t know about you, but I need to figure [...]

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Jessilee22/04/2013 - 8:16 pm

Hi there! I found this site through Pinterest, and I just wanted to let you know that I made this recipe (with rice noodles because spaghetti squash isn’t in stock anywhere where I live) and it’s delicious. I’ve been looking for a great peanut sauce for quite a while, and this is a keeper. Thank you for sharing!

Sara24/04/2013 - 9:30 am

Reporting back–made this and it’s delicious! The sauce really brings it together. I have nigella seeds and I loved using them on top, not just for visual but also for their taste. Thanks.

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janet @ the taste space02/05/2013 - 6:53 am

I made a different sauce but loved your inspiration. It was a delicious bowl with the spaghetti squash, chickpeas and broccoli. :)

This is my version: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/broccoli-and-spaghetti-squash-noodle-bowl-with-a-peanut-miso-sauce/

Jenny R02/05/2013 - 7:14 pm

This sounds so good! I like to cook spaghetti squash whole in the slow cooker. No sharp knife needed! 5-6 hours on Low with a couple tablespoons of water in the bottom to keep the skin from sticking. You really can’t overcook it with this method. When it’s done, cut it in half and scrape out the seeds/goo and you are good to go. You don’t get any roasty brown bits, but for a dish like this it probably doesn’t matter. Just buy a squash that fits whole into your slow cooker pot.

Laura Wright03/05/2013 - 8:11 am

Great tip, Jenny! Thanks so much :)

[...] This recipe made the rounds on my Pinterest recently, and I couldn’t wait to try it; the Male Compatriot loves the peanut sauce at a local Thai restaurant and I had yet to be able to recreate it at home for cheaper/with better ingredients. I made this and had to make more twice that evening — everyone who passed by wanted some to put on something. [...]

Debbie15/05/2013 - 7:18 pm

This looks delish! Put your spaghetti squash into microwave for 5-8 minutes depending on its size and it softens the tough skin enough to make it easy to cut through.

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Jennifer S14/07/2013 - 7:37 pm

I just made this, and it is amazing! and so incredibly easy! I added a whole bunch of mushrooms to mine too (shiitake and button) and it was great match with it!

well done, i will definitely make this for my friends.

[...] made an utterly mouthwatering dinner today based on a recipe on The First Mess (spaghetti squash noodle bowl with lime peanut sauce), although I swopped out the squash for what [...]

Renata01/08/2013 - 11:32 am

I just saw this picture and my stomach already started to smile!!! I just love noodles and brocoli!!! My new favourite dish!
Excelente blog…!! Keep going!
Hugs from Viña del Mar – Chile

Kati22/08/2013 - 8:48 pm

Just a tip about cutting spaghetti squash (or any squash), because it is tough. Just poke some holes in the sucker and throw it in the oven whole in a baking dish. Cover with tin foil if you like. It’s much easier to cut when it’s cooked.
Just about to make this. Looks delicious!

Laura Wright25/08/2013 - 9:02 am

Love this tip, Kati! Totally using it when the spaghetti squashes in my garden are ready :)

Bretty28/08/2013 - 2:30 am

The peanut sauce is fantastic! Thanks for sharing x

Sarah29/08/2013 - 12:51 am

Just made this.. Sooooo good! I wish there was a way to make it paleo… I swapped out the peanut butter with almond butter, looking for a replacement for the soy sauce- any ideas? Anyway, aside from the struggles of opening the squash, this recipe was easy and delicious! Thanks!

Laura Wright29/08/2013 - 3:19 pm

Hey Sarah! You can use a coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce, like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Coconut-Secret-Organic-Vegan-Aminos/dp/B003XB5LMU. Pretty sure it’s paleo friendly. It’s a fantastic product and I’ve been using it quite a bit lately. I’ve seen it at health food stores and even a few grocery stores too.
-L

Gwen03/09/2013 - 10:03 am

Thanks for including a note about making the meal ahead of time! Since I’m cooking for one, I’m always curious about recipes that can be reheated throughout the week, as the squash noddles can be. Can’t wait to try it! :)

Amanda Olson08/09/2013 - 8:52 pm

This looks positively delicious, I can’t wait to try it!
It is amazing, isn’t it how people can be so cruel and ridiculous behind the mask of the Internet… You handled that beautifully, and I agree, what on earth could someone possibly have to say negative about this site?

Dawn10/09/2013 - 7:35 pm

Hey, you go girl! Love the recipe. I eat a LOT of spaghetti squash, and I have gotten so lazy about it that I just throw the whole washed thing right into the oven on a baking tray. MUCH easier to cut afterwards, n if it seems hard, cook it some more. Just be careful taking it out of the oven; usually doesn’t roll by then, but you never know.

[…] Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl & Lime Peanut Sauce  by The First Mess […]

Melissa18/09/2013 - 3:48 pm

Chowing down on this now and loving it! Thanks!

[…] Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce | The First […]

Deeny O'Connor24/09/2013 - 10:53 pm

Hi Miss Laura,

Stumbled onto your blog when searching for new ways to fix my fave squash for my daughter and her fussy eatin’ 4 y/o step-daughter who will eat anything slathered with my basil pesto btw. Go figure.

Anyway I have a bumper crop of spaghetti squash for I seem to have an issue with gluten these days so grew a bunch to dehydrate to enjoy over the winter/spring, but when I saw your recipe I decided I must prepare this asap (like day after tomorrow)for my husband, daughter, and myself who love oriental flavors.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’ll be back for more inspiration.

D. O’C.

P.S. Don’t sweat the small stuff which includes small minds.

Amy26/09/2013 - 1:02 pm

Made this last night and LOVED it! I’ve never been a big fan of spaghetti squash because I always served it with marinara sauce. I am now a serious convert– your peanut sauce has made me a believer! I sautéed the shallot and kale a little bit and also added a bit of roasted butternut squash. I’m having the leftovers for lunch — can’t wait!

Linda29/09/2013 - 10:18 am

This is so perfect – blog and recipe – you’ll never know how much :)

hana01/10/2013 - 2:19 pm

Has anyone calculated the calories per serving? Sounds so deee-lish, I can’t wait to try it!

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[…] Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce […]

Dina27/10/2013 - 3:57 pm

I was looking for an asian inspired recipe for spaghetti squash as a side dish for my pork belly lettuce wraps. Your recipe was the one that stood out for me. The peanut sauce is delicious and I can’t wait for dinner tonight. I never thought of making asian dishes with spaghetti squash but I’m now hooked. I will try pad Thai next Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing such wonderful goodies with all of us.

Liz27/10/2013 - 8:39 pm

Thank you for the nice recipe.

[…] Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce […]

Jessica14/11/2013 - 10:14 pm

I really wish it hadn’t taken me so long to make this recipe, it’s amazing!! I could go back for 2nds, 3rd and 4rths. Thank you!!

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Jodie29/12/2013 - 9:45 pm

This is without a doubt once of the livliest and flavorful dishes I have ever made. I did a few things differently to expedite the cooking process. I cooked the squash in the microwave, bought steam in bag broccoli and sautéed 3 shallots with the kale. I used cilantro and basil with the Chefs recommendation of cashews. Thank you for this recipe!!

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Ange08/02/2014 - 8:04 pm

Made this for dinner tonight. So good. My sauce was a little vinegar-y so next time I may just put a tsp instead of a tbsp but other than that it was delish!

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[…] Spaghetti Squash with Lime Peanut Sauce - Here was a recipe that fit my vegetarian sensibilities. I had to tweak it so that it met Whole 30 requirements, but boy was this delicious. Instead of siracha, I used a spicy chili garlic sauce. Instead of soy sauce, I added a bit more salt. I used raw peanut butter, to avoid added sugar, and I also just completely skipped the agave sweetener. […]

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Sandy07/05/2014 - 8:09 pm

Oh my, this was delish! I forgot to buy kale but still yummy without it, the dressing is so so so good! Thank you for the recipe!

Lindsay21/07/2014 - 5:08 pm

This looks delicious! I’m going back on my low-carb diet and I found this on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to eat it for dinner tonight!

[…] I love, those starchy, starchy things. I stumbled on vegan recipes like this one, and this one, and this one. While not all of those are a replacement for the love of my life, starch (Just kidding, Chris! I […]

Amalia19/08/2014 - 6:29 pm

Hello Laura,
I am trying to creatively think of what I could replace the hot sauce with as I’m intolerant to hot anything it seems these days? Thank you for your great recipes!
Amalia

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