Spaghetti Squash Italian Style

Spaghetti Squash P.

While I wouldn’t go as far as to say that spaghetti squash can replace pasta that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. Its neutral flavor and appetizing texture make it a palatable, low calorie, base for whatever flavors you fancy. This recipe, inspired by a classical Italian pasta sauce, is a good side dish for grilled meats or chicken.

Solar Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca


1 (2 1/2 pound) spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 pound tomatoes, finely diced

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, shredded

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Place squash halves in a baking dish (can be cut into smaller pieces to fit) .  Add 1 cup water to the pan, cover and bake in Sun Oven until soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Prepare sauce while the squash is cooking. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, vinegar, capers, olive oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper. Cover and set aside. Let the squash cool slightly then scrape the pulp into a large serving bowl. Spoon the sauce with its juices over the squash, toss to combine and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Split Pea Soup with Kale

Split Pea & Kale

Kale adds color and texture to this classic comfort food. Serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches or grilled brats.

Solar Split Pea Soup with Kale


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

1 pound dried spit peas, picked over and rinsed

6 cups water

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Pour the oil into a large pot. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots garlic, and marjoram. Add the split peas and water. Stir in the kale. Cover and cook until the peas are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.


Buttery Solar Roasted Squash

Maple Squash-300x225

Sun Glazed Maple Squash


1 (about 2 1/2 pounds) winter squash, any kind except spaghetti

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray two baking pans with cooking spray or line baking racks with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Wash the squash. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut the squash into 1 1/2-inch thick slices or wedges, cut side up. Arrange the pieces in a single layer in the baking pans or on the racks. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, butter, and cayenne. Brush the squash with the glaze. If using baking pans, cross stack them in the Sun Oven. Roast squash until tender, about 1 hour.

Makes 6 servings.

Black Bean Soup from the Sun Oven

BB Soup

Solar Black Bean Soup


4 cups previously cooked black beans, drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups vegetable broth

1 can (14-ounces) diced tomatoes with green peppers

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce

1 bay leaf

salt to taste

1 teaspoon lime juice

sour cream and chopped green onion for garnish


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Pulse 1 1/2 cups of the beans in a food processor until smooth adding a little water if needed; set aside. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic then stir in the broth, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, hot sauce, bay leaf, remaining beans, and mashed beans. Season to taste with salt. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the flavors have blended, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaf. Stir in the lime juice. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with sour cream and green onion.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Solar Baked Vegetarian Burgers

BB Burgers

Top these tasty, spicy, vegetarian burgers with your favorite toppings. Any extra patties can be frozen, unbaked, for up to 3 months.

Sun Oven Baked Black Bean Burgers


2 cups previously cooked black beans, drained

1/2 bell pepper, seeded and cut into pieces

1/2 onion, quartered

3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce

1/2 cup bread crumbs


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a baking rack or sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, lightly coat with cooking spray; set aside.

Put the beans in the a food processor and pulse until they resemble a coarse meal. Transfer the beans to a large bowl. Process the bell pepper, onion, and garlic on pulse until finely chopped. Mix the vegetable mixture into the beans. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, salt, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce. Mix the egg mixture into the beans. Stir in the bread crumbs, a little at a time, until the mixture holds together (you may not need to use all of them). Use your hands to form four patties and place them on the prepared baking rack. Bake in the Sun Oven, turning once, for approximately 40 minutes (20 minutes per side).


Sun Oven Lunch in No Time


A solar cooked lunch doesn’t get any easier than this. Just combine equal parts water and packaged dry tortellini in a pot. Cover, preferably with a glass lid, and cook in a preheated Sun Oven. Heat your favorite sauce in a separate pot next to or under the pot with the pasta. When the pasta has absorbed the water, usually after about 40 minutes,  it’s ready. Toss it with the sauce and enjoy. Dried tortellini can be found in the same aisle as regular pasta. I haven’t tried this with the refrigerated types of tortellini. I’m sure it would work, but imagine you’d need to use less water.


Solar Snack


Yesterday’s Curried Solar Black Beans, Squash, and Rice left me with half a bunch of  kale. All to often in these cases the odd amount of unused vegetables will go to waste. Luckily, kale can easily be transformed into a tasty, healthy, solar snack.

Sun Oven Kale Crisps

(adapted for the Sun Oven from “The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook”)


1/2 bunch kale

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

salt to taste

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a baking rack or pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Using a sharp knive, remove the tough rib of each kale leaf. Wash the leaves and dry thoroughly, use a salad spinner if you have one. Cut the leaves into pieces.

Put the leaves in a medium sized bowl.

Add the olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Use your hands to mix until all the leaves are coated with oil.

Arrange the kale in single layers on the prepared baking rack or pan. Bake in the Sun Oven 10 to 12 minutes or until the kale is crisp.


Spicy Sun Oven Black Beans and Rice

Curried Black Beans

The contrast of the black beans and orange squash make this appealing to both the palate and the eye.

Curried Solar Black Beans, Squash, and Rice


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, an cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup brown rice

2 teaspoons hot curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups previously cooked black beans

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, thinly sliced


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Spay a baking pan with cooking spay. Spread the squash out in the pan in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt. Roast in the Sun Oven until tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from Sun Oven and set aside.

In a large pot, toss the remaining tablespoon oil with the onion, ginger, and garlic. Cover and sauté in the Sun Oven until the onions begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Heat the water along side the onions. Stir in the rice, curry powder, allspice, salt, beans, kale, and water. Cook, covered, until the water has all been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Remove pot from Sun Oven and stir in the roasted squash.

Makes 4 servings.


Late Summer Solar Lunch

Couscous Squash

It’s that time of year when all sorts of squash start showing up at the market. And that means it’s the time of year to enjoy one of my favorite solar lunches – stuffed squash. I don’t really use a recipe. I just use whatever I have on hand, so it comes out different, yet  delicious, every time. Any leftovers can be used as a side dish for dinner. Here’s how I made mine today.

Solar Baked Stuffed Squash


4 unsulfered sun dried tomatoes

2/3 cup hot water

1 medium sized winter squash

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 clove garlic, minced

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup dry couscous

salt and pepper to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. In a small bowl, let the sun dried tomatoes soak in the hot water for about 10 minutes.

Cut the squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Place the squash halves, cut side up in a large, lidded roasting pan. Brush the inside each half with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil (1 teaspoon per half); set aside. Drain the tomatoes reserving the soaking water. Chop the softened tomatoes. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, feta, chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Add the couscous, stirring gently to combine. Carefully spoon the couscous mixture into the hollows of the prepared squash. Pour 1/3 cup of the reserved tomato water over the couscous in each half. Cover and bake in the Sun Oven until the squash is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil just before serving.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.


Skinny Solar Mac and Cheese

Skinny Mac

A few years ago I was having dinner with a group of friends when the topic of disliked foods came up. Most of us were rather adventurous eaters so when we went around the table each naming the foods we did not enjoy the lists were rather short. I was the last to speak and mine were tofu and okra. And just about everyone agreed with me, quickly adding them to their own lists. I’m still working on finding a way to enjoy okra, but I have since learned that when tofu is used as an ingredient instead of the main attraction it’s not all that bad.

Sun Oven Mac’n’Cheese Surprise


1 pound shell or elbow whole wheat pasta

1 box (1 pound) silken tofu, drained

2 cups milk, (whole, 2%, or 1%)

2 tablespoons mustard

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons cornstarch

6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions to al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, use an immersion blender to combine the tofu, milk, mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper until smooth. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring often. When it starts to simmer, whisk in the cornstarch and then the Cheddar cheese. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Spread the pasta out in the prepared baking pan. Pour the sauce over the pasta. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the breadcrumbs and parsley. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta. Top with a generous dusting of Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake in the Sun Oven until browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


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