I can’t get enough winter squash lately so I thought I would continue with that theme…
OK, I’ll be completely honest: it’s starting to get a little out of hand over here. Every evening when I get home from work or school, the first thing I do is turn on my oven and start prepping whatever squash I may be eating that night. I have to be careful not to eat too much winter squash because some (like pumpkin) are higher in sugar and I’m still trying to kick this candida thing. Fortunately, spaghetti squash is relatively low in sugar and a great source of fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamins C and B6. Moreover, it’s insanely easy to make (which happens to be the name of the game at my house lately) and makes a pretty convincing substitute for typical spaghetti noodles with far fewer carbs and calories.
I don’t know how it’s possible, but I had somehow never eaten spaghetti squash until recently. In fact, I had no idea that spaghetti squash even existed! I’m mildly obsessed with spaghetti, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was a vegetable that could be easily shredded into spaghetti-like noodles! Seriously, just imagine me giddily dancing around my kitchen, squealing with joy, and then stuffing my face. I know, it’s a terrifying thought.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of cooking or eating this particular squash before, let me fill you in on a little secret: it’s amazing! OK, so maybe it’s not as much of a secret as I thought it was, but how else can you explain going so long without knowing about this miracle food?! You see, once you’ve baked the squash, you simply use the tongs of your fork to scrape and shred the insides and it naturally pulls apart into noodle-shaped strings. That’s it–it’s that easy. Amazing? You bet. Delicious? Absolutely. Miraculous? I’m beginning to think so…
Spaghetti squash is also extremely filling. Just one medium-sized squash makes enough for two to three hefty servings. This was perfect for me since I’m feeling particularly lazy this weekend. I had enough squash for a large dinner and ample leftovers to take to work with me today.
Last night I ate the squash when it was still piping hot straight from the oven and topped it with some homemade marinara (recipe below):
Then, for lunch today, I prepared a nice cold version by adding a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, thinly-sliced fresh basil leaves, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper:
Both versions were insanely tasty.
And don’t forget: always save the seeds! One of the things I love most about preparing winter squash is roasting the seeds. It’s so simple: after scooping out the seeds, rinse them off, drain them, and pat them dry; then, coat the seeds with olive oil or coconut oil and a bit of sea salt; finally, bake the seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 275 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Then, devour. And I mean fast, because you’re not going to want to share
- 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash, sliced in half and seeds removed
- ~~For the marinara-topped version:
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- ½ sweet onion, minced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 6-8 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (I pureed half in the food processor until smooth and left the other half nice and chunky)
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- ~~For the lemon-basil version:
- 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
- ¼ cup basil leaves, sliced thin
- a few pinches of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- There are two ways to cook the squash: 1. coat the inside halves of the squash with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and lay the halves cut-side-up on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Or, 2. place the squash halves cut-side-down in a large baking dish and fill the bottom of the dish with ¼ inch of filtered water. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- You can test the squash by scraping the inside with a fork. If it easily shreds into strands, then it’s ready. Otherwise, place it back into the oven for 5-10 more minutes.
- When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool until it’s cool enough to handle.
- Scrape the insides of the squash with the tongs of a fork so that it shreds into strands. When done, discard the skin.
- Top with your toppings of choice:
- For the marinara version: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over Medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring often, for 5-10 minutes, or until translucent and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, dried basil, salt, and pepper to the pan, lower the heat a bit, and allow the sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. When ready, spoon on top of the squash noodles. (I made the sauce while the squash was baking).
- For the lemon-onion version: Pour all of the ingredients on top of the noodles and mix well to ensure that the noodles are evenly coated.
- Serve and enjoy!