Squash may seem new and scary to some of you. It was to me, that’s for sure! I didn’t grow up eating squash, so it’s not something I was familiar with. Or knew how to prepare, pair it with other flavors, or even how to pick it out when shopping. So I entered blindly into the world of squash.
And what I saw was amazing. Different squashes in different colors, shapes, sizes, textures, preparations, and flavors! The things I’ve been missing out on! But no longer. This year’s October Unprocessed has pushed me to try these new things, and I have yet to be let down. Spaghetti squash is one of those – it’s versatile, easy to cook, and makes an excellent gluten free, low carb alternative to traditional spaghetti pasta.
I do love pasta, though, so to quench my recent craving for my mom’s old school baked spaghetti, I switched it up and used a spaghetti squash! You can too. And then you don’t have to feel guilty about a huge plate of “pasta” with a side of garlic bread 🙂
Warning: the preparation of this takes a bit of time, but it’s worth it! There’s very little effort involved, so just be prepared to visit the kitchen for a few minutes every now and then.
Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish
- 1 spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, finely diced with seeds removed (optional)
- 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 jar your favorite unprocessed tomato sauce
- Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, to sprinkle on top (optional)
Bake the squash:
Preheat oven to 375. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Wash the squash, and use a large knife to (carefully!) slice the squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the guts and seeds and discard, much like you would when carving a jack-o-lantern. Rub a little olive oil on the cut sides of the squash halves, and place cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet, side by side. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board, flipping the squash over. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.
Use a fork and knife to scrape away the now-cooked spaghetti insides. Shred all of it and transfer to a glass baking dish that’s big enough for the squash AND the sauce, which you will have prepared in the meantime.
Cook the sauce:
While the squash is baking in the oven, prepare your sauce.
First dice all the veggies.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and peppers for 5-7 minutes.
Add in the entire jar of tomato sauce. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low, allowing to simmer until the squash is done baking in the oven. When you take the squash out, turn off the heat on the sauce.
Assemble the baked spaghetti:
Pour enough sauce into the glass dish to just coat the squash. You may have leftover sauce – just pour it back into its jar and save for another use (pizza sauce, anyone?).
Use a fork to stir the sauce into the squash. Sprinkle with cheese of your choice, if using. Bake uncovered at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven, allow to cool in the dish for a few minutes, and serve!
Make this suit YOUR tastes: leave out the spicy peppers if that’s not your thing; add in other veggies such as mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, etc. Do with this how you please!
Question: what food item or ingredient are you afraid to try? Don’t be shy! Maybe I share that fear!