Spaghetti Squash

Hi friends!  There are so many wonderful things I want to share with you!  First, Happy New Year!  Did you make any resolutions?  I made two. One: be open to the Universe and where it wants to take me (including OUT of my comfort zone) and two: spend more time with my family.  Thankfully for me, January is Sunday Supper Month so it will be easier to keep this resolution!  Sunday Suppers were something we always made a priority when our kids were growing up.  Everyone had to be home for Sunday dinner.  No questions.  No exceptions.  Now, with only one still at home, and technically none of them “kids” any longer,  family meals have a different importance.  The older two live in different cities and have their own lives.  Our daughter has her own family with a daughter and a baby boy due in Spring!  Sunday family dinners are rare, but I am hoping we’ll be able to get together at least once a month. There isn’t any better way for me to connect with the people I love, than to feed them!

 

So what’s the best way to connect AND stay healthy?  It is January after all, many people have made resolutions to eat better. Plus, let’s be honest, none of us are going to live forever, so being healthy is important!  Do me a favor, take a stroll through your local farmers market. Shopping at a farmers market guarantees your fruits and vegetables will always be fresh and in-season.  There’s no better way to eat healthy than shopping at a farmers market!  Plus, you can chat with the farmers who grow the produce you’re eating! Little hint, they have awesome recipes because they are cooking and eating what they grow too!

When I visited a local farmers market this weekend, this gorgeous spaghetti squash caught my eye! Spaghetti squash is not only delicious, it’s healthy, tasty and very versatile! Spaghetti squash gets its name because when it’s cooked, the inside flesh pulls out of the shell in long strands and looks just like spaghetti noodles. You can recognize spaghetti squash by its oval shape and pretty yellow color. With only 42 calories and 10 carbs in a one-cup serving, it’s a great alternative to high-calorie, high-carb traditional pasta.  Plus, it’s one of the few meatless meals I know my family will eat!

Spaghetti Squash Farmers Market

Photo Credit: Jamie Durante

I want to share two different cooking methods with you. Baking the squash in the oven and cooking it in the microwave. Whichever cooking method you prefer, you prepare the spaghetti squash the same way.  With a very sharp knife, cut off the bottom of the squash so it will stand flat and secure on your cutting board. Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Please be careful! Spaghetti squash can be tough to cut through. Don’t let it deter you, however. Its deliciousness will be worth it.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

To bake prepared squash in the oven:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush the inside of each half with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the outside of the squash with a fork.

Let cool 15 minutes.

With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti-like strands and prepare as desired.

Spaghetti Squash Oven

Spaghetti Squash Oven Roasted

To cook the prepared squash in the microwave:

Place squash cut side down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water.

Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the outside of the squash with a fork.

Cooking time will depend on the size of your squash and your individual microwave. If you have a smaller squash, check a little earlier (mine was done after 10 minutes). Consequently, if you are cooking a larger squash, it may take a bit longer.

Let cool 15 minutes, or until squash is cool enough to handle.

With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti-like strands and prepare as desired.

Spaghetti Squash Microwave

 

Pretty simple, right?  Now that it’s cooked though, what do you do with your spaghetti squash? Aside from digging in with a fork, and eating it over the kitchen sink, you have plenty of options! My favorite way to eat spaghetti squash is lightly tossed with olive oil, fresh basil, chopped tomatoes, shredded parmesan and a palmful of toasted pine nuts!  Yum!

Spaghetti Squash with Basil and Pine Nuts

It’s a healthy, meatless meal that I hope your family will love!

Spaghetti Squash With Basil and Pine Nuts

  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved, then roasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cherry (or grape) tomatoes, diced
  • 4 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Carefully slice off one end of spaghetti squash so it will stand up on a cutting board.

With a sharp knife, cut squash in half lengthwise.

Scrape out the seeds from inside the squash and discard them.

Lightly brush the inside of the squash with 1/2 tsp of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place squash cut side down on a small cooking sheet and roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the outside of the squash with a fork.

Allow squash to cool for 15 minutes before handling.

While the squash is cooling, place dry skillet over medium heat, and add pine nuts.

Toast nuts until the oils begin to release and they turn a golden brown color, shaking the pan occasionally so the nuts don’t stick or burn.

Remove nuts from the skillet and return the pan to the heat.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, and let it warm up.

As the oil is warming, with a fork shred the inside of the spaghetti squash into strands. It should come apart easily. The strands will resemble cooked spaghetti noodles.

Place squash strands into the skillet with the warm oil. Add diced tomatoes and basil, toss to combine.

Allow squash mixture to heat through, about 2-3 minutes.

Place squash on a plate and garnish with shredded parmesan and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.

Serve immediately.

So what are your resolutions this year?  Are you getting healthy?  Focusing on your career?  Making better choices?  I’d love to hear about them!

Until next time, remember life should always be delicious!

Spaghetti Squash

This Post Has 2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *