Spaghetti Squash: super healthy, vegan, gluten-free and paleo (Whatever THAT means. Juuuust kidding, one of my good friends is Paleo, and as a vegetarian, that gives me license to make fun). It basically has negative calories (31 calories per cup, versus 221 calories per one cup of cooked spaghetti), tons of vitamins A, C and B6, the minerals manganese, copper and potassium, just to name a few. Which basically means – you can eat a ton of it and not feel guilty at all. 😛 (Although, being half Italian myself, I never really feel guilty for eating pasta. Just sayin’.)
It’s very mild in flavor, and slightly sweet, which makes it a great vehicle for any flavor you’re in the mood for. It’s super easy, wallet friendly (serves four for $1.50 per serving!), good for you, and friggin’ delicious. What more can you want in an easy, fall meal?
How to Choose Your Spaghetti Squash
Choose a squash that is firm (no squishy spots!), heavy for its size, and that has hard, tough skin with no cuts, punctures, sunken spots or mold (aka, make sure it looks better than the one I’m holding above. Mine tasted just fine, but it looked like it had a rough day. A bright yellow and smooth skin is the most desirable). A tender rind (aka the outside shell) indicates immaturity, which is not really what you’re going for in spaghetti squash, and other types of winter squash (and life in general).
Store your squash at room temperature in a cool, dry place for a month or more. If you cut it in half, save the other half by wrapping it tightly in plastic and refrigerating (think supermarket watermelon).
How to Roast Your Spaghetti Squash
Step 1: Cut length-wise and de-seed (Tip: roast seeds for a snack!)
Step 2: Roast face down at 375°F for 45 minutes.
Step 3: Cool squash for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Use fork to loosen strands from edges, “tease” with a fork and pull away from the rind.
Step 5: Transfer to a bowl or serving dish.
Step 6: Enjoy. 😀
There are endless amounts of ways you can top this off. Last night, I topped mine with some leftover tomato sauce, vegan sausage, Romano cheese and red pepper flakes. Here are some other fun options, all recipes below using 1/2 of a medium spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 cups):
Italian style: Marinara sauce (1/2 cup), Vegan (or real) Mozzarella cheese (1/4 cup, like Daiya mozzarella) & veggie sausage (or sautéed meatless crumbles, like Morning Star Farms brand, or veggie meatballs)
Pad Thai style: Peanut butter (1 Tbsp), Juice from 1 lime, Sautéed carrots (1/2 cup), Sautéed green peppers (1/2 cup), Chopped cilantro (2 Tbsp), Best Baked Tofu Ever (1/4 – 1/2 cup)
Mexican style: Black beans (1/2 cup), diced tomatoes (1/2 cup), Greek yogurt (4 Tbsp), Spicy salsa or jalapeño slices (2 Tbsp), a few avocado slices (Or any of your fave burrito/taco toppings! You can also stuff this into a taco or burrito in place of rice.)
Mediterranean style: Feta cheese (2 Tbsp), 10 halved kalamata olives, A drizzle of olive oil, Juice from half a lemon, and a sprinkle of Greek seasoning (you can find this with the herbs and spices). You can even add a Tbsp of hummus and mix that in as well – sooooo good!
Mac n’ cheeze: Sharp cheddar cheese (or Daiya vegan cheddar, 1/4 cup), Parmesan cheese (or vegan cheese, 1/4 cup), 1 cup chopped broccoli (or your fave veggies)
Spicy Paisan: Kale or escarole, cooked (1 cup), white kidney beans (1/2 cup), Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup), Red pepper flakes (2 tsp, or more, if you’re like me and love spice!)
Breakfast for Dinner: Sprinkle brown sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup with a little soy butter and eat for breakfast. You can top it off with egg, if you’d like. Or use in place of oats for overnight oats and top off with fruit/berries, almond butter, and seeds.
As you can see, the options are literally endless. I hope you find one that you really love! I know I’ve been having fun experimenting. Enjoy, and have a great Tuesday!