This week’s Vegetable Box Feature: Spaghetti Squash… aka "Vegetable-Spaghetti"
Did you know?
- Spaghetti squash is best known for its unique flesh that separates into long, translucent strings that resemble angel hair pasta.
- It is a medium-sized winter squash with an oblong shape, a creamy yellowish skin, and a relatively mild, neutral flavor.
- It is actually classified as a fruit due to its seeds.
- First recorded in China in the early 1800s, it has become popular around the world.
- It contains vitamin A, folate, folic acid, beta-carotene, and potassium, and is also an excellent source of fiber.
- Its seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, protein, minerals, and health-benefiting vitamins.
How to Store It:
Keep it in a cool place with good ventilation. Whole squash can stay fresh for up to 3 months or longer when kept in a cool, dry storage area. Cut sections, however, should be used immediately or preserved inside the refrigerator in a container for 2-3 days.
How to Use It:
Wash the squash in cool water to rid of any surface dirt. It is generally cut in half lengthwise but follow your recipe for exact preparation.
A popular way to enjoy it. Cut it half lengthwise, discard the seeds and place the cut side down in an oven-safe baking pan. Drizzle some olive oil and cover the pan with ¼ inch water and bake or microwave on high until soft. When squash cooled, scrape out the inside with a fork uni-directionally towards you to get "noodle-like" strands.
All parts of the squash - fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds are edible.
Spaghetti squash is best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, steaming, and baking. The rind is very hard and tough, so the squash can be cooked whole or sliced in half for faster cooking. Once cooked, the flesh can be shredded with a fork to make the stringy noodles that the squash is known for. Cooked Spaghetti squash can also be used to make stir-fries and simple side dishes, or added to casseroles, gratins, and bakes. Used as a pasta substitute, it can be topped or tossed with red and cream-based sauces, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and herbs. Its flavor is so mild that it easily absorbs the flavors of that which it is prepared with.
Roasted squash seeds can be eaten as a nutritious snack.
How to Roast Spaghetti Squash in the Oven
Roasting a spaghetti squash is easy! Here’s how to cut and roast a spaghetti squash.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the spaghetti squash on a cutting board. Make sure you have a dish towel underneath the cutting board so it doesn’t move around while you’re cutting.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the squash lengthwise into two halves.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the stringy insides and the seeds. Technically you can roast and eat the seeds of a spaghetti squash just like you would with a pumpkin, but I’ve never tried!
- Drizzle less than a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the two halves and season with salt. It’s important not to over olive oil the squash because you don’t want the noodles to be soggy.
- Place spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and using your oven mitt, flip the squash over and let it rest on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. This will make it easier for you to get the noodles out.
- Once the squash has cooled use a fork to scoop out the noodles. Place your fork at the top of the squash and pull down to release long stringy noodles!
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
Created By: Once Upon A Pumpkin
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced red yellow and orange peppers (2-3 peppers)
3/4 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup shredded carrot
1 1/2 cup pea pods or snow peas
2 large eggs
For the peanut butter pad Thai sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBSP coconut aminos
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP creamy unsweetened peanut butter
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
squeeze of fresh lime juice
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut and scoop out the seeds of the spaghetti squash (see above in the blog post for my method for cutting a spaghetti squash). Season with olive oil and salt and bake cut side down for 20-25 minutes. Let cool.
- While the spaghetti squash is cooking prepare your veggies and make the pad Thai sauce.
- Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. Wash and chop the veggies and add to a sauté pan.
- Use a fork to scrape the “noodles” out of the spaghetti squash. Add the noodles to the sauté pan and begin to mix everything together over medium-low heat. Add the sauce and continue mixing together so that all of the veggies are covered. Sautee for 3-4 minutes. You want the veggies to be somewhat tender but not too mushy.
- Cook scrambled eggs in a separate pan, leaving them a little undercooked. Slice into pieces and add to the spaghetti squash mixture. Sauté for about one more minute until everything is combined.
- Remove from heat, add to a bowl or back into your spaghetti squash shell. Top with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, a wedge of lime and hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!
Skillet Chicken Parm Spaghetti Squash
A lightened-up, veggie-packed version of classic chicken Parmesan, all baked in a single skillet.
1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) cooked halved spaghetti squash
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 TBSP olive oil
1lb ground chicken
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (about 24-ounce) jar tomato-basil marinara sauce
Finely chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, scrape the strands from a cooked spaghetti squash out with a fork. Grate 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on the large holes of a box grater, and grate 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on the small holes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pound ground chicken, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking the chicken apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in 1 jar tomato-basil marinara sauce. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the spaghetti squash strands, 1/4 cup of the mozzarella, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine, then smooth out the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Bake until the cheeses are melted and the sauce is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Top with finely chopped fresh basil leaves if desired.
Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowls
Created by: Cookie and Kate
Roasted spaghetti squash topped with your favorite Mediterranean ingredients and pesto! This healthy vegetarian dinner recipe will make everyone happy.
Spaghetti squash and filling
2 spaghetti squash
2 TBSP + 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
1 red bell pepper, chopped
⅓ cup chopped red onion (about ½ small onion)
¼ cup thinly sliced Kalamata olives
2 TBSP chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
Sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese or grated Parmesan (optional), for garnish
¼ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP water
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. To prepare the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tip-top and very bottom ends of each spaghetti squash. Stand the squash upright on a stable surface and slice through it from top to bottom to divide it in half. Repeat with the other squash.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds and discard them. Drizzle each squash half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub it all over the inside and outside of the squash, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash, then place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork.
- Meanwhile, to prepare the chickpea salad, combine the chickpeas, bell pepper, onion, olives, chopped basil and/or parsley, garlic, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Stir to combine. Taste, and add more lemon juice and/or salt if necessary. Set aside.
- To prepare the pesto: In a small skillet, toast the pepitas over medium heat, stirring often, until they are fragrant and making little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Pour the pepitas into a food processor and let them cool for a few minutes. Then, add the basil, parsley, lemon juice, water and salt. Process while slowly drizzling in the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until the pepitas have broken down to create a pretty smooth sauce. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl for serving.
- To assemble, use a fork to fluff up the squash and make it easier to eat. Then divide the chickpea salad between the squash “bowls” and top each one with a generous drizzle of pesto. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped herbs and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well for about 3 days; if you plan to have leftovers, store the pesto separately and top the squash with it just before serving.