Good Monday to you all! Today I’m featuring one of my favorite gourds, the spaghetti squash. Named for it’s pasta-like flesh, this squash is incredibly easy to cook and has a really mild flavor that can be dressed up in a multitude of ways. I have made faux-pasta before with some tomato and pesto, sauteed it with zucchini and mushrooms, and so on. The recipe today is sort of a Spanish-y flavor, with plenty of paprika and sundried tomato flakes. It’s simple, but you know. Simplicity can be good, especially on a side dish.
Before I get to the recipe, a bit on spaghetti squash. It is really low calorie with only 42 cal per 1 cup serving, making it a stellar substitute if you are on a low carb or gluten free diet. The taste is less…squashy and smoother than the more common summer squash, with a much more substantial body and texture. Nutritionally, it has plenty of potassium, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, and beta carotene. The best part is how easy spaghetti squash is to prepare. You can bake it, like I did here; boil it; or put it in the microwave! The squash strands are easily extracted with a fork, and they literally just fall apart like pasta strands.
One important tip, and this goes for any large fruit or vegetable that you have to cut open with a knife: WASH THE FOOD FIRST! Think about it. Someone’s been out in the fields harvesting these crops. There aren’t really bathrooms available. No one really washes them thoroughly before you get them into your home, generally. Do the math. This is why people get sick from melons. When you put your knife on the outside to cut it open, it just drags any bacteria from the skin into the interior of the fruit. Yuck.
So here we go:
Spicy Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half & seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 or 2 tsp paprika
2 Tbs sundried tomato flakes OR 2 sundried tomatoes, minced
1 Tbs minced fresh oregano (I didn’t have any today but this would be a great addition)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Spread a thin layer of olive oil on each side of the halved squash. Sprinkle with salt, and then place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. When it’s done, you should be able to easily scrape a fork down the sides and remove the flesh. Put the flesh in a bowl or just scrape it onto the pan. Discard the squash hull.
In a large saute pan, warm some olive oil. Saute the minced garlic for a minute, then add the squash. Sprinkle the paprika, salt, tomato, and oregano over the squash and saute for approximately 5 minutes. Taste it to make sure your seasonings are to your liking, and then serve or let cool and store it for later.