Healthy Eating: Spaghetti Squash a la Mode

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It has recently come to our attention that spaghetti squash is seriously underrated. Though many pass by this amazing food while in their local grocer's store, here are a few noteworthy facts about spaghetti squash that might compel you to take a second look: they are gluten-free, low in carbs, high in fiber and rich with antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, and B-12. They has a relatively mild flavor so it is a great vehicle for flavor--much like your traditional wheat-and-egg pasta--and the texture almost trumps that of an al dente angelhair pasta. They are grown locally and come in organic varieties. The finished product freezes and reheats well and is super easy to dress up. Now that you know why, we'll show you how....

For a meal for TWO, you will need ONE spaghetti squash--you will have leftovers!

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F  

2.) Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise - be careful! They are very dense, take your time and use caution!

2.) Deseed much as you would a pumpkin, with a sharp spoon. Extra points for saving the seeds and baking them! They are great as a snack or as a topper for a salad!

3.) Drizzle two tablespoons on top of sqash and season as you wish--we recommend 1 teaspoon sea salt, one teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, one minced garlic clove and a half teaspoon of rosemary, but any other herb that is typically used in Italian dishes will do (oregano, thyme, chives, sage etc.) 

4.) Place in aluminum foil-lined dish and cover with foil. Bake at 400°F for 90 minutes.

5.) Remove and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Then use a fork to make your spaghetti.

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So what now? The possibilities are endless, but here are some suggestions, all of them serve two.

Classic Marinara

This simple sauce is vegan and oh-so delicious. Add some cheese and/or a protien if you like...

Ingredients

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
1 tsp EVOO
1 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 Tbsp sea salt

Directions

Use your hands to break up the whole tomatoes in a bowl.

In a medium sized saucepan, heat the EVOO under a medium-high heat. Add onions and sautee for two minutes, or until onions are getting just a little translucent. Add garlic. Continue to sautee for five more minutes. Add salt, pepper and rosemary. Reduce heat to low and add tomatoes. Simmer over low  heat for 30 minutes and serve!

Mediterranian Salmon with Spaghetti Squash

This recipe is a hand-me-down from a dear friend. You can cook the salmon while your squash cooks; it is light, healthy and perfect for summer!

Ingredients

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
Two 4oz portions of salmon
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1/3 cup capers
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. spread one tablespoon EVOO on a small, foil-lined cookie sheet. Place salmon skin-side-down on foil. Drizzle one tablespoon on top of the salmon fillets and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper. Pop that salmon in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Pull it out and use a metal spatula to remove from the skin as shown in the video below.   

In the meantime, heat the EVOO in a large sautee pan over medium-high. Add minced garlic and sautee for one minute. Add olives and capers and continue to sautee for two more minutes. Add salt and pepper, mix well and reduce heat to low. Add 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash and sautee on low for one minute until ingredients are evenly distributed. Is your salmon done yet? It should be! Serve it on top of the spaghetti squash mixture and garnish with the diced tomato and feta crumbles. 

Simple Walnut Pesto

This vegetarian option is simple and delicious, but can be spiced up by adding sauteed shrimp, bacon crumbles or goat cheese crumbles. You will need a food processor to get the pesto to the correct consistency, but this sauce is great for all types of dishes, and its no-cook method makes it ideal for hot summer days.

Ingredients

2 Cups cooked spaghetti squash
2 cups basil leaves with stems removed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp freshly cracked pepper
4 Tbsp EVOO
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup walnuts

Directions

Put basil in food processor with minced garlic, salt and pepper; drizzle EVOO on top of the ingredients. Blend on low for 2 minutes. Add parmesan and blend on high for 1 minute. Add walnuts and pulse briefly so that walnuts are mixed throughout and broken up--you don't want them to get too small, they add a wonderful texture. Voila! Your pesto is done. You may mix it with cold, cooked spaghetti squash to make a cold "not-pasta salad" (feel free to add raw veggies like asparagus, tomatoes and onion) OR you can sautee the pesto and the squash over medium heat for 7 minutes (this is where you could add bacon bits, cooked shrimp or goat cheese) and serve.