Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Spaghetti Squash Recipes: Your Healthy Substitute For Gluten Filled Pasta

The old gluten filled refined white flour sugar spike pasta of our past was the cause of many ills for my body. It's now great to have a few good alternatives to the much beloved Italian style dishes we formerly loved to eat. One of the healthiest is cooked spaghetti squash. Simple to prepare, the hardest part is slicing it open! The two recipes I am sharing today show how to use the spaghetti squash in very old school traditional ways with colorful mixed veggies that make you say "Yum!"

If you have not tried spaghetti squash please give it a shot. Like I said the most difficult part is slicing it open lengthwise. Get a good sharp knife and very carefully work your way around the hard shell to the interior. 

Once you open the little beast, scrape out the seed area in the middle. I like to use a grapefruit spoon for this task. Rub olive oil on the flesh and place the squash halves flesh down on a cookie sheet in the oven. You can cover your cookie sheet with parchment or aluminum foil... or not. Bake the spaghetti squash at 375 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes. 

Once halves are baked, carefully flip over the squash. They are hot! Flesh should be soft.

Scrape out the interior with a fork to loosen the spaghetti looking strands. 

You can scrape right down to the hard shell and get every bit of the squash out. 

If all you need that evening is half a squash for your meal, then wrap the other half with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. If you save the squash that you scrape out of the shell into a glass container, be aware that the next day it will be bit runny, as the liquid leeches out of the flesh. I found saving the leftover spaghetti squash flesh intact within the shell cuts down on that watery effect.

Top the spaghetti squash strands with any of the following: a traditional tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon & maple syrup, pesto, or a savory veggie/sauce mix!

I found that roasting chopped vegetables right along side the baking squash is a quick easy way to get a dinner ready with very little fuss. This plate gives you the traditional look of spaghetti without all the calories! Remember to flip your spiced mixed roasted veggies halfway through cooking so they are evenly done. Check out one of my posts about roasting root vegetables here.

Sprinkle the tomato sauce with some nutritional yeast, Italian spices, and hemp seeds. I used Eden brand crushed tomato sauce from a jar. That's the first way to prepare your simple spaghetti squash meal.

For the second squash main dish I heaped a bunch of fresh lightly water-sauteed veggies over the sauce-covered spaghetti squash for a vibrant and delicious dish. 

Use what is in season for your vegetable mixture. Such as mushrooms, onions, and garlic lightly sauteed in a bit of spring water for a minute or two.

Add some greens like Swiss chard or spinach till just wilted. 

I added thyme, oregano, marjoram, and basil to the Eden brand tomato sauce and layered it over the spaghetti squash. Then I covered the squash dish with my lightly water-sauteed mushroom, onion, chard vegetable mixture, tossing fresh cut tomato, and pumpkin seeds over all. What gorgeous color! 

This is a wonderful, satisfying meal that you can feel good about eating! After digesting this healthier type of spaghetti you will feel light, and not bloated like the old white flour pasta days!  If you have not done so as of yet, look into the delightful taste of spaghetti squash as one of your pasta alternatives.

A whole unopened spaghetti squash can be stored for as long as 6 months in 50-60 degree temperatures. Some folks prefer to cook their squash whole and uncut first because this softens the thick squash shell. After baking for an hour they then cut around the middle. This is an extremely hot way to handle and cut the squash to remove the strands of flesh. I would not be messing about with that method myself. If you decide to use this technique be sure to use a towel to hold the hot squash as you move it around to cut open. Spaghetti squash is sweet, and contains a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, B-6, vitamin C, calcium, and niacin. 

Hey! I was just looking at my photo below, and thought if you are single and no one is looking, maybe you can just put your toppings right in the squash shell boat, and avoid washing a bowl. Looks do-able! 

Enjoy your organic fresh and local veggies!

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