Fun with Spaghetti Squash

September 20, 2010

Last week’s CSA pickup included the first spaghetti squash of the season. Yeah! I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve done the spaghetti-squash-as-pasta trick once before and it was delicious. That time I made a dish with ingredients that looked something like:

spaghetti squash
olive oil
mini portabella mushrooms
basil
garlic
homemade vegan parmesan
salt and pepper

It was sooo good, but I can’t have mushrooms anymore. (Explanation of my weirdo diet forthcoming. Promise!) I decided to go back to the “classic” spaghetti ideal that I ate nearly every week as a kid. It was delicious as ever. I know this is nothing “new”, but it was new to me and I know there’s at least one reader out there who needs a little push to try this.

Classic Spaghetti-less Spaghetti

1 spaghetti squash (there’s a lot inside there; you don’t need a very large one)
1 lb. ground meat
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced or pressed
1/2 c peppers, diced (I always have a bag of frozen peppers on hand)
italian seasoning, to taste
1 can tomatoes (diced is ideal, but all I had was stewed so I used that and chopped them up in the pan)
~ 3 T tomato paste
~ 1/2 can tomato sauce
salt, pepper, and vegan parmesan

Quickie Instructions: Roast squash at 375 for about 50 minutes. Brown ground meat (I used turkey) with onion. When the meat is starting to brown, add garlic, peppers, and seasoning. Cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Add tomatoes, paste, and sauce, adjusting amounts to your taste. Lower heat and allow to simmer while the squash cooks.

After allowing squash to cool slightly, split and scoop out seeds. Using a fork, scrape the rest of the meat from the squash. Place in a colander with a bit of salt and allow to drain. Toss with olive oil before topping with sauce, salt, pepper, and parmesan to taste. Note: Leftover squash does NOT freeze well. Store in refrigerator and eat within a few days.

Detailed Instructions: Place the whole squash in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 375 for about 50 minutes. It’s done when you can easily pierce with a knife.

While the squash is roasting, make the sauce. Brown ground meat (I used turkey) with onion. When the meat is starting to brown, add garlic, peppers, and seasoning.

sauce building

Cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Add tomatoes, paste, and sauce, adjusting amounts to your taste. Lower heat and allow to simmer while your squash cooks.

sauce is ready

When the squash is done, let it cool for a few minutes so it’s easier to handle.

squash roasted

Like my crazy vintage plate? I have a couple of these in the mix and they’re very handy at times.

Cut squash down the middle. It should be easy since it’s cooked, right? There’s nothing scarier than trying to split an uncooked squash.

split squash

This one was a bit overdone, so there was some browning around the edges and it was more difficult to work with.

Scoop out the seeds and goop to feed your compost pile.

cleaned squash

Using a fork, scrape out the rest of the squash until you’re left with empty shells. You will use every bit of it.

ravaged squash

Now you have a plate full of spaghetti! It’s hard to tell from this pic, but the squash is piled up pretty high. I eat a LOT and this plate of squash yielded two large and two small servings for me.

squash bounty

See all the liquid there on the bottom? You don’t want that. When you make yours, do what I forgot to do — place in a colander with a bit of salt and allow to drain. Then toss with olive oil before topping with sauce, salt, pepper, and parmesan to taste.

I know the authentic way is to mix everything together, but that’s just not how I was raised! 🙂

dinnertime

My yummy sgetti was accompanied by two slices of garlic toast made with Basic Coconut Flour Bread from Kim @ Affairs of Living. (It’s surprisingly versatile.)

Since this recipe included meat, I feel I need to step back into serious mode for a sec for a word about animal protein. Philosophically and emotionally (and in many cases, texturally) I’m opposed to eating meat. I’ve been semi-vegetarian since my late teens.

When I initially stopped meat it was mostly because I didn’t like the taste and texture. As I’ve become more educated (Food, Inc. anyone?) more reasons to not eat meat have arrived. But here’s the thing — my body wants meat.

According to one nutrition plan my Naturopath gave me, my diet should include a lot of meat. A random food plan wasn’t enough to convince me though. What did convince me was listening to my body. After I’d started eating in a way to heal, I found myself craving meat. It’s ridiculous and weird to me to feel this way. But it is what it is.

I still have no interest in gnawing down on a giant steak, but man….. some days. Some days I just really want a big juicy burger. So, I do the best I can to satisfy my philosophical/emotional needs. I buy “happy” meat from Whole Foods or the farmer’s market and prepare it thoughtfully, gratefully enjoying each bite.

Anyway, enough of that. Go get some spaghetti squash everyone!

And don’t forget to drain it! ((sigh))

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