I’ve been in a bit of a plant-based recipe slump lately as I’ve been very busy and defaulting to my go-to recipes rather than experimenting. But when a bit of social media chatter about the joys of spaghetti squash corresponded with a Trader Joe’s run that put me smag dab in front of a big stack of the yellow vegetables with a crazy low advertised price of $2.50 each, it happened. I bought my first spaghetti squash.
Arguably, the spaghetti squash has nearly as much hype in Autumn as pumpkin spice lattes among young 20-something girls. It is a low-carb, low-calorie swap for spaghetti, an indulgence many 20 somethings don’t put on their grocery list while on a diet (unlike runners). Although I personally think the resembles to spaghetti stops at the stringy appearance, I found that this vegetable (or is it a fruit?!) is delicious and less intimidating to cook than anticipated.
Although spaghetti squash recipes typically mimic an Italian pasta dish, my maiden voyage into the new world of spaghetti squash began with Whole Food’s Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans. And it was a success because Mike was literally scarfing it down and proclaiming his love for spaghetti squash within just a few bites.
I modified the Whole Foods recipe a bit to come up with this (I found that my squash made more than 4 cups of filling so I increased the portions of the other ingredients a bit and added quite a bit more lime juice):
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño chili, seeded, minced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
- 3/4 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/3 cup cilantro, minced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Roast squash (whole and un-cut) in a 375°F oven for 50 minutes until tender. When cool (or just not scalding), scrape out seeds and the super soft center out with a fork and discard. Then, scoop the sides of the squash in a downward motion with the fork and it will come apart into spaghetti-like ribbons. If desired, leave the shell in tact for stuffing (I never “stuffed” my squash to serve it but probably would if I were cooking for someone besides my voracious husband).
For the filling, heat oil in a large pan and sauté red onion, jalapeño chili and red pepper for 2 minutes. Add beans, corn and chili powder; sauté 1 minute longer. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt, cook 1 minute until heated through.
Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center and serve!
Although this recipe takes a long time to prepare due to the roasting of the squash, the actual cooking time is very minimal – 15 minutes including chopping I’d estimate. I served it with brussels sprouts and it made a complete meal!
Have you ever made spaghetti squash? What do you like to mix it with?