Al Dente Spaghetti Squash

I have a confession to make ..

I have never been the biggest fan of spaghetti…and if I’m being really honest, I’m not much of a pasta fan altogether. 

I know. I know. Who am I?

As much as I wish I could say that this came from eating too much of it growing up (it was a house favorite), the real reason behind not loving spaghetti or pasta is that I have never liked the way I felt after eating it.

Overloaded, sleepy, heavy, sluggish, and mentally clouded..for a day or two after. Not the greatest feeling. 

However, I am and have always been a HUGE fan of sauces. Marinara, alfredo, pesto..you name it, I will drink it.. I mean eat it. 

So naturally, on spaghetti night, I always found myself loading my plate with far more marinara (preferably with meat) than with pasta.

Over the years, I have tried different gluten-free pasta options (chickpea, banza..ect), but even these left me feeling clouded and not at my most optimal. 

Being the veggie and sauce lover that I am, you can imagine how elated I was to learn that there was a vegetable that can substitute for spaghetti noodles!


Spaghetti Squash

A larger sized, yellow, oval-shaped squash that is in season in the fall and winter months. It has light colored flesh that pulls away in strands which resembles spaghetti noodles when cooked.

Spaghetti squash is part of the Cucurbitaceae family (also known as the winter squash family), along with pumpkins, acorn, and butternut squash.

Known for their mildly sweet flesh and hard shells, which enables them to have long storage periods (1 to 6 months)!


Health Benefits of Winter Squash

  • Excellent source of carotenes (the richer the yellow to red color, the richer the concentration.)
  • Good sources of: 
    • Vitamin C
    • Potassium
    • Vitamin B1
    • Dietary fiber
    • Vitamin B6
    • Niacin
    • Folic acid
    • Pantothenic acid

Like other carotene-rich vegetables, winter squash has been shown to have a protective effect against many cancers, particularly lung cancer. (1)

In addition to cancer and heart disease, diets rich in carotenes also appear to offer protection against developing type 2 diabetes, with pumpkin (the most carotene-rich out of the family) consumption being the most protective. (1)


Cutting Tip

The only difficult part of this entire recipe is cutting the squash. After trying a few different techniques, I have found that the best way to do this is to:

  1. Pierce the outside of the squash with a fork in several locations  (this allows steam to escape).
  2. Pop it into the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

This method softens the hard outside shell of the squash, which will make cutting into it A LOT easier. Make sure to use a good, sturdy, sharp knife!


There are a few different cutting and baking methods out there which I do intend to try, but for now, this is definitely my preferred method.

It yields fluffy strands and golden, caramelized edges that add extra flavor!

Whether you’re a pasta lover or veggie-a-holic, you are going to want to try this dish! Be sure to come back and let me know if you do! 

For all of my vegetarian or vegan friends out there, the ground turkey can easily be subbed for any of your favorite vegetables or plant-based substitutes!

I cannot wait to experiment more with this delicious veggie and come up with new ways to incorporate it into modified dishes!

Enjoy!

XO

Al Dante Spaghetti Squash
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

The perfect way to cook your Spaghetti Squash!

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, gluten-free, Italian
Keyword: gluten-free
Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 can Organic Marinara
  • 1/2 Onion chopped
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic Crushed
  • 1 Clove of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 TBP Coconut Oil (or oil of your choice)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees f

  2. Split your spaghetti squash in half-length wise-stem to end.

  3. Scoop out the seeds (Save them for roasting, if you'd like!)

  4. Rub the inside of each squash half with 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or oil of choice), adding more oil if necessary.

  5. Place the two sides of your squash -face up- in a deep baking dish filled with just enough water to cover the whole dish.

  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash.

  7. Place two crushed cloves of garlic in each of the open squashes (Omit step if you are not a huge garlic fan)

  8. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes (larger squashes may need a few minutes longer-check after 50 minutes. Smaller squashes will need a few minutes less, naturally)

    **The ends will have turn golden and the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork.

  9. While your squash is baking, lightly saute your onions and garlic in coconut oil.

  10. Once the onions are slightly translucent, add the ground turkey. Cook until brown.

  11. Add about 1/2 cup of marinara - more or less depending on your preferred amount of sauce.

  12. Once your squash is cooked through, pull them out, and scrape/ fluff them with your fork to form spaghetti-like strands.

  13. Add your turkey marinara, and voila!

  14. Top with your favorite spices, cheese, or nutritional yeast! 

 

References 

  1. Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The encyclopedia of healing foods (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: Atria Books

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