Thursday, February 4, 2010

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Olive Oil "Pasta"

The Spaghetti Squash, poor thing, is probably one of the most under-appreciated vegetable out there.  Most people have seen it in the grocery stores, but so many are unsure of exactly what to do with it.  It is actually an incredibly easy vegetable to prepare and can be treated in the same way you would use spaghetti noodles. The squash is super healthy, chock full of vitamins, low in calories, carbs and completely fat free. What a wonderful alternative to pasta when you are trying to keep an eye on your carb intake. Although I love it so much I eat it just because it tastes great, not necessarily for the health benefits- those are just an added bonus! One very common way to serve it is to simply prepare squash and top with spaghetti sauce. It is quite good like this, but my most favorite is with lots of garlic, cheese and a little extra virgin olive oil. Yum!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Olive Oil "Pasta" 
1 large Spaghetti Squash (about 5 lbs), cut in half lengthwise with the seeds scooped out
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons, pimentos (chopped bell peppers would work nicely too)
1 medium onion, chopped 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I prefer baby portabella's, but use whatever you have in on hand)
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced. (this is a great time to use up left over chicken!)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
chili flakes, to taste
course salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
a good sprinkling of fresh basil and flat leaf parsley, chopped

Place squash cut side down on baking dish in a 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes until squash is soft and the strands start to separate when gently scrapped with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough for you to handle it, about 15 minutes.  Scrape the squash gently with a fork.  It should come apart easily and will resemble spaghetti noodles.

While squash is baking, sprinkle your chicken with salt and paper and saute in one tablespoon of olive oil. Slice and set aside. In a large skillet add the remaining olive oil and saute your mushrooms*, once browned add your onions and sprinkle with a touch of salt.  This will prevent your onions from burning.  (If you are using bell peppers in place of pimentos add them along with your onions to the pan.)  Add garlic and saute until fragrant and just starting to color, about 3 minutes.  Add in your squash, pimentos, chicken, chili flakes, salt and pepper.  Toss with tongs to coat thoroughly and cook until heated through, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in your parmesan cheese, one handful at a time while tossing squash to evenly coat. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve immediately.

*Cooking Tip: Always saute your mushrooms first and do not crowd the pan.  This will give a wonderful browned, nuttiness to your mushrooms.  Also do not salt until browned!  It will draw out too much moisture and prevent the mushrooms from browning properly.  This is why you always saute them first, then add your onions and salt. Play around with this recipe!  Add whatever veggies are in season and look great at the market.  I love this dish with chopped, fresh tomatoes and sauteed zucchini rounds. The options are endless!


  1. I have always wanted to make this. I wonder if Brian will like it? Preparing food for a picky Hubby is a toughie. Looks scrumptious though and obviously very healthy.

    Tera Pepper

  2. I read a little tip that if you mix a little bit of wheat pasta in with the squash it will get you more used to the texture and "trick" you into believing you are eating pasta, not just squash. I never tried this because I love it as is, but I am sure it would be yummy! Tera, maybe try it out as a side dish first and see how it goes instead of throwing a huge bowl of it at him first thing. You could still do the recipe the same, but maybe serve the chicken on the side. Be sure to let me know how it goes!!



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