Hey folks, if you are looking for some cooking ideas, come join me for a cooking demo at the CSA barn for Granby Open Farm Day Saturday, 9/9/17 at 1 pm. I will be highlighting spaghetti squash, kale, and our wonderful heirloom tomatoes.
I’ve been slow to come around to spaghetti squash. To be honest, I haven’t hesitated because it doesn’t taste good. I’ve dragged my feet because it is touted to be like spaghetti and, well, I guess I always preferred real spaghetti to the somewhat mushy strands that are meant to be it’s substitute (as a veggie sub option, I prefer zucchini noodles instead).
It wasn’t until I stopped trying to think of spaghetti squash as pasta that I really came around to this winter squash. It’s uses are far more versatile than simply tossing with marinara and cheese (although that option is not bad per se, especially for those advised to avoid pasta in their diet. Pasta has over 100 calories per serving and upwards of 30 grams of carbohydrates. Spaghetti squash has only 20 calories per serving, significantly less carbohydrates, and even some protein as well as vital micronutrients and vitamins).
Spaghetti squash is a winter squash variety named spaghetti squash, or noodle squash, because of its noodle like strands and its mild flavor, which is thought to echo the mild backdrop of pasta in pasta dishes. It is an oblong squash with a hard skin like other varieties of winter squash. It originated in China and gained popularity in the US after WWII.
Like other winter squash, spaghetti squash contains lots of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients like antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, C an B complex, as well as beta carotene and several essential minerals. It even contains a healthy ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids and boasts some fiber content. However, it is low in fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium.
As I mentioned, spaghetti squash can be eaten in many ways. According to Dr. Mercola, it can be eaten raw, but I’ve never tried it that way. It can also be cooked, shredded into strands and added to soups/stews or dressed up and served as a side dish or salad. Like other squash, it can be stuffed and twice baked. You can even make a paleo gluten free pizza crust out of it (click here for recipe), or eat it as a kind of porridge for breakfast! (see recipe below)
The easiest way I have found to prepare spaghetti squash for recipes is to roast or steam it in halves. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the ends off the squash. Cut the squash into halves lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and loose pulp. If you keep scraping hard, you will eventually start releasing the strands of the flesh, so just be careful to remove only the seeds and loose pulp for now.
To steam the squash halves, place them in a steamer insert set over boiling water and steam until a knife easily goes through both halves. To roast, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Place about a 1/2-inch of water in casserole dish and place squash halves cut side down in water. Cover tightly with foil. Bake about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a knife goes easily through the halves. Allow cooked squash to cool somewhat and then using a fork, scrape from the top of the squash to the bottom, loosening the strands, until you hit the outer skin. Place strands in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
The following recipe makes a delicious lunch or side dish. My husband loved it so much he ate almost the whole bowl by himself.
The following recipe is the first time I’ve ever tried winter squash for breakfast. I have to admit, it was absolutely delicious. It is a great way to add in some husk cherries and fresh picked raspberries to a meal. If you need even more protein in your breakfast, try stirring in some vanilla flavored protein powder.
– 3/4 cup cooked, shredded spaghetti squash strands
– 1/4 cup light or regular coconut milk
– 1/4 cup halved husk cherries
– 1/5 cup fresh raspberries, or more to taste
– 2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
– 1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, optional
Place squash, coconut milk, husk cherries and raspberries in a medium bowl. Stir gently. Heat in a microwave for about 1 to 1 min 15 seconds or until porridge is heated through. Pour into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle with maple syrup, if using. Serve immediately.
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