Spaghetti squash: the ultimate “gluten free pasta”

If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting spaghetti squash before, you’re in for a fabulous surprise! When cooked, its flesh separates into long, yellow, spaghetti-like strands, making it the perfect alternative to pasta. High in nutritional value and low in calories, this variety of winter squash is a great choice when it comes to healthy eating. 

While it doesn’t taste exactly like pasta on its own, I like to think of spaghetti squash as a perfect carrier of flavors. With the addition of a great sauce and a few tweaks here and there, you’ll be surprised at its delicate taste.

Whether you’re following a gluten-free way of life, or you just want to try something a little different, I highly recommend that you give this recipe a try! You’ll almost believe that it’s pasta.IMG_3975

Spaghetti squash with sautéed vegetables, parmesan and basil

Dinner for two (or 4 appetiser portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half, seeds removed (I find it easiest to cut off both ends of the squash, stand it up on one end and cut through, as pictured above)
  • 2 tomatoes, skin removed and chopped (to remove skin: cut an “X” on the top of the tomatoes, immerse in hot water for a minute, carefully remove from hot water and peel)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 200 grams brown or white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium zuccini or 3 small marrow, thinly sliced lengthwise (I use a mandoline or vegetable peeler to get the slices ultra thin)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock, or water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves

* I use approximately ¾ of the flesh from a 3 pound spaghetti squash for this recipe. I use the remaining ¼ flesh to throw into an omelette, or I toss it with olive oil and salt as a side dish the next day.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).

Coat the inside flesh of your squash with a bit of olive oil. Place squash, cut side down, on a baking tray.IMG_3993

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the squash can easily be pierced with a fork from the peel right down to the flesh.

Let the squash cool a little before handling. Using a fork, separate the flesh into long, noodle like strands. Season with a pinch of sea salt and set aside.IMG_3992.JPGIMG_3811.JPG

In a large pan over medium heat, sauté garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until fragrant (about 30 seconds to one minute – garlic burns easily, do this quickly). Add your peeled and chopped tomatoes, with the chopped spring onion, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. While the sauce is simmering, prepare your mushrooms and zuccini.

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In another pan, sauté mushrooms in a bit of olive oil over medium until lightly browned. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, remove from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan as you used for the mushrooms, cook the zuccini over medium heat and let them “wilt” (you might need a bit more olive oil if the pan is dry). Season with a bit of salt and set aside with the mushrooms.

Add your squash, and chicken stock (or water) to the tomato sauce and heat through. Add the mushrooms, zuccini, and a generous amount of parmesan cheese and toss. Remove from heat. There should be a bit of liquid at the bottom of the pan. Taste, and season again with salt, if necessary.

Divide squash among bowls (along with any remaining liquid), top with parmesan cheese, torn basil leaves and a nice grinding of black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Copyright © 2016 Lidija’s Kitchen, including personal images taken by the author.

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