Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spaghetti Squash How-To

I love winter squashes. They, along with sweet potatoes and grapefruits, are one of the main reasons I look forward to winter produce. I've made spaghetti squash before, but I cooked it in a different manner. In fact, the last time I tried baking it, my old glass pan completely overheated and shattered in my oven. I decided the glass-garnished squash would do better in the trash and I hadn't bothered ever cooking another one.

 Yep. It looks about like that.

Until now.

I found an old recipe in Vegetarian Times for Spaghetti Squash with Orange Gremolata. It was a microwave recipe and more of a side dish. I wound up baking the squash in the oven (because that's just what feels right... also, my microwave takes four minutes to heat up a bowl of room temperature soup. Cooking a squash in there was just crazy talk!).

I tried using the gremolata as a marinade for some tofu to make this recipe more of a main dish, and I think it would work if tinkered with it. There just wasn't enough umph in there to make the tofu really stand out. However, I've been wanting some orange marmalade-marinated tofu for like six months now, so I'm sure I'll get to play with that idea again.

Here's some nutritional info on spaghetti squashes for those that are curious:
1 cup (cooked - baked or boiled) has 42 calories, 0 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

It is a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese. I'm not sure why I always capitalize my chemical elements and such...

How to pick out a squash:
1. It should be heavy for it's size.
2. It should be nice and orange. If it's green it's still unripe.
3. The bigger the squash the sweeter it will taste. I like to get a small one and use it in savory recipes.
4. You can store it uncut at room temperature for about a month.

Now preparing the squash is easy.
1. I wash the squash. You never know what's touched that thing
2. Cut the ends of the squash and then cut it in half lengthwise.
3. Use a large spoon to get out the stringy pulp and seeds. The seeds are edible.
4. Spray the cut sides with nonstick spray or rub with a little olive oil and bake cut-side-down at 400F for about an hour to an hour and a half. The baking time will depend on how large your squash is.
5. Once the squash is done, allow it to cool until your able to touch it, then use a fork to separate the halves into strands.

This is how I enjoyed my squash:

The squash is sea salted and tossed with a couple of tablespoons of roasted, chopped pistachios and served alongside some buttery steamed broccoli and some orange-y balsamic baked tofu (which I promise is not burnt! It's just the balsamic, lol). It was a very healthy and tasty meal!

I even ate the squash as a snack between meals. Can't beat 42 cals a serving! I think the next time I make this squash I'm actually going to serve it with a chunky tomato sauce like spaghetti. That would really be awesome. In fact, as I was eating this I found myself wishing it was covered with a sauce, lol. I just didn't have any!

The next squash I'm going to be cooking up is an acorn squash and that recipe will be Morroccan-Stuffed Acorn Squash. Tasty, tasty!


Vegan Mom said...

I have 2 squashes from the garden this fall that are begging me to use as I have put off using them as I wasn't sure how to cook them. Now I know what dinner will be tonight. Thanks for the easy recipe!

GreenCaller said...

Oh, my that looks delicious! Spaghetti squash is another of my favorite squashes. The seeds, in my opinion, are some of the BEST for roasting.

Speaking of squash, you might be interested in this unique-looking recipe I spotted on Wordpress:

I think it's actually vegan, too.

*Sigh* Seeing your delicious food photos is making me very hungry for it. We've been living on solid carbs for about two weeks now (with an occasional pizza tossed in here and there). Thanks to the nutritional yeast you recommended (which we both love, btw!), we're not starved for vitamins. Also, John's stomach hasn't bothered him in two weeks... hmmm... maybe its the heavy animal fat he has a hard time digesting?

Anyway, miss you lady! I sure wish we'd come home for the holidays. The weather's just about the only thing that's nice about AZ this time of year.


Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Thanks, Vegan Mom! Squashes are one of my favorite foods!

And Miss GreenCaller:
I'm glad you guys liked the nutritional yeast (nooch), that stuff is real good for you!

I also have one spare butternut squash and I think that soup looks great!!!! I will definitely have to make it next week and tell you how it was. Thanks for pointing it out to me!

I've been missing you a whole lot and I've got the travel bug like crazy! I can't wait to meet up with you guys and do a little traveling next year. I graduate in December! :)