I have something to confess. Until making this dish, I’d never had spaghetti squash before. I know what you’re thinking, “For shame Jessica!” I know it’s pathetic, but hear me out. I didn’t grow up eating them, they were always purely decorative. At Halloween and Thanksgiving my aunts would place them on tables as centerpieces or on their porches with their pumpkins, no one ever ate them. Aside from pumpkin pie, no one ever did anything with members of the squash family. I was finally convinced of their tasty value when I started reading blogs and stumbled across dozens of amazing looking recipes.
My other excuse is that Neil up until now has never been very open to or a big fan of squash. He’s also not a fan of zucchini unless it’s baked into something, like bread or cake, which I was always happy to endulge him with.
What I’m getting to is that, in all my newbness and excitement to try spaghetti squash for the first time, I went a little caddywompus with the directions, and sort of well, threw everything in a pan and just started cooking. Didn’t bother to think about staggering for optimal cooking times until about 3 minutes in. Never entered my mind (blame grad school). Luckily it turned out great and tasted beautiful, but I should have thought and done it the right way.
1 medium spaghetti squash
For the filling:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup peperoncini, sliced
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup asparagus, rinsed and sliced
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 small eggplant, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
All of the reserved cooked squash, about 4 cups
1/3 cup cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
To prepare squash: Roast squash in a 375°F oven for 50 minutes until tender. (Note: you can also cut squash in half, cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in a bowl with 1/2-inch of water and microwave for 20 minutes on high or until tender). When cool, scoop flesh from squash halves leaving the shell for stuffing.
To make filling: Heat oil in a large pan and sauté red onion, jalapeño chili, peperoncini, eggplant and red pepper for 2 minutes. Add beans, corn and chili powder, sweet paprika and white pepper; sauté 1 minute longer. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt, cook 1 minute until heated through. Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center.
The best part of eating so many vegetables is that our meals are so brilliant and colorful.
Serving food in a edible bowl is a great way to perk up your weeknight dinners. The squash not only performs like a noodle, but when heated up, it gets almost stringy like cheese. It was fabulous. Definitely another “why have you waited so long” ingredient. Best yet, Neil LOVED it, so you can be sure it will be on the menu quite a bit this fall!
Do you have a fun or creative way to use spaghetti squash? We’d love to hear your ideas!