Spaghetti squash can be a dieter’s best friend if you remember three things: 1) It doesn’t taste like pasta, 2) It doesn’t interact with sauce like pasta, and 3) It doesn’t taste like pasta. Okay, I know that’s actually two points, but the first bears repeating. Spaghetti squash tastes like–surprise!–squash, and if you sit down to a plate of it expecting to bite into a forkful of angel hair, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re expecting lightly sweet squashy flavor in fun-to-eat strands of gold, you’ll love spaghetti squash in general and this recipe in particular.
Besides tasting like squash, spaghetti squash has the texture of squash. Though its strands resemble thin noodles, it doesn’t have the starchiness of pasta so sauces don’t cling to it. That means that you don’t want to douse it with lots of sauce because the sauce tends to sink into a puddle underneath the “pasta.” Using just enough sauce to spread the herbs and seasonings through the golden strands is the key to working with spaghetti squash.
The lack of starchiness does have one huge benefit, which is why I mentioned the D-word above: On almost any diet plan, from Eat to Live to Weight Watchers to South Beach, spaghetti squash is considered a non-starchy or “free” vegetable. Many of us start the year off trying to adhere to specific diets, and this recipe is a light and healthy option that should fit easily into any of them.
I like the flavor of roasted spaghetti squash much better than steamed, but I was using an older squash that was so hard to cut that I was in danger of losing a finger if I kept trying. So rather than cut it in half to bake, I pierced it several times with a metal skewer and put it in the oven whole. It was much easier to cut after roasting, and it still had that smoky-sweet roasted flavor. If I had thought about it, I would have put a head of garlic in with it to roast, but I didn’t so I added fresh garlic later. If you’d like, trim the top off of a head of garlic, wrap it in foil, and bake it along with the squash, checking after 45 minutes to see if it’s softened but not burned. Squeeze out as many of the cloves as you like into the pan when you add the Brussels sprouts and mash them with a fork.
I have to also note that my daughter E, upon looking into the pan as I was finishing cooking, said, “Do I have to eat that?” Our rule is that yes, she has to eat at least a small serving of whatever I cook. (The poor kid is my involuntary recipe tester!) I was really surprised when she finished her small serving and her salad and went back for a little more of each. When questioned, she said that it was “actually pretty good.” Then she poured herself a bowl of Fruitful O’s and soymilk. Oh well, adolescents need their sugar and starch, I suppose.
Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Chickpeas
This makes about 5 large servings, but since it’s so light, count on people eating 1-2 servings if there’s not much else on the menu. The red pepper flakes make this dish slightly spicy, so reduce them if necessary.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 15 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- sliced almonds, optional
- Preheat oven to 400. Pierce a spaghetti squash 8-10 times with a skewer or thin knife (pierce deeply through flesh into center). Place on a baking sheet on center rack of oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then turn 1/4 turn. Bake another 30 minutes or until outside has browned in places and shell feels soft. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once it’s cool, cut it in half and remove and discard the seeds and scrape the strands of squash out with a fork. Put the squash into a bowl and set aside.
- While the squash is cooking, prepare the Brussels sprouts. Trim and discard the ends and cut the sprouts in half (quarter larger sprouts). Place on a baking sheet and spray quickly (2 seconds) with olive oil. (This prevents burning; if you don’t want to use the oil, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.) When the squash has almost finished cooking, put the sprouts into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove them when they are just beginning to be touched by brown but are not burning (they will finish cooking in the skillet in the next step).
- In a large, deep, non-stick skillet, cook the onions on medium-high heat until they become golden, about 5-6 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, garlic, and vegetable broth and cover tightly. Cook for 3-5 minutes, adding more broth or water if skillet becomes dry. Add the chickpeas, basil, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the spaghetti squash, and toss gently to mix. Cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with lemon juice. Serve topped with crushed or sliced almonds, if desired.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 5
Nutrition (per serving): 196 calories, 14 calories from fat, 1.7g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 348.2mg sodium, 742.8mg potassium, 40.7g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 7g sugar, 8.8g protein, 3.3 points (not equivalent to Weight Watchers’ PointsPlus).
Spaghetti Squash Take Over the Blogs:
- Tofu and Vegetable Cacciatore over Spaghetti Squash on this blog
- Spaghetti Squash Primavera on the Fatfree Vegan Recipes site
- Indian-Style Spaghetti Squash Curry on Chef In You
- Spaghetti Sqash Stuffed with Lentils at Tofu for Two
- Spaghetti Squash New Mexican with Black Beans and Lime from the Gluten-Free Goddess
- More Spaghetti Squash Recipes at VegBlogSearch