Okay, I’m gonna be honest, I had a horrible experience with spaghetti squash in high school. Back then I was all into spaghetti, pasta, and basically anything that was full of refined carbs – thank goodness I found real food! Anyhow, I’d read these fantastic things about this vegetable that tasted almost like regular noodles but had all the benefits of a vegetable. I was sold! I headed to my closest grocery store and picked up a package of already prepared squash “noodles.” I took it home and heated it up, anxious to give my new-found favorite food a taste. But I just about gagged when I took the first bite. The rest went into the trash, and I vowed to never eat this food again.
Flash forward to just a few weeks ago. I was shopping at Trader Joe’s with my youngest, who spotted the snack station. They happened to be serving – you guessed it – spaghetti squash topped with a little marinara. Somewhat hesitant, I still gave it another shot. And this time I was really sold. On the taste. It was so yummy! I started chatting with another customer who gave me some tips on cooking them, and the next thing I knew, I found myself heading to the bin with these oval-shaped goodies. And so I’m here today to tell you about what a great, versatile dish this can make. So whether you’re already a spaghetti squash lover or you’re feeling fearful, I’ve got a great recipe for you to try.
Spaghetti Squash Q&A
Before we get to the recipe, though, let me try to answer your questions:
Q. Does it taste like squash?
A. No. Not to me, at least. Honestly, whatever you top it with will determine the taste of it. I’ve seen recipes with pesto, the obvious marinara, simple butter and Parmesan cheese, and more. It seems that it takes on the taste of the toppings.
Q. Does it taste like regular pasta noodles?
A. Again – no. My opinion. The consistency is different. But different can be good, right?!
Q. Will my kids eat it?
A. You’ll never know until you try :). So give it a shot! I’m happy to report that mine do! In fact, they were a bit worried before trying it but I’m ecstatic to say that all four of them gave it “two thumbs up.” My 10 year-old said it made it into her top 5 favorite foods!
Q. I’ve seen it baked in the oven before. Do I need to do this?
A. There are a few different methods used to cook your spaghetti squash. This is one that works well for me; I find that microwaving it makes it a bit softer so that you can actually cut through it. Trying to slice through a hard squash is a slight bit dangerous, in my opinion, as it’s tough to get the knife through initially.
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So without further adieu – here is the recipe for you!
Spaghetti Squash + Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Add the onions and tomatoes to one pan, lightly drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Stick them in the oven for 30 minutes while you start to work on the squash.
- Wash the squash well, dry it, and then poke a few holes with a fork to allow air to escape. Place it in the microwave for 4 to 5 minutes on high heat. This will soften the skin enough so that you can easily slice a knife through it.
- After the squash cools for a few minutes, slice it in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds, and discard them. Place it skin side down on the other baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, check on the other veggies. Remove the onions when the edges are slightly blackened. Then put the tomatoes back in the oven along with the squash and cook them both for another 30 - 40 minutes. The edges of the squash will start to brown and the "noodles" should be easy to shred when ready. The tomatoes may need to go an extra 10 minutes or so. If they start to brown on the edges a bit; this is ok - it gives the sauce a wonderful flavor.
- Add roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano and salt to high-speed blender. Pulse two to three times, being careful to not over-blend and puree too much - some chunks in the sauce are good!
- Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, shred with a fork by scraping away from the skin. Plate the "noodles" and top with the sauce and Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve warm and enjoy!
Do you love spaghetti squash? Or have you had an experience similar to mine? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments, and also your topping ideas!