Spectacular Spaghetti Squash!
Your family will love this healthy "faux" pasta topped with flavorful, fresh tomato sauce
When I was teaching high school Family and Consumer Science cooking classes, my students prepared seven recipes at the conclusion of our vegetable unit. This spaghetti squash recipe was one of them.
The word “squash” seems to turn people off. I’d wager that when many people see squash on a menu, their knee-jerk response is “Ewww.” My students were no different. After I assigned the vegetable lab recipes, I could always count on the “Squash Group” to protest their way through the planning and preparation stages of the lab: “Why do we have to make this?” and “Mrs. Alm, squash is disgusting!”
I just smiled and cruised through the kitchens, trying my best to encourage the students while ignoring the worst of the complaints. When all of the dishes were plated for sampling, I stood by to observe. After my first year in the lab, I knew what was coming next. “Oh wow. This is really good!” Yep. They loved it! This spaghetti squash dish, topped with a fresh, homemade chunky tomato sauce is delicious!
Plus, if you’re looking for a sneaky way to get your kids to eat vegetables, spaghetti squash is a good one to try. Here’s why: Kids usually like pasta. Spaghetti squash, albeit a bit crunchier and sweeter than regular pasta, mimics angel hair pasta.
This meatless dish is also a filling option for the diet conscious. Four ounces of spaghetti squash contains only 37 calories! You can make this recipe even "lighter" by omitting the butter.
When I left the classroom over three years ago, I made sure that I took a copy of this recipe with me. I look forward to preparing it every fall.
Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes
1 spaghetti squash
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small sweet green or red pepper, chopped
1-2 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend or a mixture of dried basil and oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup grated parmesan
- Halve the squash. Scoop out the seeds. Prepare and cook squash using microwave or oven (see notes below)
- Cook onion, pepper, and garlic in oil in a skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Remove squash strands with two forks. Place in a serving dish or a pot (if you need to keep warm while the sauce simmers).
- Toss squash with butter and cheese.
- Spoon tomato mixture over the top and enjoy!
Notes: The quickest way to prepare spaghetti squash is in the microwave. First, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Place the halves in a microwave dish and add 1/4 cup water. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and cook the squash about 10 minutes on high. Depending on your microwave and the size of the squash, the exact time will vary. Test for doneness with a fork.
You can also prepare the squash in the oven. Place the squash halves cut side up in a baking dish. Add approximately 1 inch of water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until fork-tender.