Spaghetti squash…or an example of God’s sense of humor in the vegetable world.
Each time I prepare spaghetti squash, I get all giddy like a child, partly amused and partly in awe of how amazing this vegetable is. Not to mention – delicious!
So listen…if you’re going to compare it side-by-side, then no, it’s not pasta. BUT, if you’re trying to cut back a bit, lighten things up and want to try something different, spaghetti squash is a great substitute. Much like spaghetti noodles, you can top spaghetti squash with sauces, spices and meat and it gets the job done…with a lot less
WORD OF CAUTION: Like many other varieties of winter squash, cutting a spaghetti squash requires (1) a sharp knife, (2) some muscle, and (3) great care to ensure you still have ten fingers once the task is done. TETA LIZZA TIP: Start with a small-medium size squash that will be easier to manage.
Once again, I am using my beloved ingredient – ground turkey – to make this bolognese sauce. You’re just gonna have to deal with it people, this is me, a ground turkey over beef gal. But seriously, if it ever made more sense, it’s in this dish where you’re hoping to pack all the flavor while shaving off the extra calories. Which ultimately means you can throw caution to the wind when you top this with Parmesan c-h-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-s-e…yum!
Even if you’re all “calories shmalories, I’ll eat what I want” then spaghetti squash is still something you just gotta try. For starters, it’s totally fun. Get the kids involved (not in the cutting) and they’ll have a blast separating the strands with a fork into “noodles”. PS: Did I spell that right? Sh-mal-or-ies…?
What I really love about this dish is that I can prepare it in stages. I roasted the spaghetti squash on the weekend but didn’t pull the whole thing together until two nights later. You can just wrap the halves in aluminum foil until ready to use and reheat. Then ladle the turkey bolognese on top when ready to serve and finish with a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Truth be told, for such a hard-headed vegetable, it’s ridiculously easy to prepare and is so versatile. During the winter months when all the bright vegetables are out of season and cauliflower is $8 a head (no joke…for three weeks now!) checking out the winter vegetable garden at your grocery store is worth the time and bit of effort. Plus, it’s so sunshiny yellow…it can’t help but make you smile. 🙂
enjoy | liz | xo
- 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground turkey breast
- 2 cups tomato passata or puree
- red-pepper flakes (optional)
- coarse salt and ground pepper
- grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Preheat oven to 410F. Set to roast (if available).
- Use a large, sharpened knife to carefully slice off the ends of the squash to create a flat bottom. Then cut the the squash lengthwise, to create two halves. Scoop out the bit of seeds and discard. CAREFUL - do not remove too much of the fleshy goodness!
- Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil on each half, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place cut side down inside a baking dish. Poke the skin side (facing up) a few times with a fork to allow steam to escape while cooking. Place baking dish in oven and roast for 35-45 minutes until squash is tender and easily produces "spaghetti" strands when gently pulled with a fork.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for approx. 10 minutes before handling. When ready, turn halves cut side up. Pull your fork along the length of the flesh to create the "spaghetti". Transfer these to a serving dish or plate. Continue until all flesh has been removed from skin. Discard skin.
- In a large, nonstick skillet, add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Once heated, add onions and garlic and cook until tender, approx. 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking into small pieces during cooking using a wooden spoon, approx. 10-15 minutes.
- Add tomato passata/sauce, salt, pepper and red chili flakes (if desired). Bring mixture to a boil and then allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve meat mixture over spaghetti squash and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve warm!
If you try this recipe for yourself, I would love it if you left a comment below. You can also share your pictures with me on Instagram (@teta_lizza). Be sure to add the hashtag #teta_lizza so I don’t miss them!