Happy Halloween! Any tiny monsters coming to your door tonight?
Halloween also means it is squash season and if you are looking for new ways to get the nutritious fall vegetable in your diet look no further! There are an abundance of squash varieties and many ways to cook them. Roasted, mashed, diced, in soups, stews etc. I am partial to acorn, spaghetti and the hard to find delicata squash.
Here's a little something about spaghetti squash. This vegetable is a great source of the antioxidants, vitamin A and C, and also B vitamins. It is easy to make, and acts just like spaghetti if cooked properly, hence the name! This squash has been daunting to me in the past and after one failed attempt (in the wrong season), I wrote it off until now. If you lean toward pastas for dinner, this is a great alternative and a good way to add more veggies to your diet and eat less carbs. The key is to make it when it is in season. This will ensure it cooks well and tastes great.
As for sauce, I tend to make everything homemade lately, since it almost always turns out better, especially spaghetti sauce. Marinara sauce is quick and easy to make and can be used in many dishes, even on top of chicken or eggs. I still need a recipe to ensure a delicious dish so this one is from Buddy Valastro (a little TLC for you!) and Rachael Ray. Note: Skip this dish if you suffer from inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, vegetables that can worsen the joint inflammation.
Top it off with homemade meatballs or veggie balls to create a festive dish for this Hallows-Eve!
Spaghetti Squash and Homemade Marinara Sauce
1 medium sized spaghetti squash
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 large garlic clove
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 sprig fresh basil plus 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, torn into small pieces
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the squash and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour, or until tender. You don't want to cook it too long that it is on the mushy side.
While the squash is roasting, heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering, almost smoking.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes, salt and basil sprig.
Keep cooking and stirring until the sauce comes to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and richly flavoured, around 15-20 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning with more salt, if necessary, and stir in the basil leaves.
Once cooked, remove the squash from the oven, turn cut side up and shred the squash into spaghetti-like strands with a fork; season with salt and pepper.
Top with marinara sauce and voila! An easy weekday meal!
In health and happiness,