I can actually hear my parents gasping as they read this statement: “I am smitten with spaghetti squash. Hook, line and sinker.” They would have bet good money on the fact that I would never make any such statements about squash of any kind. That has nothing to do with any behavior that I may or may not have exhibited when presented with squash as a child. I was a perfect angel. (Ahem)
It was the Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, Feta & Basil White Beans that first captivated me. Here was a squash that wasn’t mushy, had a fairly neutral flavor and absorbed the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish. It’s known to be a great substitute for spaghetti when you dollop a ladleful or marinara sauce on top, but I like it even more when paired with apples and pecans, when tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette and when mixed with roasted tomatoes.
My family likes chicken enchiladas as much as the next Mexican food-loving family, but I wanted to come up with another meatless dinner idea that was still full of protein and fiber. This recipe does the trick! There are 13.3 grams of fiber (whoa!) and 14.4 grams of lean protein per serving.
I cooked the spaghetti squash first in the microwave, which only takes 15 minutes. If you’re partial to roasting it in the oven, by all means do that. You can cook the squash earlier in the day and scoop out all of the strands to use later. This will make dinner prep easy-breezy.
Just before serving, sauté some onions, garlic and red bell peppers, then mix them with black beans, corn and enchilada sauce before scooping the mixture back into the shells of the squash. A couple of minutes under the broiler will make the cheese all melty and golden brown.
This recipe can easily be made vegan (use vegan cheese) or gluten-free (use gluten-free enchilada sauce, such as Hatch). I went the easy route and used a canned enchilada sauce, but making your own enchilada sauce is pretty darn easy. Try this recipe or this one.
A Helping of Healthy
There are more reasons to eat spaghetti squash besides its taste and texture. It’s a great choice when you’re looking for an easy way to replace more calorie-laden foods.
- One cup of spaghetti squash contains only 42 calories and 0.5 grams of fat. Pile it on to your plate!
- It’s a good source of Vitamins A, B6 and C, which are all powerful antioxidants.
- It’s a great source of potassium, which is good news for people with high blood pressure.
- If you’re following a low-carb diet, spaghetti squash may become one of your best friends. It has only 10 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving.
Other healthy spaghetti squash recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash with Feta Cheese & Roasted Peppers
Cookin’ Canuck’s Spaghetti Squash with Apples & Toasted Pecans
Oh My Veggies’ Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Kale Pesto
The Perfect Pantry’s Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Marinara Sauce & Chickpeas
Healthy Seasonal Recipes’ Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Rosemary Sauce
- 2 small (2 lb. each) spaghetti squash
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 (14 oz.) can black beans (drained & rinsed)
- 1 c frozen corn kernels, defrosted
- 1¾ c enchilada sauce
- ½ tsp salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp ground pepper, or to taste
- ⅔ c grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 3 tbsp minced cilantro
- Using a large, sharp knife, pierce a spaghetti squash in several places.Place the spaghetti squash in a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave on high for about 15 minutes, turning the squash halfway through cooking.
- Before handling, let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers.
- Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature. Save the shells of the squash for stuffing later.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the spaghetti squash strands, black beans, corn and enchilada sauce, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Scoop the spaghetti squash mixture into the spaghetti squash shells and top with the Monterey Jack cheese.
- Place the stuffed spaghetti squash onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.