I promise you with all my heart, soul and being that I do not avoid eating pasta. I love pasta. This recipe is not my attempt at giving you a “low carb” version of spaghetti. I don’t believe in that. What it is, however, is me introducing you to a gateway drug. Spaghetti squash. This is a fascinating vegetable that is just becoming available this time of year.
Packed with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory effects, winter squash is considered an excellent source for cancer prevention and circulatory health. It also happens to have a delicious, subtly sweet flavor. Winter squash comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but my personal favorite these days is the spaghetti squash. It is so called because after you cook it, you run the tines of a fork through it and watch as it magically separates into little spaghetti-like strands. It’s a beautiful thing.
Spaghetti squash has a nice mild flavor, so you can absolutely use it the way you would use pasta, once you’ve roasted it. Toss it with olive oil and parmesan for a simple side dish. Throw it into a stir fry. Or do my favorite thing of all – top it with marinara sauce and mozzarella. This time I also added sliced cooked chicken breast to the mix, but you could certainly keep it vegetarian and call it a day.
Spaghetti Squash Marinara (serves 2)
- one small to medium sized spaghetti squash
- 2 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, using a sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard or save for another use.
2. Drizzle each half of the squash (the inside part) with a teaspoon of olive oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side down on the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork (but not mushy). Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
3. While the squash is roasting, warm up your marinara (and add the chicken slices to the sauce if using).
4. When the squash is just cool enough to handle (or wear oven mitts if you like), take a fork and run the tines down the insides of the squash. The flesh should scoop out in strands quite easily. Get as much of it as you can without actually including any of the rind. Divide between serving dishes and top with the chicken, sauce, and 1/4 cup of the cheese on each serving. Serve hot.