Craving a big ole bowl of spaghetti? Try this Spaghetti Squash Bowl instead! Fill up on antioxidants and fiber, instead of heavy carbohydrates that are higher in calories and lower in nutrients, with spaghetti squash and still get that savory Italian flavor you desire! This dish is so satisfying and versatile and is sure to be a family-favorite and please any pasta-lover!
This week's Meal Makeover: Healthy Spaghetti Squash Bowl
First things first - what is the best way to cook a spaghetti squash!? There are two ways that I recommend:
1. Bake in the oven - Great taste, longer-time - line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, rub olive oil over the flesh of the spaghetti squash halves, place both halves flesh side down onto baking sheet, and bake it in a 375°F oven until the outer shell is fork-tender. About 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
2. Cook in the microwave - Much shorter cooking time, yet still tastes good - fill deep microwave-safe dish with 1 inch of water, place 1 half of the spaghetti squash flesh down, and cook on high for 10 minutes (20 minutes if you are able to fit both halves in the dish / in your microwave) depending on the size of the squash, the dish, and your microwave.
Regardless of the method you choose, the easiest way to cut the spaghetti squash before you cook it is in the microwave! This softens the hard outer shell so you will be able to easily cut the squash in half lengthwise (without cutting off your fingers)!!
To do this: place the spaghetti squash into a deep microwave-safe dish. Then poke several holes into the top flat surface of the spaghetti squash. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, let cool, then cut in half lengthwise. Then carefully scoop out the seeds from each half of the spaghetti squash. Now you are ready to cook your spaghetti squash bowls! (see two methods above)
Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, it is time to make the "spaghetti"!! Let the squash cool and then use a fork to carefully remove the flesh from the shell (until it starts to separate into little "spaghetti" noodles), but be sure to keep the spaghetti squash noodles in the shell to make the "bowls."
Then fill your spaghetti squash bowls with your favorite Italian ingredients and enjoy your lightened-up, yet nutrient-packed spaghetti dinner!
Here is one of my favorite (and easiest) recipes for an Italian Spaghetti Squash Bowl!
Ingredients: (Makes 2 servings)
1. Cooked spaghetti squash bowls (two halves, as described above)
2. 1/2 lb extra lean ground turkey
3. 1/2 - 3/4 cup no salt added marinara sauce
4. 2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
5. Ground black pepper and garlic powder, to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 d F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil (can also use a deep baking dish, no need for aluminum foil). Place (already cooked and "forked") spaghetti squash halves flesh side up onto baking sheet or baking dish.
2. Cook ground turkey in large sauce pan until no pink is visible, season with black pepper and garlic powder if desired.
3. Turn off the burner and add marinara sauce, mix well.
4. Divide turkey and sauce mixture evenly among the two spaghetti squash halves, top each with 1 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, then bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes (until cheese is melted).
So simple and versatile! You can really use any lean protein your desire (lean ground beef, shredded chicken breast, black beans...) and add any vegetables you like (sautéed spinach / kale, chopped bell peppers, broccoli...) to add more nutrients, fiber, and flavor! Whatever ingredients you choose, I know it will be delicious!
Go ahead and have fun in the kitchen experimenting with spaghetti squash! Love your food again with simple swaps for better nutrients will all the flavor!
Have a wonderful week ahead!