Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe
Baked spaghetti squash is all the rage now! At least, this is what I have come to glean with the vast numbers of the things showing up in grocery stores and recipes surfacing online for all manner and ways to cook a spaghetti squash. Up here in the northernmost belt of the Midwest there is a VERY high demand for these recipes…and for good reason! Mostly because we don’t know what the damn things are and have NEVER cooked them!
Growing up in Minnesota, our growing season isn’t all that long, and traditionally, much of our vegetables ended up being canned for use during the long, cold months. Now…what this means is that our vegetables are usually the simple staples that can be canned – like green beans, carrots, beets, etc. And that usually they are prepared boiled. Yes…that’s right…boiled to fine, tasteless, listless mush. Welcome to Minnesota! We know how to turn vegetables into a culinary disaster faster than anyone else in the world!
Saved From The Tundra
Thanks to immigration, global markets, advances in farming and food storage and preparation, none of the previously mentioned limiting factors are largely applicable today. Today we see things like spaghetti squash, kale, mangoes, kiwi fruit, parsnips, collard greens, okra…and all manner of delights from around the country and the globe. Note, however, that this doesn’t help us in knowing what to do with a spaghetti squash.
Lucky for you, I – along with about a ka-jillion other people on the internet, are here to help you and provide a tasty, simple, and nutritious recipe so that you can actually use that spaghetti squash sitting in your kitchen instead of just staring at it until it goes bad. Let’s get started!
Spaghetti Squash, qty. 1
Ground beef, 1 pound
Medium Onion, qty. 1
Mini sweet peppers, various colors, qty. 4-6
Mini cucumber, qty. 2
Garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon
Cheddar cheese, shredded, 2/3 cup
Cherry tomatoes, qty. 10
Scallions, one bunch.
Fresh ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise; removed seeds. Place cut sides up on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Take out and let stand for 10 minutes, and scrape the insides with a fork to pull the sinewy squash meat apart into strands.
3. While the squash is baking, prepare the vegetables:
a. Dice the onion fine.
b. Chop the sweet peppers into quarter-inch chunks.
c. Chop the mini cucumbers into similar quarter-inch chunks.
d. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half for a topping.
e. Cut the scallions into small slices for a topping.
4. Under medium high heat, start sautéing the ground beef. Ensure the ground beef is chopped up into small pieces and season with salt and pepper.
5. About halfway through the sauté process add the chopped vegetables and the garlic to the mix to give everything a good searing. When finished, reserve the mixture to the side.
6. Once the squash has cooked 50 minutes and been removed, turn the oven to 425 degrees.
7. Arrange the squash halved in a baking dish and ladle the mixture into both halves, filling them.
8. Top with 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese on each half.
9. Once it has reached 425, put the prepared squash in the oven for 20 minutes at most.
10. When ready, remove and sprinkle tomatoes and scallions for a topping or garnish. Serve and enjoy!
Notes & Options:
- You can, at the end of the bake cycle, turn the over to broil and cook until the cheese is golden brown on top. It may also crisp up the top layer of hamburger – but just a bit.
- As an additional topping, you can use salsa for a bit of zing!
- You will find that ground beef loses about 25% of its weight as you cook it down. You may not use the entire pound of ground beef for this mixture. If you start with a pound, you will end up with 12 ounces. That may be more than you want …adjust to your needs.
(For one half of the squash)
Spaghetti squash half :42 calories
6 ounces of sautéed hamburger (Calculate at 51 calories per ounce): 306 calories
Chopped vegetables, roughly one cup: 45 calories
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese : 150 calories
Total: 543 calories
A Note of Appreciation:
As I write these columns – whatever the topic may be – most often I am struck with a degree of appreciation for those that have put me in the position to have something to say. Whenever I write about cooking – and particularly vegetables, I invariable think of Lani Weaver, and of course all of Clan Weaver down in Florida.
When I started looking at my diet years and years ago – seeking to understand what I was putting in my body, Lani was instrumental in educating me. Not only was she able to give me a basic understanding of proper healthy nutrition – which I did not get in “meat & potato” land – but she also helped open a culinary world to me that featured vegetables of all types made in completely amazing and wonderful ways. I never had ANY idea that vegetables could be so damned delicious until she set me straight. She does that a lot, it seems!
It’s important to recognize that though I am a product of my environment, we can adapt and change. We can learn, grow and we can become more. Even if it as simple as understanding that vegetables don’t have to be a tasteless mush …they can crispy, tasty explosions of flavor. It took me a long time to process the knowledge Lani gave me, and ultimately it was years until I was ready to employ it for a comprehensive lifestyle change. However, when the time came, I had the tools I needed.
My Parting Shot:
I will leave you with a quote. I often relay this quote and attribute it to Jack Kerouac, but in truth he may not have said it all. No matter …let’s not let that get in the way of a good quote. My point is that as we travel the Unplowed Road, we don’t always have to do all the shoveling by ourselves. Sometimes we have help. Kerouac said “The Road isn’t made up of brick and pavement, it’s made up of the people we meet along the way.”
Be sure to check out my guide to healthy eating HERE.