On these bitterly cold winter nights pasta always seems like the perfect dinner idea. It’s warm, steaming, slathered in rich tomato sauce, and it’s filling. What could be better? But maybe you find yourself feeling as I did recently, wanting - no craving - Spaghetti but not wanting all the carbs, calories, and gluten that comes with eating a big bowl of pasta. Well, I have just the thing. Spaghetti Squash! I know, it sounds crazy, but stick with me for a second. Spaghetti Squash is a great pasta substitute! Lets face it, noodles - especially the horrible for you white flour kind - have little to no taste anyway. When it comes to a good bowl of pasta it’s the sauce and the texture that make the dish good. It’s the toppings you drizzle over it that make it amazing. No one eats a bowl of noodles plain, nobody. Nobody that I know anyway. It’s all about the sauce, and with a good sauce a bowl of spaghetti squash not only tastes like pasta it looks like it too, and has a similar texture.
So, Spaghetti Squash makes a fantastic substitute and the best part about it is that it’s super low in both fat and calories. One cup of spaghetti squash only has 33 calories compared to 1 cup of spaghetti which has 221 calories. You could eat the entire squash if you wanted and you’d still only get about 165 calories! As for fat, an entire spaghetti squash only has 25 calories of fat, that’s pretty amazing! Now I am certainly not the first - or the only - person to jump on the idea of using squash as pasta. If you Google it I’m sure you can find dozens of recipes, and I’ve come across various ones in books and on blogs over the years but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to try it for myself. You see, I was always skeptical. I like squash, but spaghetti squash has never been my favorite and so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Even after all the rave reviews I’ve read of it I was still a skeptic. Then I saw spaghetti squash on sale, and since I’d been craving pasta I thought to myself “why not give it a try?” I mean really, what was the worst that could happen? I wouldn’t like it? No big deal. I’ve been trying to eat on the lighter side lately and so the idea of squash as pasta instead of bogging down my gut with a bunch of heavy noodles really appealed to me.
Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Quickie Marinara
2 Small-Medium Sized Spaghetti Squash
1 28oz Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1 6oz Can Tomato Paste + 6oz water
1 tsp Olive Oil
10 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 White Onion diced
1 C Diced Mushrooms (I used Cremini)
2 tsp Dried Basil
2 tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Garlic Powder (Optional if you like your Marinara a little extra garlicky)
½ tsp Sea Salt
Black Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil Minced to garnish
Fresh Parsley Minced to garnish
Nutritional Yeast to garnish (optional)
- Preheat Oven to 450'F
- Lightly spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and place the squash inside it. Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove the Squash from the oven and cut in half. Let stand on the counter for 5-10 minutes to cool.
- Remove the seeds from the squash and discard or save to roast. You can do this with a fork or by hand.
- Once all seeds are removed use a fork to scrape out all of the squash. Divide amongst two (or more) serving bowls and top with marinara, fresh herbs and nutritional yeast or Vegan Parm if desired.
- To make the Quickie Marinara blend the fire roasted tomatoes and the tomato paste in a blender till smooth and then set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium and add the onions. Saute until they begin to turn soft. Roughly 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the garlic is fragrant and the mushrooms are soft and they begin releasing their juice. Roughly 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the blended tomato mixture, the basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine then lower the heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add in the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
- When squash is ready, spoon the marinara over top and sprinkle over the fresh herbs and nutritional yeast.