So because I’ve convinced myself that I’m going to lose weight over the holiday season, rather than gain any (don’t you roll your eyes at me), I’ve been trying to find some healthy-ish versions of side dishes to serve at the Christmas dinner table so that I don’t gorge myself on stuffing and mashed potatoes. One that I found, that’s a bit more Mediterranean than what is typically found at American Christmas dinners, is spaghetti squash primavera. Typically “primavera” is italian, but add some feta cheese and ipso facto, it’s now Mediterranean.
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic.
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet or line the bottom of a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil (I prefer the latter method).
- On one half of the baking sheet, place 1 tablespoon of garlic, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasonings, and 1 bay leaf. Repeat on the other half of the baking sheet.
- Place one half of the spaghetti squash with the hollow side over one of the garlic mixtures, and repeat with the other half.
- Add an even amount of water to the baking sheet, just enough to come up to the sides of the squash. The amount of water differs, depending on the size of your baking sheet. I used about 2 cups.
- Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven. It’s very important that you don’t overcook the squash. You can test if it’s done by flipping it over and scraping the flesh with a fork. It should naturally separate into spaghetti-like strands. Taste it to make sure that it is the same consistency as al dente spaghetti. It might need 5-10 more minutes in the oven if it is still too tough.
- Once it is finished cooking, remove from heat and allow it to cool.
- While the squash is cooling, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and red pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until tomatoes are warm.
- Use a large spoon or fork to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and add it to the sauté pan with the vegetables. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, and salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Optionally: I added ¼ cup Parmesan cheese in addition to the feta, as well as 2 teaspoons of Italian seasonings right before I served it. I really like Parmesan cheese, this is a personal preference. You could also use a can of stewed tomatoes instead of fresh chopped tomatoes to make it more like spaghetti instead of like a primavera.
Basically, I think you can take spaghetti squash and add anything you normally would to spaghetti noodles. I think it tastes pretty much the same, only it’s healthier for you since you’re using all vegetables instead of pasta. My next venture will be to try and make a reduced calorie alfredo sauce or cheese sauce to make a “healthified” macaroni and cheese/spaghetti alfredo dish. Stay tuned!