I never thought I’d see the day when a vegetable could pass for an acceptable pasta substitute. I was skeptical of the many spaghetti squash recipes I saw on cooking shows, but after finally experimenting with one per my New Years’ Resolution to eat fewer carbs, I was shocked—it’s pretty darn close to spaghetti! In my carb-favoring opinion, the “spaghetti” has a surprisingly firm texture and a subtly sweet and nutty flavor that I don’t mind at all. Plus, one squash yields a TON of “spaghetti,” and at only 30 calories per 1 cup serving, there is zero-guilt in devouring the whole plate.
Spaghetti Squash Marinara With Grape Tomato Bruschetta
Time: 60 minutes
What You’ll Need:
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Your favorite prepared tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)
- Italian bread, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 cup of grape tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (plus more for roasting)
- Salt and pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
What to Do:
- Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is preheating, prepare your spaghetti squash. Your goal is to cut the squash into two even halves, which is easier said than done, but hang in there! Poke a few small holes in the skin all the way around the squash lengthwise, and then, using a very sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife, run the knife along the dotted line you just made to cut it in half. Be aware: Spaghetti squash has a very tough skin, and you need some strength to cut through it. So just be patient and very careful by wiggling the knife. If you need help, try microwaving the squash for about 5 minutes to soften the skin, but wait a few minutes for it to cool before you handle it. (Here’s a great video to see how to safely cut your squash.)
- Once you’ve split the squash in half, use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds and guts in the center.
- Line a large baking sheet with foil, or spray with nonstick spray. Drizzle olive oil on the flesh and be sure to evenly spread it around (it’s best to use a soft-bristle brush!). Sprinkle salt and pepper. Place the oiled squash halves face-down on the baking sheet. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.
- While your squash is roasting, prepare the bruschetta. Quarter the tomatoes and toss into a serving bowl. Add the vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and a dash of salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Brush olive oil on your bread slices and toast until golden brown and crispy. Top the slices with a teaspoon or so of the tomato mixture.
- When the squash has finished roasting, remove it from the oven and let is rest for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Using a large fork, scrape the flesh lengthwise (top to bottom). Noodle-like strands should easily form. Set the noodles aside on a cutting board or plate.
- In a large skillet, heat your tomato sauce over medium heat. If using a jarred sauce, feel free to doctor it up by first sautéing 1-2 fresh garlic cloves and a small onion or shallot in a splash of olive oil before adding the sauce. For a spicy kick, add a teaspoon of crushed red garlic. (Now you can say your sauce is “semi-homemade”.)
- Important: The noodles usually retain some moisture from roasting. If you don’t want your a watery mess on your plate, place a few paper towels over the pile of noodles and squeeze out the liquid over the sink. You may need to do this a few times to fully dry them.
- Once the noodles are dry, feel free to add them to sauce and stir to combine until warmed through. Or, simply add a dollop of sauce to the top before serving.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy while hot!
- I’ve found in making bruschetta that it’s best to make it early and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge or at room temperature before serving. That time allows the bruschetta flavors to develop and be more cohesive.