Spaghetti squash is one of those fantastic natural phenomenons. Squash disguised as noodles? Nature never ceases to amaze me. Spaghetti squash is the only kind of squash my kids not only eat willingly, but actually like a lot. It has a relatively mild flavor and can easily assume any flavor – making it a super versatile choice and an easy winter vegetable to win your kids over. Not sure if your kids will eat this? You can try mixing some traditional spaghetti noodles with the squash. Adjust the ratios (spaghetti noodles to squash) over time – this is a transition-friendly strategy and a great way to introduce new foods to kids. It takes time to adjust anyone’s palette, including adults!
Why eat spaghetti squash? While containing almost 90% water content by weight, spaghetti squash does have trace amounts of all the essential vitamins and minerals, with significant concentrations of vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and potassium. Spaghetti squash’s high water content combined with it’s high fiber content also makes it a great choice for managing weight while still making you feel full! Nutrients, fiber and low in calories – yes, please!
The roasted cherry tomatoes in this recipe really rounds out this dish well. They serve as little balls of bursting sweet flavor, making eating this dish like a treasure hunting expedition. Oh man, are they good. They also offer a ton of nutrients and are considered a high-antioxidant food and a superior source of lycopene, a phytonutrient linked to improved immunity and the reduction of cancer risk (prostate cancer in particular). Tomatoes have also shown to lower risk of osteoporosis and macular degeneration. Tomatoes are a natural anti-inflammatory as they contain antioxidants zera-carotene, phytoene and phytofluene, which lower the risk of other prevalent aging-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline and arthritis. Lastly, they can be really considered anti-aging – they benefit the elasticity of skin and even help with skin sun damage!
Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil divided
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 7 sage leaves chopped
- 1/4 tsp red pepper chili flakes
- 1 5-oz package baby arugula
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 tsp coconut sugar
- sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Using a sharp chef's knife, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle 1 Tbsp avocado oil on top and season with a dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. If it's super hard to cut into your squash, bake the squash whole for around 15-20 minutes first to allow it to soften a little. Then try to cut into it (be careful - hot!). Roast for 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes clean up way easier). Put halved cherry tomatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil, coconut sugar and a dash of sea salt. Mix well. Spread tomatoes across sheet in one layer and roast for 45 minutes.
Heat a dry large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and toast until lightly browned, stirring the entire time. Set aside.
In the same large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, sage and red pepper chili flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add arugula and a healthy dash or two of sea salt. Cook until tender, approximately 3-5 minutes.
When spaghetti squash is finished cooking, scrape the insides with a fork to make "spaghetti". Scoop squash spaghetti into arugula mixture. Add roasted tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Mix well. Taste and adjust for seasoning.