We are coming up on one of my favorite times of the year. Its gardening time! I am always excited planning what I am going to grow and mapping it out in my garden beds. There is nothing more satisfying then standing back looking at and gathering the fruits of your labor. I have raised garden beds that my husband built for me. I really like them because I can walk around them to weed and gather with ease. For added security from unwanted food poachers I had Vince add the pvc frames so that I can secure netting over the beds.
You can count on various types of squash to be present each year. I have always been a fan of all things squash. My favorites are Zucchini, Yellow Crooked Neck, and Spaghetti. These varieties are the easiest to grow and I typically end up giving them away by the bag full.
In addition to squash, I plant three different types of tomatoes, various assortments of peppers, onions, herbs, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce and green beans. I keep asking my husband to add more beds but he is being stingy with the real estate. (LOL) I’m convinced that I love living on a farm and having a huge garden.
Spaghetti squash is the star of today’s post. Here’s A little history on the origins of this very popular variety:
Spaghetti squash was first discovered in China and was a popular vegetable in the countryside of northern Manchuria, China in the 1920’s. The flesh was commonly collected from the squashes in this fashion and then hung up and left to dry out in the sunshine. The dried squash provided a nutritious food source that would last during the cold winter months.
Spaghetti Squash is native to Central America and was introduced to the rest of the world via explorers and trade routes by land and sea. Spaghetti squash was first recorded in Manchuria, China in 1850, and while the exact origins of how the squash arrived in China is unknown, it was a well-known food source for villages and was first introduced to Japan in 1921 by the Aichi Prefectural Agricultural Research Station.
In 1934, the Sakata Seed Company in Japan developed an improved variety and was the first to market the Spaghetti squash under the name Somen Nankin commercially. W. Atlee Burpee and Co. then brought the squash to North America in 1936 and sold seeds in their catalog under the name Vegetable spaghetti. The squash was not immediately popular, and it took several years to gain in notoriety, especially during World War II when it was used as a substitute for pasta at a time when processed foods were harder to obtain. Today Spaghetti squash is widely available at farmers markets, grocers, and through online seed catalogs in North America, Central America, South Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
I remember when I was first introduced to this beauty. I poked holes in the outside and popped it in the oven wondering how on earth I could possibly get strings of what looks like spaghetti from it.
To my surprise, inside the spaghetti squash there were loads of strands of squash that look like spaghetti noodles! Because of this resemblance, it can be easily substituted for noodles — for about a quarter of the calories. Although the mild flavor of spaghetti squash will not replace pasta’s taste, it pairs wonderfully with sauces you would normally put over pasta.
What to look for when choosing the best squash:
Select squashes that have firm outer shells — no soft spots — and are heavy for their size. The most common spaghetti squashes are pale yellow to creamy white, but there are also orange and patterned ones too. There is no taste difference between the colors, but the more orange-colored ones contain more beta carotene.
When preparing your squash:
To roast, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds like you would with any winter squash. You can quarter these halves if you like. Add them to the bottom of a large casserole dish or baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with a little olive oil, and bake at 375° approximately 1 hour or until flesh is tender.
Spaghetti squash can be boiled, microwaved, or my favorite method, roasted. You can get fancy when preparing this vegetable (the USDA counts it as a vegetable, though technically it’s a fruit) or simply drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. For an added flavor boost, try topping with a bit of fresh garlic and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. If your going to go all out, you can add homemade sauce, meat and cheese, which is what I did for this weeks recipe.
This easy recipe is a quick no fuss meal that is satisfying and nutritious. I topped the squash with my homemade sauce. What I love about my marinara sauce is that I used tomato’s that I can myself. I will typically set aside a couple days in the summer and can a couple bushels worth of tomatoes. They taste amazing! If you have never had them, you should try them. You won’t be disappointed. They push your Italian food flavors to another level.
Low-carb and low-calorie Italian comfort food is hard to find. Not so with this spin on a traditional Italian pasta dish. With this recipe, you can get your pasta fix by substituting spaghetti squash, which has a look and texture like spaghetti’s. By shredding the cooked squash with a fork, you create thin pasta like strands. It is mostly flavorless, like pasta. And it’s a great way to add a couple servings of vegetables to your meal. Additionally, if you omit the optional meat, it fits into the vegan, and vegetarian categories as well.
Do not overcook your squash, or you will have wet mush.
Don’t throw the seeds out with the skin! You can incorporate them in this baked spaghetti squash recipe. Lightly seasoned and toasted, they add a delicious crunch topping. But the goodness doesn’t stop at your taste buds. Squash seeds also pack nutrients into this dish because they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.
Keepin it Fresh!
Spaghetti Squash and Marinara with Beef
- May 1, 2019
- 1 hr
- 438 Cals/Serving
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- Marinara Sauce
- 28 oz Crushed Tomatoes (canned)
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 3 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 cup Onion (finely diced)
- 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- 1/4 cup fresh Basil (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Meat Option
- 1 lb Grass-Fed Ground Beef
- 1 large Onion(finely)
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Red Chili Flakes(optional)
- 1 Tbsp Dried Basil
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Spaghetti Squash
- 1/2 stick Butter (grass Fed)
- 1-2 cloves Garlic (diced)
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley (chopped finely)
- 1/2 cup fresh Basil (chopped)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Step 1
- In a heavy sauce pan combine marinara ingredients and let simmer for 30 mins
- Step 2
- Preheat oven to 325˚. In shallow baking dish, add 1/2-inch water. Poke holes in squash and place in dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When done, let cool and cut in half
- Step 3
- While squash is cooking, brown ground beef adding onion powder, garlic powder, diced onion, turmeric powder, paprika, red chili flakes, basil and salt and pepper. Set aside
- Step 4
- With a fork, remove strands from squash and put in large bowl
- Step 5
- In small food processor or blender, combine butter, garlic, parsley, basil, salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Process until well blended
- Step 6
- Toss spaghetti squash in butter and herb mixture, top with marinara and voilà!
- Step 7
- Top with more crushed red pepper and fresh basil or parsley and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
- Step 8
- (OPTIONAL) When squash is done, remove seeds from squash. Place on baking sheet. Lightly spray with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until toasted. (Note: if you hear the seeds popping, remove them from oven.) you can add them to your final dish for added vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.