We never ate squash when I was growing up. Actually, for years as a child, I didn’t believe anyone ate squash. Don’t ask me why, but I’d somehow become convinced that those bizarrely shaped, lumpy looking things in the supermarket were purely decorative pieces for fall. At the time it made sense; they were always placed beside the pumpkins and flint corn and all of the families in Thanksgiving advertisements seemed to have cornucopias with squash abounding.
But then again, until I was about nine, I also believed the round hay bales under white covers we often drove past in Ohio farm fields were giant marshmallows. (Thanks for that, mom.)
Fortunately, as an adult, I was able to not only solve the great squash mystery of my childhood but also discovered they’re a delicious, versatile addition to any meal. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there is a squash for the job. In cooler months, I like squash in soups, but it’s great to incorporate year round. This is one of my go-to recipes for spaghetti squash. It’s incredibly simple, great on its own right out of the oven or as a base for other spaghetti squash recipes.
Easy Spaghetti Squash
- 1 Large spaghetti squash
- 6-8 Cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- 4 Tablespoons Earth Balance butter substitute
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cut your squash in half, deseed, and place on a baking sheet. Heat up your Earth Balance (or regular butter, if you live life on the edge and no one can tell you what to do) and brush a nice even coating over each of your squash halves. Sprinkle them evenly with salt, pepper and garlic (I like as much garlic on those bad boys as a person can stand, but feel free to use your own garlic-y discretion in your sprinkling). Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes.
When it comes out of the oven, it should be cooked through and lightly golden brown. Use a fork to shred the squash within its shell. If the squash is underbaked, it may be stiff or uncooperative in letting you shred up and disperse it evenly. Not to worry, just pop that sassy squash back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes until it drops the attitude and gets with the shredding program.
Sprinkle with a couple extra pinches of salt and pepper and mix it all up and you’re good to go! It’s great on its own as a side dish but also incorporated in other dishes. I will store it in the fridge and throw it into omelets, veggie casseroles, wraps, or just toss some tomato sauce onto it and enjoy a low-carb spaghetti night. Go crazy.
If you’re cooking for picky eaters, I’ve had fairly good luck there in the past when it comes to spaghetti squash. I’ve gotten some of the most anti-veggie carnivores in my family to chow down on this recipe (especially if you’re not shy with the butter). Mix in little cream, a generous helping of cheese and rebake it and you’ve got yourself cheesy veggie casserole that’s gotten me thumbs up in the past from kids I’ve nannied. And once when all else failed, I was able to pass it as a cheesy, “shredded potato” casserole with one set of especially tough little customers. (Hey. It might not have been the honest truth, but they ate it and I have no regrets).
Whatever your intents for dinner, be they honest or sprinkled in cheesy half-truths, it’s hard to go wrong when you go with a good squash.
All writing and images copyright © 2017 Rachel Elise Weems Woods