Fancy a bit of pasta but donâ€™t fancy the â€˜bleurghâ€™ feeling that sometimes comes from eating pasta?
Well, let me introduce you to spaghetti squash. This underrated vegetable is just the thing to reach for when the lure of refined wheat is too much. A credible sub for the white stuff, spaghetti squash â€“ also called vegetable squash and noodle squash â€“ looks like any ordinary squash, all hard and heavy, but when baked, boiled or microwaved transforms into delicate, delectable strands.
Although available year-round, spaghetti squash is at its peak early autumn through winter, and larger, deep yellow ones are best â€“ white ones arenâ€™t usually ripe enough to bother with. Nutritionally it is perhaps no great shakes as it is too high in water to be vitamin-rich, but as a sub for spaghetti it is top-class.
To compare: 1 cup of cooked squash is 42 calories, while spaghetti is 221. The pasta will be enriched with B-vitamins, but you get a lot more filling fibre with the squash, as well as a savings of 33 carb grams per serving. Try this recipe, or pair it with your favourite homemade marinara recipe, and enjoy â€˜pastaâ€™ without the bloat.
- 1 large yellow spaghetti squash, scrubbed but not cut (although depending on appetite, you may want to only use half once it is cooked)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200g/7 oz raw, prepared prawns
- 12 cherry/grape tomatoes (or more)
- 50g/1.75 oz semi-dried tomatoes (sometimes called â€˜mi-cuitâ€™)*
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 50ml/3.5 tbsp white wine OR vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp chopped oregano or thyme leaves
- 2 handsful rocket/arugula
- Aleppo pepper flakes, optional
- Chilli flakes, optional
Spaghetti Squash Preparation Options: I like to bake my squash whole, and for this I poke it a few times with a knife and then bake it for one hour at 190C/375F. If you want to microwave it, poke it (so it doesnâ€™t explode) then cook on â€˜highâ€™ for 10-12 minutes, or until a knife slips in easily. For boiling, (least preferred option) boil for Â½ an hour.
Once cooked, cut the squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds (it will be scaldingly hot) then use a fork to gently tease the strands away from the thin skin. Pile the strands into a colander and get on with the rest of the dish. (If you donâ€™t want to use all of the squash, save some for lunch, matched with chopped veg, some mozzarella and thick Balsamic vinegar.)
Heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat and add in the prawns. Stir fry the prawns and cherry tomatoes, allowing the prawns to lose some of their grey colour before adding the semi-dried tomatoes and garlic.
Stir fry these ingredients for one minute before adding the wine. Let everything bubble up before adding the oregano or thyme, rocket, Aleppo pepper and finally the spaghetti squash strands. Serve immediately, with chilli flakes for those who want them. Serves 2