Spaghetti Squash with Pesto East meets West in this exploration of spaghetti squash and recipes featuring cilantro. There is an alternative to pasta that is not only gluten free and vegan friendly, it contains more fiber than most pasta products. Spaghetti squash is easy to...

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto
Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

East meets West in this exploration of spaghetti squash and recipes featuring cilantro. There is an alternative to pasta that is not only gluten free and vegan friendly, it contains more fiber than most pasta products.

Spaghetti squash is easy to prepare and has the same structure and similar mouth-feel to the traditional noodle for which it is named. As the weather turns hot, spaghetti squash is a light but filling alternative that can be served in a multitude of ways.

First, you need to learn the basics of preparing squash. Second, a couple of serving options (which can be served with or without meat) will spark your creativity.

How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash

As general rule of thumb for picking a spaghetti squash, you will need approximately a half pound per person - if you are serving the squash as the main dish - and half that for a side dish. There will be some "shrinkage" in the preparation, so the weights do not directly translate into the amount consumed.

Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash

Directions 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Once you are ready to cook your squash, wash it, cut it in half length-wise, and remove the seeds.
  3. Fill a shallow baking dish with an inch of water. Make sure the dish is large enough to place the squash halves in face down.
  4. It will take about 35-40 minutes for the squash to bake. You can test to see if the squash is done by inserting a sharp knife that should go in and out easily when done baking.
  5. Let the squash cool 10-15 minutes before getting the strands. To get the strands out, simply take a fork and scrape the sides of each piece into a bowl.

Note: If you end up with more squash than you need for your meal, the remainder can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Also: You can grill the squash on an outdoor gas grill when the weather is hot. The added step is to put foil over the side of the grill that you are going to bake the squash on. Use indirect heat only.

Serving Suggestions:

The following two suggestions include Western and Eastern flavors.

A favorite option is a quick and easy, Cilantro Lime Pesto that can also be combined with various seafood additions such as shrimp or salmon.

Cilantro Lime Pesto
Cilantro Lime Pesto

West: Cilantro Lime Pesto Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (plus more for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cilantro Lime Pesto Preparation:

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are combined but still chunky.

Mix with squash (and any meat should you choose) and serve.

A second serving option moves the focus from the Western Hemisphere to the Eastern Hemisphere. Once again, this recipe can be eaten as a vegan dish or a protein such as shrimp, chicken, or even lamb works well added into it.

East: Carrot, Cilantro Curry Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 pound medium carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Carrot, Cilantro Curry Preparation

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic and curry. Sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in broth and preserves. Add the carrots. Cover and simmer until carrots are crisp-tender and coated with sauce, for about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in cilantro.

Spaghetti Squash,  Cilantro, and a Trip around the World 

With these two serving suggestions, you can easily make two dinners in roughly an hour. They will store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks for future meals if not used immediately.

Don't let these suggestions limit your creativity. You can find more recipe options by clicking to contact us.