Once I started learning about nutrition I realized that the traditional pasta dinner with a side of garlic bread was more than a tad lopsided on the (most often, refined) carbohydrates. But high fiber, vitamin-packed spaghetti squash in place of the semolina or durum wheat spaghetti makes a little bread on the side seem much more appropriate.
If you haven’t prepared spaghetti squash before, prepare to be amazed. And possibly fall in love. This oblong yellow winter squash has a texture like no other squash out there. It comes apart in strands. Like spaghetti. (Hence it’s name!)
You’ll need a sharp knife to cut any type of winter squash in half before it’s cooked. If you don’t have a sharp knife I definitely recommend you getting your knives sharpened. But in the meantime, you can cook the spaghetti squash whole and then cut it in half once it has softened. This will just require a longer cooking time (possibly 60 minutes or more).
This recipe makes two hearty portions if you’d like to be a bit fancy and serve it right in the squash halves. If you are serving with a bit of bread and perhaps a salad, it could be 4 portions for kids and adults, served out of the two halves. And if your squash is larger, feel free to bump up the other ingredients for more servings. One of the things I love about simple recipes is how easy they are to adjust up or down without getting out your calculator.
6 Ingredient Italian Baked Spaghetti Squash
2 lb. spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced and chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup or 1/2 a 15 oz. can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 TB breadcrumbs (gluten-free, if desired)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard or save to roast for a snack.
Lay the squash cut side down in a roasting pan. Pour in about an inch of water. (This helps to steam the strands and prevent sticking.)
Cook the squash in the oven for 40 minutes.
In a large skillet, cook the mushrooms and garlic over medium low heat. Sprinkle with the salt. The salt will pull moisture from the mushrooms so they won’t stick to the pan. Resist the urge to over stir.
When the mushrooms have softened, add the beans and marinara sauce. Heat through.
When the squash is easily punctured with a fork, it is done. Take it from the oven and flip the halves over. Loosen the strands with a fork, being careful not to rip the now delicate squash skin.
Turn your oven to broil.
Divide the mushroom-bean mixture between the squash halves. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
Return the squash to the oven and broil for about 2 minutes to brown the tops. Keep an eye on it to preventing burning! It may only take 1 minute in your oven.
Serve immediately. (With or without a side of garlic bread.)