I love trying new foods. I can spend way too long in the produce section looking and pondering vegetables, fruits, and even roots (isn’t ginger the funniest looking root?). I really do get tired of bringing home the same produce every shopping trip and I’m always itching to taste something different at dinner.
On my most recent shopping trip, my mom kept my boys (makes grocery shopping SO much easier) and I spent a good majority of my trip walking up and down the produce aisle trying to get inspired by a new veggie. It’s really is theraputic for me! I brought home chayote squash (it’s amazing!), peppers, kale, and all of my other usual produce buys. This trip I also brought home a pretty decent sized spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti squash definitely isn’t an exotic produce item, but I’ve never cooked with it before! I’ve tasted it and liked it but for some reason it always seemed a little intimidating to cook.
If you’ve never cooked a spaghetti squash before, let me just encourage you to go to the store, pick one out, and come home and fix it. It’s way too easy, tastes great, and looks like you cooked something gourmet.
The night I fixed my squash I decided to avoid recipes and to get a little creative with this meal. I was really happy with the results and my family loved it as well! It’s a nice pasta dish that’s primarily vegetables, so while you get full from it, you don’t walk away from the table overloaded with carbs.
And don’t stop reading this recipe because you don’t have spinach noodles. You might be able to find these at your grocery store (I found mine at this cute Italian market in town) but if not, you can really use any noodle. The flavor wasn’t a huge factor in this meal and I did it mainly for color. Be adventerous—try a noodle you’ve never prepared before and give this meal your own look!
Pasta Topped With Spaghetti Squash & Hearty Vegetable Ragu
1 Package of Noodles of Your Choice (I used spinach noodles found in a specialty shop)
1 Spaghetti Squash
½ Ground Beef (I used 93% lean to keep this meal light)
1 14 oz can Tomato Sauce
3 Carrots, sliced
½ Eggplant, diced
1 Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
¼ Cup Roasted Red Peppers (These can be found in jars in the condiment aisle)
2 Handfuls of Kale, plus some for topping
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
2-3 tsp Rosemary
2-3 tsp Basil
2-3 tsp Oregano
2-3 tsp Garlic Salt
2-3 tsp Onion Powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, slice spaghetti squash and remove the seeds. Place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet and brush the squash with olive oil and salt. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
While the squash cooks, add your olive oil to a sauce pan and heat to medium high heat. Cook your ground beef, onion, and garlic until beef is cooked through and vegetables have softened.
Add your carrots and eggplant and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add your tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium low and begin adding your seasonings. Again, add the smaller amount first, allow sauce to simmer for a couple of minutes, then taste and continue adding until it’s seasoned to your preference. Let the sauce continue simmering until everything is done cooking to really bring out your flavors. You will add your kale to the sauce about 2 minutes before serving.
Prepare the noodles according to package directions.
When the squash has cooked through and has cooled enough to handle, use a fork to scoop out the flesh of the squash, which will come out looking like spaghetti.
To serve: Serve a scoop of pasta noodles. Top with squash. Then top with a big serving of hearty vegetable ragu. Put a little piece of kale on top of each dish and enjoy!
I listed approximates for the spices/herbs. It’s best to use the minimum and adjust as you cook and taste according to your taste preference)