In Season: Spaghetti Squash

By Wendy McMillan

With more than 145 percent of the daily value of vitamin A per cup and loads of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and manganese, this seasonal favorite should make frequent appearances at your fall table. Simply pierce the outer shell of the squash with a fork a few times, bake it whole at 400 degrees until tender (approximately one hour), and then “string” the squash with the tines of a fork before preparing one of these easy dishes:

Spaghetti Squash–Cucumber Salad
In a large bowl, combine 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash strands; 2 cups cucumber, peeled, chopped, and seeded; 2 cups seeded diced tomatoes; 1/2 cup diced red pepper; and 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion. In a small dish, mix 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing and then sprinkle on 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese.

Curried Squash and Veggie Casserole
In a bowl, combine strands of one cooked spaghetti squash with 2 cups chopped broccoli florets, steamed, and 1 cup diced red bell pepper. Mix in 1 cup low-fat sour cream, 1/4 cup skim milk, 1 tablespoon curry powder, and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, stirring well to coat. Pour into a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish, and top with seasoned whole-wheat bread crumbs or prepared whole-grain stuffing (approximately 2 cups). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Fruited Squash Muffins
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon orange zest, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir in 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, and 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash, and blend to form batter. Add 3/4 cup chopped cranberries, 3/4 cup raisins, and 1/2 cup chopped dates. Pour into prepared muffin tin, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Pork and Squash “Noodle” Soup
In a sauce or stock pan, brown 1/2 pound thinly sliced pork tenderloin and 2 minced garlic cloves in 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil. Add 1 tablespoon minced gingerroot, 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 4 cups chicken broth. Stir in 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash and 1/4 cup sliced green onions. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until heated through.