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Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash is a healthy meal packed with vegetables accented with pops of salty cheese and kalamata olives. Fresh and filling!

Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash is a healthy meal packed with vegetables accented with pops of salty cheese and kalamata olives. Fresh and filling! | iowagirleats.com

From caramel drenched crisp, to a vegetarian feast, because THAT’S HOW WE DO!

That is to say, life is all about balance, is it not? A few afternoons ago I was delicately eating this vegetable-packed dish featuring tender strands of roasted spaghetti squash tossed with baby spinach, tomatoes, basil, kalamata olives, and a restrained amount of crumbled feta cheese for lunch, then later that night I ate an entire bag of pizza-flavored chips.

Again, the entire bag. The whole enchilada. Every last drop.

To be fair, the chips were made with lentils so they were practically health food and, unlike the road trip staple of yesteryear aka pepperoni pizza-flavored Combos (RIP combos,) these chips were thin, crisp, and Margherita Pizza flavored, aka very chic. Plus there were like 18 chips in the entire bag.

Oh who am I kidding, there’s no excuse except for the fact that HOLY COW these chips are totally addicting. Eat with a friend, or at least after whipping up this ridiculously healthy and delicious Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash!

Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash is a healthy meal packed with vegetables accented with pops of salty cheese and kalamata olives. Fresh and filling! | iowagirleats.com

In case you didn’t know, tomorrow is National Pasta Day and to celebrate I made a wonderful pasta replacement dish that’s not only low carb but packed with nutrients and good for you ingredients. You know I’m a die-hard pasta lover, but around this time of year I love swapping out traditional spaghetti strands for its equally swirly sister, spaghetti squash.

I’ve mentioned here on IGE before that spaghetti squash doesn’t have the flavor nor texture of regular pasta – and if anyone tells you otherwise I’m calling shenanigans – but it’s so inherently fabulous that you won’t even care. Light, delicate strands of squash with a slightly crisp texture and sweet flavor resemble cooked spaghetti, but they’re low calorie, low carb, and full of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. I just love when Fall rolls around and these babies are in abundance at the market and grocery store.

Over the past two weeks alone I’ve made and enjoyed this Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash a couple times, used spaghetti squash for pizza night (which Buzzfeed called shenanigans on and I’m throwing right back!) and swapped it for gluten-free pasta on spaghetti night. Spaghetti squash is versatile and inexpensive, plus extremely filling too. Spaghetti Squash for President (is it not the only logical choice given our current lineup of candidates?!)

Political drama aside, with the temperatures starting to drop, I’ve found myself craving lots of heavier comfort food, so it’s great to lighten dinner up with this delicious, healthy meal that’s full of flavor, color, and texture. After the spaghetti squash is roasted, this dish comes together in about 10 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

Ok, ok if you MUST have a traditional pasta dish to celebrate National Pasta Day, go ahead and give this, this, or this recipe a try. And for Heaven’s sake, definitely this one!

Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash is a healthy meal packed with vegetables accented with pops of salty cheese and kalamata olives. Fresh and filling! | iowagirleats.com

Start the dish by roasting 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash. Look for a spaghetti squash that’s relatively smooth and lump free (though, really, a couple scrapes are just fine!)

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Pierce the spaghetti squash with a sharp knife four or five times around the center then microwave for 2 minutes. This will make it a ton easier to slice in half.

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Using that same sharp knife, slice the slightly softened spaghetti squash (say that 5 times fast!) in half then scrape out the seeds in the center.

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Place the halves cut side up on a baking sheet lined with foil then brush or mist with extra virgin olive oil and season the heck out of ’em with garlic salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Another reason why I love spaghetti squash is because I’m a volume eater (hello entire bag of chips,) and the spaghetti squash creates an enormous pile of strands that need to be well seasoned.

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Roast at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash goes in with little resistance, then let cool for 10 minutes or so. Finally, take a fork to the flesh and shred like you’re Jillian Michaels. Doesn’t this look like an enormous plate of angel hair pasta? I love it!

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Set the squash aside while you saute the vegetables. Heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat then saute 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add 3 cloves minced garlic then saute for 1 more minute.

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Next add 2 seeded and chopped vine-ripened tomatoes and saute until they just barely start to break down, 1-2 minutes.

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Then add 2 cups baby spinach that have been roughly chopped, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until the spinach just barely begins to wilt, about 1 minute.

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Last steps are to add the spaghetti squash strands into the skillet along with 1/4 cup kalamata olives that have been sliced and 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.

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Add 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil that’s been chopped, then toss to combine. That’s it!

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Scoop onto plates, and serve!

Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash is a healthy meal packed with vegetables accented with pops of salty cheese and kalamata olives. Fresh and filling! | iowagirleats.com

Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash

Description

Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash is a healthy meal packed with vegetables accented with pops of salty cheese and kalamata olives. Fresh and filling!

Ingredients

serves 2

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • Italian seasoning
  • garlic salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded then chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line a baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick spray, and then set aside. Pearce spaghetti squash with a sharp knife four or five times across the center then microwave for 2 minutes. Slice in half lengthwise then scoop out seeds and place cut side up on prepared baking sheet. Mist or brush with extra virgin olive oil then season generously with garlic salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning. Roast for 30-40 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash goes in easily. Let cool for 10 minutes or so then use a fork to shred the meat onto a plate and set aside.
  2. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat then add shallots or onions, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic then saute for 1 more minute. Add tomatoes then saute until just barely staring to break down, 1-2 minutes. Add baby spinach, season with salt and pepper, then saute until just starting to wilt, 1 minute. Add shredded spaghetti squash, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and basil to skillet then toss to combine and serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

 

While it may not be a total looker, this dish is so fresh and healthy, you won’t care one bit. Hope you enjoy!

Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash is a healthy meal packed with vegetables accented with pops of salty cheese and kalamata olives. Fresh and filling! | iowagirleats.com