Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Easy, Quick Vegetarian Dinner - Spaghetti Squash & Roasted Root Veggies

I had some beautiful beets and radishes that came with my last Organics to You order.  I also had a large n' lovely spaghetti squash that we got at the Learning Garden last weekend.  Since we are going camping this weekend I knew I better make good use of these vegetables before Thursday or else figure out who to give them away to (probably Sabrina, though I'm not sure she'd be glad to have them, lol).  So, here's what I came up with: first, I figured that with a name like "spaghetti squash," there must be a way to make this into a very pasta-esque dish.  I don't have a ton of experience with this type of squash, but a quick Google search confirmed my suspicion.  I learned that spaghetti squash can be cooked in the microwave, which might seem sacrilegious to someone like my brother Sebastian, but suits me just fine after a long day of working hard and zooming over to Target to buy some last-minute back-to-school stuff.  But, I had to start with the root veggies, since they'd be roasted in the oven and take a bit longer.

Roasted Root Vegetables

6-8 medium/large beets (trimmed)
8-10 radishes (trimmed)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme
pinch of garlic powder (optional)

First, I preheated my oven to 400 degrees.  Then, I placed all the root veggies on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzled the oil over them evenly.  Next I sprinkled the seasonings and herbs over the veggies and wrapped the all up in the foil.  I put this foil package onto a cookie sheet and placed on the top rack of my preheated oven.  I set the timer for 30 minutes and got started on the spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash

1 3 lb spaghetti squash
2 tbsp butter
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (I used the fire-roasted ones from Hunts)
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheese

First, I stabbed the squash all over with a sharp knife and lined my microwave with paper towels.  I placed the squash on top of the paper towels and microwaved it on high for 12 minutes.  When it came out, I let it cool for a bit, then trimmed of the end and stem, then halved the squash lengthwise.  After removing the seeds from the center, I used a fork to scrape out all of the squash's "meat." This left me with a lovely golden mound of deliciousness that resembled cooked spaghetti.  At this point, I heated up a large skillet over medium-high heat and melted the butter in it.  I added the can of tomatoes, then the squash, and mixed everything together.  I sprinkled some salt and pepper in, and let it cook for about 8 minutes, until some of the liquid from the tomatoes began to thicken.  At that point, I sprinkled the shredded cheese over the top and turned off the heat.

Prepared in this simple yet delicious way, spaghetti squash can TOTALLY be a main dish.  I sliced the root veggies up and served them on the side to complete a healthy and colorful dish.  The best part: my kids ATE IT UP.  And loved it.

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