I feel like I say this every year, but although there is far more produce available in the summer months, I am much more excited about cooking with the late summer, fall and winter produce. There is something so comforting and hearty about the foods in season right now, these are the vegetables you can create an entire meal around.
I am especially fanatical about it all this year, as I am very consciously trying to consume less grains and starches as I work towards learning to eat smarter for my body, given a recent diagnosis (more on that another time). I have been looking at food in new and different ways and trying to get creative with foods I have cooked with time and time again over the years.
In the summer months, I live on zucchini and yellow squash noodles, as an alternative to pasta, so I have been having fun coming up with the fall/winter equivalents. Sweet potatoes work great but all of the many squashes available come to the rescue time and time again. I’ve been enjoying butternut squash noodles, but most especially spaghetti squash, since no special tools are required.
If you haven’t eaten a metric ton of spaghetti squash already this fall, what the heck are you waiting for? It is a magical thing! I love it with just any ‘ol pasta sauce on top, and I make sure I always have at least one on hand.
This homemade sauce is somewhere between chili and a classic Italian meat sauce. It’s rich, flavorful, hearty and so simply to pull together. I find the chipotle brings a nice smokey heat and it’s perfect with this dish. Feel free to leave it out if you don’t do spicy in any way. I make the sauce while the spaghetti squash is cooking and by the time that’s done, I can assemble it all in the pan, toss it in the oven for a little bit and that’s it. So simple.
This Mexican Spaghetti Squash Bake was another meal created with what we had on hand. We had some grass-fed ground beef from our farmer, a beautiful spaghetti squash, this Greek girl always has authentic sheep’s milk feta in the fridge and with that and a few things from the pantry, this dish was born. It doesn’t look like a whole lot in photos, but where it lacks in style and being fancy, it more than makes up for in unique flavors and satiability.
Ground turkey would also be great or if you are vegan/vegetarian you could opt for your favorite meat alternative or even simply chopped portobello mushrooms. The cheese on top is optional, but highly, highly recommended.
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon Terra Delyssa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1lb grass-fed ground beef (ground turkey or preferred meat alternative)
- 1 14.5 ounce can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 cups roughly chopped kale
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta cheese (Cotija would also work)
- small handful fresh cilantro, roughly chipped
Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half, the long way. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy flesh from in the center with the seeds. Save the seeds if you want, they are super tasty roasted. Place the squash halves cut side down in a roasting pan or a glass pan. I like to add a little water to the bottom of the pan to help steam the squash to cook it faster. Cook for 30-45 minutes until tender. (read more about cooking a spaghetti squash in the oven here)
While the squash is cooking, prep the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add the onions and cook about 3-5 minutes until they are tender. Add the garlic and stir it all around a bit, give it just 1 minute. Then, add the ground beef to the pan, start to brown the meat.
Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotle and all of the spices. Allow the sauce to simmer for abut 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Right about when you take the squash from the oven, add the roughly chipped kale to the pan and give it all a stir until the kale is wilted.
Take the spaghetti squash from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350ºF. Use a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands of “spaghetti” from the Kitchn:”The strands wrap around the squash horizontally — rake your fork in the same direction as the strands to make the longest “noodles.”
Lightly grease an 8-inch square glass pan with a little olive oil. Add the spaghetti squash noodles to the bottom of the 8-inch pan. Arrange in an even layer. Top with the meat sauce, also spread out evenly and sprinkle a small amount of cheese over the top. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until warmed through and the feta on top is slightly browned and melting. Spoon into bowls, top with fresh cilantro and enjoy! [/print_this]
- try ground turkey or chicken instead of the beef
- vegans/vegetarians use your favorite meat substitute or try something fun like chopped portobello mushrooms
- leave the feta off entirely or opt instead for Cotija cheese.
- if you can’t find spaghetti squash, try making this with zucchini or yellow squash noodles made with a spiralizer
- you can use fresh of frozen kale, spinach is also great
Of course, I opted to use my favorite olive oil, Terra Delyssa!
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