It is just amazing to me that spaghetti can be picked from the earth! Spaghetti squash is very easy to cook and you can find it year round in most markets. The best time to buy it (for both price and freshness) is when it is in season in your area. I like to bake it the day I buy it and store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days, that way it is ready to throw together on a busy weeknight and can have a delicious, healthy and nutritious dinner ready in minutes. I often double the recipe so I have healthy leftovers available in the fridge.
This recipe is delicious and I do prefer it with fresh tomatoes, but since it is winter here and the tomatoes at the market have zero flavor, I tried it with organic diced canned tomatoes and it came out great.
I love trader joe’s and eden organics for canned products. I find that they have all natural ingredients with no additives and do not use a chemical lining in their cans like most other companies. I did find some organic options at my local Shoprite
I love the addition of beans to this recipe to boost the protein in this one dish meal.
The layering in this baked dish makes it feel like a comfort food and just a little cheese helps hold it all together.
To bake the spaghetti squash you can cook it whole or in halves. I like to cook it whole because it is easier to cut after it has been cooked. But it maybe easier to remove seeds and pulp without taking out to much of the squash before cooking. Whatever works best for you.
To cook it whole, preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Next pierce the skin of the spaghetti squash several times on all sides, you may need to use a sharp knife for this.
Place the squash in a foil lined baking pan and cook for 40-60 minutes or until it has softened so that you can easily pierce the squash.
Let cool for 15-20 minutes or until cool enough to touch.
Cut squash in half and remove the seeds and pulp but be careful not to remove the stringy flesh from the sides.
At this point you can put the cooked spaghetti squash in an airtight container in the fridge for future use or move on to next step
With a fork, separate the flesh of the squash by scraping the fork lengthwise into stringny, pasta looking shreds.
Ok, so here is the recipe!
- About 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash or 1 medium
- 2 large garden tomatoes sliced (or 1 can diced organic tomatoes, drained)
- 1 can black beans (or beans of your choice) drained and rinsed)
- Sea Salt
- Fresh minced garlic or garlic powder, onion powder, basil and parsley for sprinkling over the layers
- 5 ounces organic shredded Mexican cheese blend (trader joe’s is a great source for affordable natural ingredients)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray a 11 x9 casserole dish with olive oil
Spread about 1.5 cups of spaghetti squash on bottom
Top with a layer of tomatoes and beans. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and herbs
Sprinkle with 1.5 ounzes of cheese
Repeat layering ( because all squashes are different just layer until you have used all the squash)
Bake for 30 minutes uncovered
I like to finish with a light sprinkle of cheese and herbs for the top layer
It comes out of the oven smelling and looking amazing!