5-ingredient Pesto Spaghetti Squash Boats
Author - Alyssa Rimmer
It's the first official work week of 2016. How are ya handling it?
I have to admit, it was pretty hard to sit down yesterday morning and get back into the work mindset. I just spent about 2 weeks away from my computer, my inbox was over flowing, I had tons of social media to catch up on and I had zero recipes in the queue. But after being on vacation and not being that strict with my eating (or drinking), new, healthy recipes were my top priority.
Honestly, it felt great to be able to get back into the kitchen and pick back up on my healthy habits. I'm sure you probably “slipped” up a little over the holiday soon – maybe a few too many cookies or glasses of wine? 😉 – and that's totally okay, because now is the best time of year to focus on your resolutions and start fresh.
Even though my turmeric overnight quinoa was technically the first recipe of 2016, I actually made that before I left, so I'm using today's pesto spaghetti squash as my “get back on track” meal.
It's the perfect meatless dish for the pasta-lover in all of us. A healthier spin on pesto spaghetti, this recipe uses only 5 ingredients and comes together in just about 45 minutes (most of which is just waiting for the squash to roast, so it's hands off anyway).
We're using spaghetti squash instead of traditional spaghetti because it's filled with nutrients, it's lower in carbs and calories and is a complex carbohydrate. Plus, since it's in season right now, you can pick them up just about anywhere!
When it comes to making the perfect spaghetti squash, there are a few different methods you can follow:
- bake it whole
- slice it lengthwise, remove the seeds and bake it face down with some water
- slice it lengthwise, remove the seeds, drizzle on some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake it right side up
Is one method better than another? Not necessarily. I've tried them all, each one works, but honestly I'm partial to #3 because I think it adds the most flavor. So that's what we're doing here!
I actually ended up using my toaster oven to bake the squash since I didn't feel like turning on my whole stove and it worked surprisingly well. I set the timer for 40 minutes and it was just the right amount of time – the squash was easy to shred into “noodles” and they still had a little crunch. Perfectly al dente if you will 🙂
From there, it's time to get our pesto on!
You can add in some of your favorite pesto (perhaps even try a little Sun Dried Tomato Pesto if you are feeling adventuresome), a little bit of quinoa for more protein, and then just give it a little seasoning of sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and chili flakes. It really couldn't be easier!
Peep those noodles up there guys ^^^^
I mean really, if you love pasta and can't stand the tough of giving it up for your resolutions, you have GOT to get on the spaghetti squash train. You're going to absolutely love it.
And if you want to bulk this dish up a little bit, feel free to add in your favorite protein. I think it would be super tasty with some crispy chickpeas or even more quinoa, but if you're a meat-eater go for chicken, shrimp or even beef (that's what Matt did!).
So now, fortunately for those of us who like to get down on a big bowl of pasta, we can without compromising those health goals we set for ourselves. Cheers to us!
5-ingredient Pesto Spaghetti Squash Boats
The perfect meatless dish for the pasta-lover in all of us
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle each half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash with the oiled side facing up and roast for 40 minutes or until it's easy to shred with a fork.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Scrape the inside of the squash halves, top with pesto and quinoa and stir into the "noodles".
Garnish with more salt, pepper and some red pepper flakes if desired.
To serve, either eat it right from the squash (that's what we did!) or transfer the noodles to bowls and enjoy.
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