I didn’t realize until I started writing up this post that just a couple weeks ago I stuffed another squash…but I assure you this is not a new blog theme (“101 ways to stuff a squash“? “Food cooked in other Food Food Blog”…I’ll keep brainstorming it). I can’t help it that squash are both delicious and also a perfect carrier for other food!
I remember distinctly the first time I had spaghetti squash – I was about 40lbs or so overweight, LOVED pasta, and my “portion” for spaghetti was basically about 3/4 box…for myself. This was not working for me and my goals lol (shocking). So I started to find substitutions for my pasta, and found spaghetti squash – I don’t know how I hadn’t had this before, but that’s besides the point. I made spaghetti squash with meatballs, and it was delicious – and from then on, I’ve been hooked.
This week I made a spaghetti squash “lasagna”, which I saw on a vegetarian food blog (yes, I read food blogs for free reading…), but added ground turkey to it to add a little more oomph to it. This one I had been wanting for a while, and as soon as I made it my brain started spiraling with other ways to prepare it. While this one was loaded with spinach, onion, broccoli, and ground turkey, my head couldn’t stop thinking about making a spaghetti squash chicken parm lasagna…but so as to not turn this into the aforementioned stuffed squash blog, I will table that for another blog in the fall.
As with all the other recipes I post here, this is simple, and depending on the squash size, this can be very filling for two people as a main dish. Now, there are a couple ways you can go about cooking your spaghetti squash, some people microwave it (you can google how to do it if you choose this method – it’s faster, so if you are in a time crunch, this may be a better option), but I always prefer to take a little more time, and cook it in the oven, as I think it brings out way more flavor.
*ingredient amounts may vary depending on size of squash…but any additional filling is delicious as leftovers!
- 1 2½- to 3-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch broccoli, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1lb Ground Turkey
- 2c. spinach
- 1/2c. red onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 400°F.
- Rub olive oil on inside and outside of squash, and place squash halves cut-side down on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes. To test if it is done, gently poke the skin of the squash with a fork, it should be tender and the kin should be soft and tender when done. When you take them out of the oven, change the temp to 450°F
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli, garlic, and red pepper (if using); cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add 2T water and cook, stirring, until the broccolini is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Cook Turkey in same pan, until just cooked through, add red onion, and spinach until spinach is just wilted, then add the broccoli mix to it, stir around for about a minute until all combined then set aside again to the mixing bowl.
- Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl with the mix that you already prepped.
- Stir ¾ cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide it between the shells; top with the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
- Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking, taking out the meat, changing the meat, adjusting the veggies, etc.
Remember, there is no perfect diet, there is no one-size-fits-all meal plan. Healthy food is only good if you will eat it. So set yourself up for success by making meals that are manageable for you – that taste good to you! In our nutrition program, we often talk about trying to be 1% better than yesterday. This applies to our food choices (and life) – it’s not about being completely perfect all the time, it’s about finding little things that you can adjust. Is this meal perfect? Screw perfect, but it’s not 3/4 box of spaghetti, and for me, that is a huge step forward in my never-ending journey to nutritional balance in my life.