Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

I am obsessed with spaghetti squash. I forgot about it all summer, but now I am seeing it on the grocery shelves and I had to buy one this week. It is just my “pastaterian” (I made that up, or a friend did, meaning he would only eat pasta if I let him) son and I for dinner tonight, and I decided I would make a big pot of vegetable ragu and add ground beef to a portion of the ragu to make it Bolognese-like for him.  This way everyone is happy with little extra effort. This provided plenty of leftover sauce to freeze for later use.

Part of  my obsession with spaghetti squash is that when cooked it really shreds like spaghetti! On top of that it is healthy – one cup is only 42 calories, it has fiber, vitamin A, several B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K.  This is pretty much the same recipe as Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu but I am making it a separate recipe so people can find it easily. Basically the difference is baking the dish in the squash shells and topping with mozzarella cheese versus with this recipe I scoop out all the spaghetti squash and serve it like a pasta with sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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Amazing how it shreds like spaghetti!

Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: variable
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti with a vegetarian pasta sauce using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (or more if you are feeding more than 2 or 3 people)
  • olive oil (spray if available)
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Spray or rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and let cool slightly.
  8. Run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti and put in a bowl. Discard the squash “skin.”
  9. Serve squash strands with the vegetable ragu and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    September 26, 2018

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Scooping seeds out of raw squash
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Shredding the cooked squash
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Prepping the vegetables for the ragu
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Sautéing the vegetables
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Finished Vegetarian Ragu
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Ragu with meat added
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Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu
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Pasta with Beef Ragu

 

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Whole Wheat Dutch Baby

This is an Oldie-but-Goodie! I modified this from an old Cooking Light recipe that I have been making since my first child was a toddler. Both of my kids loved breakfast (“the most important meal of the day”) as kids, so I was always trying to come up with new healthy ideas. This one is pretty fast and easy, and I top it with whatever fresh fruit is seasonal at the time. Note that the pancake will puff up a lot around the perimeter while it is cooking and quickly deflate once removed from the oven. Never fear, it is still custardy and crispy in spots and delicious even when deflated, and so much easier than standing over the stove for a long time flipping little pancakes!!!

Whole Wheat Dutch Baby

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy whole wheat baked pancake with seasonal fresh fruit toppings.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  •  2 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a whisk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • fresh fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Cooking spray

Procedure

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F., Put a 9″ cast iron skillet into the oven to heat it up while oven warming to temperature.
  2.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl  and mix well.
  3. Once oven has come to temperature, coat the hot pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into hot pan and put back into oven.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly browned and cooked through. The sides should rise considerably and look fluffy. Remove from oven.
  5. Spread fresh fruit on pancake (today I used fresh strawberries on one half and fresh figs on the other, just to please everyone).
  6. Cut into 4 pieces and serve hot. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com                September 25, 2018

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Vegetable and Beef Stir-fry

I have made this a couple of times and it has been really simple, tasty and well-liked in my family. I tweaked it a little, but all credit goes to Katie Webster and Healthy Seasonal Recipes. This is a great weekday recipe and would taste great with a variety of vegetables. Today I used broccoli, bell peppers and mushrooms. A major ingredient I left out from the original is Chinese five spice, I tried it the first time I made it and it was not really a taste I loved. We all ate it but liked it more without it.

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Vegetable and Beef Stir-Fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Quick and delicious weeknight stir-fry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound grass-fed beef (flat-iron, sirloin, tenderloin) cut into thin bite-sized strips
  • coarse kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • safflower or other light oil
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I served this on the side for those who wanted it)

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Procedure

  1. Sprinkle the cut beef with a little salt and a few generous turns of the pepper mill and stir to evenly distribute.
  2. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar and corn starch in a small bowl.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat with a little oil. Add the beef in a single layer and allow it to sear until browned on one side, 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Turn the beef and sear another minute on that side. Transfer the beef and any juices to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  4. Add a little more oil if needed. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and peppers and stir-fry for a few minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the broccoli and stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes more, until it is crisp-tender.
  5. Add the reserved cooked beef and the juices.
  6. Give the corn starch slurry a quick whisk and add to the pan while stirring. Cook until the sauce thickens and coats the beef and vegetables, just a minute or two.
  7. Serve immediately with rice. Enjoy!

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https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    September 20, 2018