Friday, August 13, 2010

Warm Spaghetti Squash Salad

When Spaghetti Squash is done right it is a special thing.  The cooked squash flesh comes out of the skin in strands just like spaghetti.  My trainer says spaghetti squash is a "free food"...I like the sounds of that...I get so happy when I find healthy foods that are truly satisfying.  It averages only 42 calories per cup,  it's loaded with vitamins and minerals and it's just so cool.  This recipe is a great use of the vegetable, the squash itself has a very mild taste so it relies on strong accent flavours to make it interesting.  This mix hits the spot.

Warm Spaghetti Squash Salad
From Grace Parisi, Food and Wine

Notes:  Boiling the squash was a new technique for me (I usually roast).  My squash was not cooked through in the recommended 12 minutes time.  I think I boiled it for twenty minutes and when it still wasn't done I roasted it in the oven for about 15 additional minutes.  Maybe my squash was HUGE!?  I didn't weigh it, but I thought I could use more dressing too.  My advice on testing to see if the squash is cooked would be to insert a fork into the skin side of the squash, if the fork goes through the skin and the flesh with little effort you should be good.


One 4-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 cup sliced almonds (3 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives, such as Cerignola
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion whites (next time I will add an additional 1/4 cup of olives and scallions)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil (I did not use this much oil)
2 ounces Greek feta, crumbled ( 1/4 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper (I used black pepper)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti squash and cook until it is al dente, about 12 minutes; drain. Place the spaghetti squash halves cut side down on a rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread the sliced almonds on a pie plate and toast them in the oven for about 7 minutes, until lightly golden. In a mini food processor, combine the chopped olives with the sliced scallions, lemon zest, lemon juice and canola oil and pulse until finely chopped.

Working over a medium bowl and using a fork, scrape the spaghetti squash into the bowl, separating the strands. Add the dressing along with the crumbled feta and toasted almonds and season with salt and white pepper. Toss the spaghetti squash salad and serve warm.

Serves 8.  Original recipe - one serving 238 cal, 19 gm fat, 2.5 gm sat fat, 16 gm carb, 4.4 gm fiber.
(you can cut down the oil with good results, add more lemon juice to thin the dressing if necessary)

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