Walk into a grocery store in October in the Northern Hemisphere, and you’re likely to see winter squash of all shapes and sizes piled high in bins.
These lovely vegetables have been soaking up the sun all summer long. (If you grow winter squash, you know you have been faithfully watering these babies for months. And probably fending off the squirrels that come noshing in the night.)
And now, finally, it’s time to enjoy the hard-won harvest!
This recipe is the perfect bridge from summer to winter. It uses both summer squash – in this case, zucchini – and winter spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti squash is fun to make and delicious to eat. It’s one of the lowest calorie squashes, with only about 31-40 calories per cup. If you are trying to lose weight, eating spaghetti squash in place of pasta is a no-brainer calorie-saving swap.
But don’t let that low calorie-count fool you. Those golden strands are full of goodness. Spaghetti squash supplies potassium for proper muscle and nerve function, and is beneficial for individuals with high blood pressure. It also contains manganese, which helps the body absorb calcium and supports good metabolism. Also present are iron, phosphorus and zinc.
Spaghetti squash also provides inflammation fighting, brain boosting omega-3 and omega-6 fats. It’s rich in the antioxidants vitamin A and C, B-vitamins, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and essential minerals.
There are so many reasons to enjoy winter squash, including the delicate spaghetti squash.
What’s your favorite way to eat this lovely vegetable? Please share your comments below.
Mexican Black Bean Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
1 small – medium spaghetti squash
1 small zucchini, chopped
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (about 2/3 can)
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. garlic salt
¼ cup cilantro, torn or chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small avocado
1/2 small jalapeno seeded and sliced or diced (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Wash the squash, then cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp. (If you find the squash too hard to cut, you can soften the rind by placing the whole squash in a microwave oven for 2 minutes. Allow it to cool a bit before trying to cut into again.)
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray. Place the squash cut sides up on the tray and mist with a small amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the squash cut sides down and place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, water sauté the onions and zucchini until the onion is translucent. Add more water a tablespoon at a time to prevent it from sticking and burning. Add the beans, cumin, chili powder and garlic salt. Stir to combine.
Scoop most of the spaghetti squash strands out of each squash half into the skillet, leaving about a half inch of squash on the rind. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning.
Divide the squash mixture evenly between the two squash halves.
Mix the avocado, tomato, cilantro and jalapeno (if using.) Squeeze on some lime juice and sprinkle with a small amount of salt and pepper. Top the squash halves with the fresh tomato and avocado.