I like the concept of spaghetti squash, but have often found myself wondering what, exactly, to do with it. I've tossed it with marinara sauce before and found it wanting. I've tried stuffing it with fillings, but it often ends up being super flavorful fillings atop lackluster squash. But once I figured out how to roast it perfectly and add it to traditional Asian noodle dishes, I'm no longer left wondering about spaghetti squash!
This dish can take a while, but you can also roast the squash up to three days in advance and keep the "noodles" in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Feel free to toss a little oil with them to help keep them from sticking together. I like adding a bit of water to the baking pan to keep the squash from roasting unevenly or drying out. Discard the water and the shell after you are done prepping the squash.
I've made this dish with shrimp, which makes it light and quick to make, but you could use chicken, beef, pork, or even marinated tofu. Likewise with the other vegetables called for — onions, cabbage, and peppers make for great flavor, texture, and color, but other choices can be made to suit your tastes, vegetable drawer, or what's on sale at the market this week.
Finally, serve this dish quickly after you've assembled it. It's best while it's hot and any leftovers should be wrapped carefully and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- 1 (3-lb) spaghetti squash
- ½ c. water
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 c. green cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 large sweet pepper, chopped
- 16 oz. medium shrimp
- 2 tsp. butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 T. rice vinegar
- 2 T. maple syrup
- 2 T. soy sauce - choose a gluten free variety as desired
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp. water mixed with ½ tsp. cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Split the squash in half, lengthwise, and scrape out and discard the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down in a large baking dish; carefully pour the water around them. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the flesh of the squash is soft before removing to cool for 10 minutes.
While the squash is baking, chop the onion, cabbage, and pepper; set aside. Peel and devein the shrimp; refrigerate until ready to use.
When the squash has cooled a bit, remove the flesh from the shell using a fork to create "noodles"; set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the butter until melting. Add the garlic clove and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the rice vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper; stir to combine. Add the water-cornstarch mixture and allow the sauce to thicken. Add the onion, cabbage, and pepper; stir-fry in the sauce for 6 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until pink and fully cooked. Add the squash "noodles" and stir to fully incorporate and heat through. Serve immediately.
- Yields: 4-6 servings
- Preparation Time: 1 ½ hours