A few days ago, Laura found a recipe online that she really liked. It has to do with spaghetti squash. Since autumn has arrived, it’s been a challenge to get squash off the mind. It seems as though they’re everywhere. I just spent almost $20 to purchase two gigantic butternut squash (to be used in an upcoming recipe I’ll post here). And that’s not to mention the four acorn squash I also bought (another recipe). It’s crazy.
Laura found the recipe over on the Cookie + Kate food blog. If you aren’t aware, Kate is listed on my favorite food blogs page and shares some seriously awesome recipes. If you’re into food, definitely check her out. This recipe, in particular, is called Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowls. We prepared the dish last night and I have to say, I loved it. So much, in fact, I thought I’d share some of the photos I took during the process of Laura putting everything together as well as the goings ons of how we did what we did.
This is a really easy dish to put together. There aren’t many pieces and a lot of them don’t even need to be cooked. Sure, the baking of the spaghetti squash takes time, but there’s not much needed with its preparation.
These bowls are filling. That’s no wonder because each serving includes half of a squash. That, combined with the tasty filling, some pesto and then some feta cheese makes for a perfect autumn lunch or dinner.
For the Squash & Filling
1 Medium Sized Spaghetti Squash
Regular Olive Oil
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 15-Ounce Can Chickpeas
1 Medium Sized Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1/2 Medium Sized Red Onion, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Kalamata Olives, Chopped
3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, Chopped
3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Regular Table Salt
1 Ounce Feta Cheese, Crumbled
For the Pesto
1/4 Cup Dried Pumpkin Seeds, Toasted
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Water
1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
After you prepare the filling that I gave you the ingredients for above, you’ll have some extras. Laura and I put this into our salads that we enjoyed before the squash. The reason I’m leaving the amounts the way they are is because vegetables come in all shapes and sizes. Also, I didn’t want to split hairs when it comes to something so imperfect as produce. Lastly, you may want to pile your filling high, in which case, have at it. You should have enough to do that.
Pre-Heat Your Oven
Before you do anything else, you’ll need to pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Also, arrange one of the racks so it’s in the center position.
Prep & Cook the Squash
Trim both ends off the squash. Then, cut it in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds. Once the squash is halved and cleaned, coat the entire insides and edges (everything but the skin) of both pieces with regular olive oil. Then, sprinkle a few pinches of salt and pepper over the oil.
Finally, place the squash halves face down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cook between 45 and 60 minutes. You want to soften the interiors until they are tender. You’ll know they’re tender when you can easily slide a fork or knife into the pulp.
Note: The reason I suggest you use regular olive oil as opposed to extra-virgin olive oil for this step is because of the smoke point. Extra-virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point and may lead to some unexpected consequences after it’s baked at 400 degrees for an hour. Basically, it’ll smoke.
Prepare the Filling
In a medium sized bowl, combine the chickpeas, red bell pepper, red onion, olives, basil, parsley and lemon juice. Then, add 1/4 teaspoon of table salt and 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and stir well.
Set aside for later use.
Prepare the Pesto
Before making the pesto, you’ll need to toast the pumpkin seeds. The way I did this was to add them to a small skillet over medium heat. I drizzled a bit of regular olive oil over the seeds and stirred periodically for about 5 minutes or until they began to brown. At the first sound of a pop, you’ll know they’re finished. Remove them from the heat quickly when this happens or they’ll pop all over the place.
In your food processor, add the pumpkin seeds, basil, parsley, lemon juice, water and olive oil. Then, run the processor for a few seconds until the seeds break down. I’d say this takes about 8 seconds, if I had to guess. Don’t go too much – you don’t want to turn things into a puree. The result should look like what’s in the photo below.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl.
Assemble the Squash Bowl
When the squash is cooked, remove it from the oven. Flip each half over and use a fork to sort of fluff the interiors. Then, scoop some chickpea and red bell pepper mix into each half. Fill until you think it’s a good amount, without going overboard. After that, add some pesto on top of the mix and finally, sprinkle some feta cheese on top of that.
The Final Dish
This is such a great recipe and I’m so thankful to Kate for sharing it. Laura and I had a great time making it and an even better time eating it. Thanks Kate!