Mediterranean Veggie Marinara Spaghetti Squash
This Mediterranean veggie marinara spaghetti squash incorporates great texture, wonderful flavors and lower calories in one dish.
I’m not a huge fan of squash, but I was excited to try this one!
Spaghetti squash does not taste like regular pasta, but can be used as a healthy gluten free substitute. You can easily create a completely noodle free, but delicious and filling meal. It definitely looks like pasta when you put it on the plate. Feel free to substitute with your favorite vegetables, if mushrooms and zucchini aren’t what you like.
This dish was called Mediterranean, because I was craving a meal with olives and feta cheese, which turned out fantastic paired with spaghetti squash noodles. I not a vegetarian and will be sharing meat recipes in the future. I really wanted to add meat to this recipe, but after all, it really didn’t need any. Even my husband, who was wondering what I was planning to do with that “yellow pumpkin” liked these noodles and said he would have them again!
Spaghetti squash is a variety of winter squash, which when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in strands like spaghetti. There are different methods of cooking it – you can bake, microwave, boil or steam it. Baking it in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper is what I did to cook it for this recipe. It also has seeds, similar to pumpkin seeds, that are scraped out before baking . The best thing about spaghetti squash is that it contains around 42 calories per cup, which is really good for a pasta substitute. It is also rich in folic acid, vitamin A and beta carotene.
Spaghetti squash’s noodles are light and have some soft crunch. They don’t have have a ton of taste of their own, but easily absorb all the sauce and flavors you put on them. I do feel that it has a delicate squash flavor too, which is ok with me.
I’ve read on other blogs that people, who are starting to explore these spaghetti squash would mix 1 cup of it with 1 cup of regular pasta, so you still have some pasta taste in your dish.
For this recipe I used plain tomato sauce, to which I added garlic, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. You can also use your favorite marinara sauce, but I had a lot of fresh tomatoes from my garden and really had to use them up.
This mediterranean veggie marinara spaghetti squash takes some time to make, since you have to roast (cook) the squash and let it cool, so it is easy to handle. Sorry, this isn’t a 30 minute meal.
This dish combines crunchiness from the spaghetti squash, lots of flavor from the sautéed veggies and fresh sauce and some extra saltiness from the feta and olives.
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- 1 medium spaghetti squash (3 lb)
- olive oil spray (I use Misto) to oil the inside of the squash
- salt and pepper t taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil to sauté vegetables
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce ( or you can make your own)
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (white or baby bella)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 12 Kalamata olives (or more)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp basil
- parsley and scallions for garnishing
- Homemade Marinara: (In case you have time and would like to make your own, see below)
- 2 cups peeled and diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 diced yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- To bake spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds using a spoon. Spray the inside with olive oil and season with some salt and black pepper.
- Lay skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or Silpat. Bake for around 45 minutes, until it is cooked to a touch with a fork. Take out of the oven and set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Using a fork, scrape flesh in long strands. Place strands in serving bowls.
- While squash is baking, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until they are browned and liquid has evaporated. Place them in a bowl.
- In the same pan, add more olive oil if necessary and cook zucchini and onions for 5 minutes. Add basil and oregano and stir. Move zucchini and onions to the bowl with mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
- Warm up marinara sauce if you are using store bought and place on top of spaghetti. Add vegetables, feta cheese and olives to each bowl. Garnish with parsley and scallions, or even fresh basil.
- Marinara sauce: If you are planning to prepare your own marinara sauce, here is how: In a deep pan heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Then add tomatoes, salt, pepper, parsley and basil and stir well. Simmer sauce uncovered until it gets thick (for 20 minutes). Add sauce on top of your pasta.