05 May 2012

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes & Shimp

This may very well be the worst Cinco de Mayo post of all time, but we did super intense nachos last night that I was too busy eating to take a picture of.  Whoops.  I promise this is still a good one, though!

Spaghetti squash is one of those wonder vegetables that are great in almost anything.  They provide a wonderful and slightly crunchy texture and their mild flavor pair wonderfully with nearly everything.  When steamed or baked, the squash develops little noodle-like strands, making them a great, healthy substitute to a pasta dish for the gluten-free diet or those who are just watching their carbs.

This veggie is rocking in soups, with julienned basil & Frank's Red Hot Sauce (random, but delicious!) and also in Mediterranean cuisine.  Add some feta, shrimp and garlic and you are in healthy food heaven.

I've been making a stovetop version of this recipe for years with fresh basil.  However, my oven was hot from homemade bread, so I decided to stick with the baking theme and pop it in the oven.  And man, was it a success!  Pre-roasting the tomatoes with lots of fresh garlic makes the flavors really pop.  Their delicious juices plus a little lemon juice for brightness make a fantastic sauce that is incredibly healthy and very low in sodium.  Though this is a hot meal, it's great for summer as it is light and fresh.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes & Shrimp (3-4 servings)
  • 2 c cooked spaghetti squash (directions below)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 c chopped basil
  • 10 oz raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 3/4 c reduced fat feta, crumbled
I always cook my spaghetti squash in the microwave (I'm classy like that).  Begin by removing any stickers from your squash and stabbing it several times with a  sharp knife, creating holes for the steam to release while venting any frustration.  Place in the microwave and cook on high for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.  When the exterior is no longer hard and gives slightly when pressed, the squash is cooked.  (To bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Bake in a shallow pan for an hour, until the shell is tender.)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Quarter the tomatoes and cut each quarter in half, retaining all the juices and the seeds.  You want the tomato pieces to be about the same size as the shrimp.  Place the tomatoes in a 8x8 pan along with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.   Toss with until evenly coated.  Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tomatoes are very soft.

While the tomatoes are roasting, cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise and open on a cutting board.  The inside will still be very hot.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane (you can keep the seeds for roasting later if desired...delicious!)  Then use the spoon to scoop the squash out of its shell.  Transfer to a large bowl.  The extra cooked squash will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.  

When the tomatoes and garlic are tender and fragrant, remove from the baking dish into a small bowl.  Add the lemon juice and basil and gently stir together.  Wipe out the baking dish with a paper towel to remove any charred garlic, then lightly spray with non-stick.  Spread 2 cups of the cooked spaghetti squash in an even layer across the bottom of the pan.

Add the shrimp to the tomato bowl and gently stir together.  The shrimp will begin to cook when they come into contact with the hot tomatoes.  Sprinkle with feta and chili flakes, if desired.  Place back in the heated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until shrimp are pink and cooked through.  Serve with crusty bread and a glass of your favorite white wine.   

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