Spiced Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas
Spaghetti squash is a type of squash that when cooked, easily separates into spaghetti like strands. For the gluten-free, low-carb, or low-calorie, this is a must (1 cup of cooked squash has about 50 calories). This is a vegetable, not pasta, so adjust your expectations on "spaghetti". It has a very mild flavor so pair it with bold sauces and condiments, and don't be afraid to really season the dish: more is more!
Inspired by Debbie, chickpeas are cooked in eastern spices to add flavor, protein and bulk to the dish. If you have a microwave, you can actually cook the squash in there and have this ready in ~20 minutes (see cooking note below). If you don't, you can cook this in an oven (my preference), which will take slightly longer but will still be mostly hands-off time.
The picture is slightly different from the recipe below (essentially, less toppings in the picture). Again, more is more, so don't be afraid to add crunch, texture and contrast in whatever form you have at hand!
Spaghetti Squash Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil, ghee or butter, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric or curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika, cayenne or chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder, or freshly minced ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 garlic, sliced thinly
1/2 white onion, minced
1/3 cup toasted pepita seeds, pistachios or slivered almonds, for serving
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for serving (sub with cubed apples, or dried cranberries)
1 chile serrano, seeds removed, sliced thinly, for serving
1/2 avocado, diced, for serving
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (cilantro, mint, dill)
other recommended toppings: hemp seeds, feta cheese, toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, lime, leftover greens and veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach), red pepper flakes
Pre-heat oven to 375°F
Work with a sharp, sturdy knife and slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, cutting from stem to tail. Be careful - it is very hard! If you are having trouble see note below to roast whole in oven or microwave. Scrape out seeds. Place face side down on an oiled baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, until squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork through the flesh.
Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas. Heat olive oil, ghee or butter in a pan over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add minced garlic and onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add chickpeas. salt, ginger and spices and cook until flavors combine. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
When squash is tender, remove from oven and let cool for a bit. Remove additional seeds and stringy flesh, then using a fork, gently pull the squash flesh from the peel, working horizontally, separating flesh into strands.
Toss chickpeas and spaghetti squash in a large bowl, taste and adjust seasoning. Add pepita seeds, pomegranate, fresh chile and avocado, and drizzle with additional olive oil. Top with fresh herbs and add any other of the recommended toppings.
Serves 2-3 as main, 4 as side
Roasting the Squash Whole: pierce squash all over with a knife, about 1 inch deep, to prevent bursting. Place on a baking sheet and roast until a fork can easily pierce through, ~1 hour. Slice in half and let steam release. Carefully remove the seeds and stringy flesh, then scrape squash flesh as directed above.
Cook Squash in Microwave: pierce squash all over with a knife, about 1 inch deep, to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6-7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave 8-10 minutes more, until squash feels slightly soft when pressed. Cool squash for 5 minutes. Slice in half and let steam release. Carefully remove the seeds and stringy flesh, then scrape squash flesh as directed above.