The first time I tried spaghetti squash, I thought it was the worst thing I’d ever eaten.
It was bland and crunchy and in no way whatsoever resembled pasta.
I’d been duped. The people who thought this nasty gourd was a fair substitute for actual spaghetti were clearly out of their minds.
I hated spaghetti squash.
Except I actually didn’t.
The problem was that when I raised my fork to my lips, I’d been expecting a noodle and what I got was a squash. So the issue wasn’t with the spaghetti squash, it was with my own expectations.
The more I ate spaghetti squash, I realized that I actually liked it, as long as I wasn’t comparing it to real pasta (because nothing can compare to real pasta, come on). Spaghetti squash can stand on its own merits as a vegetable. It shines when it isn’t considered a second class substitute for something “better” and more delicious.
The Universe sends us life lessons in the most unexpected places, even in unusual veggie side dishes. My once reviled spaghetti squash is now one of my favorite foods, and one of my favorite metaphors.
When we release our expectations about how things are going to be, how they “should” be, and when we stop comparing and looking for something “better” than what we have in the present moment, we open ourselves up to a multitude of new and exciting delights right here and now.
Never tried spaghetti squash? Think you don’t like it?
Try it like this and you might change your mind.
Spaghetti Squash Recipe
- Slice one whole spaghetti squash lengthwise down the center. Scoop the seeds from the centers of the two halves.
- Place the squash halves on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silicone mat (makes clean up easier). Drizzle the squash with olive oil (or oil of choice, ghee is nice too) and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Bake the squash at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool to the touch.
- Scrape out the stringy insides—and do not expect them to taste like pasta because they don’t.
My recipe leaves the squash a little undercooked, because I prefer it “al dente,” or somewhat crunchy. From here you can eat the squash as is, top it with beans, lentil stew or any kind of sauce that you like. Spaghetti squash is on the bland side, so every kind of flavor profile complements it nicely.
Try it with a nice Thai-style peanut sauce for something different.
I like to briefly sauté the baked squash flesh in olive oil, crushed red peppers and fresh garlic. Top with minced fresh parsley and finely chopped, toasted walnuts for an amazing, vegan treat.
Author: Victoria Fedden
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: dollen at Flickr