It’s finally spring! For me, that means it’s the perfect time to combine two seasonal foods: spaghetti squash (a winter squash) and asparagus (a spring vegetable). I’ve already written about my love of substituting butternut squash for creamy sauce, and this recipe is similar in that it’s delicious without being too rich.
This is also super easy! I don’t know about you, but I used to think cooking with squash was complicated or time-consuming. It’s not! The only real time commitment is roasting the squash but that can be done ahead of time or in the microwave. I generally prefer roasting any type of squash or potato in the oven whenever possible because I’ve found it cooks more evenly and the flavors are more developed. However, sometimes we just need to get food on the table, so thank goodness for the microwave. #realfoodforreallife
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 3 cloves garlic
- About 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- grated Parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese, like Pecorino, Romano, etc.)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (Even if you’re microwaving your squash you still need to put the asparagus in the oven. It takes significantly less time, though – about 12-15 minutes to the squash’s 40.)
- Cut open your squash lengthwise. This can be difficult, but I’ve found applying even pressure to your knife works better than hacking at the squash. Scoop out the seeds and put the squash in the oven on the top rack (this is important for later) setting a timer for about 40 minutes. (Snack alert! The seeds can be roasted. It’s in the same family as pumpkin, so similar recipes and preparation should work.)
- Wash the asparagus and trim the woody ends off with your knife. The asparagus stalks I used were quite thick, so I cut them lengthwise. If your stalks are thin, skip that step.
- Smash and quarter three cloves of garlic. Toss the asparagus, squash, oil and garlic in a bowl with salt and pepper. (If you’re oil-free, you can skip the oil here. I like the flavor it adds.)
- Transfer the asparagus and garlic to a sheet pan with your hands or tongs. I find that if I just pour it all on the pan there’s too much oil and it gets too smoky and crispy while cooking. When your squash has about 15 minutes left to cook, put the asparagus in the oven on a lower rack. (Remember when I wrote to put the squash on the top rack? This is why.)
- Zest and juice your lemon and Parmesan cheese. Prepackaged lemon juice and shredded cheese also work here if you’re keeping it simple. If you’re adding pasta to the dish, now is a good time to start that on the stove.
- Once your squash is finished, let it cool for a few minutes before scooping out all those lovely strands of goodness with a wooden spoon.
- Combine the squash, asparagus, lemon, zest, cheese, tossing it to combine. Add a bit of fresh parsley and extra cheese (#ilovecheese) to the top and serve hot.
I made this on a Sunday and ate it for lunch at work for a couple of days, paired with a spinach salad. It keeps in the fridge in a sealed container, but it’s best served within about two days.
This is just one of about a million ways to prepare spaghetti squash. What’s yours? Share in the comments and have a great week, RWC!