Quick Spaghetti Squash with Heart Healthy Pesto

Bag items: spaghetti squash, avocado, red pepper, fresh basil, lemon or lime, garlic

As much as I love squash, I sometimes let my impatience get the better of me, and I don’t bother to cook it during the work week. That is, until I discovered how easy and tasty it is to cook it in the microwave! No need to turn the oven up over 400 degrees and make the house too warm, and no need to wait 40 minutes for it to cook. This baby is done in about 10 microwave minutes!

Now if you’re thinking to yourself, “you know, I think I heard something about how microwaving isn’t good for your food,” I’d encourage you to read this article.   It has a lot of sound science behind the benefits of microwaving your food and how to do it in the safest way that preserves the most nutrients in your food.

Moving on to the good stuff-how you can get a quick, low-carb spaghetti squash with pesto in all of about 15 minutes. Yep, 15 minutes.

Start by cleaning your squash: slice it lengthwise, then spray it with cooking spray or brush with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

spaghetti_seeded

Place it in a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with a lid:

spaghetti_dish

A few minutes later, and you are almost ready for dinner!

spaghetti_up

While the squash is cooking, assemble your pesto ingredients:

spaghetti_pestoprep

Then simply toss all of the ingredients in a food processor and whirl away. Delicious sauce in minutes!!

spaghetti_redpepper

When the squash has cooled enough to pick up, scrape the spaghetti-like strands out of the skin with a fork:

spaghetti_fork

Put the squash and the sauce together, and you have this: a delicious, heart-healthy (thanks to all of the monounsaturated fat in the avocado), dairy-free, gluten-free dinner!

spaghetti_final

Quick Spaghetti Squash with Heart Healthy Pesto

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
salt and pepper

Pesto:
1 ripe avocado
1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on how garlicky you like your pesto
3/4 c. fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 red pepper, roasted (optional)

Instructions

  • Slice your squash length-wise, then seed each half. Place in a microwave-safe dish, and spray/brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Top the dish with a lid, leaving a little space for venting.
  • Place in the microwave for 3-minute increments. It will take between 3 and 4 rounds of this to make sure your squash is cooked through, depending on how hot your microwave is and how big your squash is. Be sure to poke it with a knife or fork to check for doneness after each 3-minute round. Alternate placing the squash cut side up and cut side down and in the dish. When a knife or fork easily passes through the flesh of the squash, it’s done. Place it aside until it is cool enough to pick up.
  • When it has cooled slightly, use a fork to scrape the strands out of the squash skin.
  • Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Top with additional pepper strips and basil.
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