Monday, April 26, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Spaghetti Squash with a Quinoa Ragu

Spaghetti squash is one of those amazing things the earth created that is so crazy-delish and crazy-easy to prepare, you'll wonder why you haven't been using this as a base for pasta sauce for your entire life!  As a gluten-free gal, I am always looking for great pasta alternatives and spaghetti squash has almost ALL of the gluten-free pastas beat, hands down.  It can hold up to heavy sauces, but has a delicate enough flavor to hold up to lighter dressing, say a lemon, thyme, and olive oil coat...The options are as endless as what you have chillin' in your fridge.

Spaghetti Squash with a Quinoa Ragu
Serves 4-6 hungry peeps
One large spaghetti squash, 5-6 pounds
Extra virgin olive oil
3 stalks celery, cleaned and diced
1 large onion, cleaned and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper
1 can diced low sodium tomatoes
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato paste
1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 cup red or white quinoa
Healthy squirt of Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 t crushed red pepper
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1 bay leaf
Shredded Parmesan to garnish if you wish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Now it's time to squash wrestle.  I will warn you that the spaghetti squash can be a wiley lil' bugger, so use *CAUTION* and *COMMON SENSE* when bashing this open...and you will need to bash.  The most effective way I've found to slice the squash open is to take a heavy cleaver and carefully work the point of it through the rind and into the flesh of the squash.  Work it in until you can't push the cleaver any farther and it seems stuck.  Then take both hands on the handle of the cleaver and bash it down firmly on your chopping board.  This should take the cleaver clean through the squash!  You should have two halves of squash and all fingers left. 

Turn the squash face down on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and place in your preheated oven.  It will need about and hour to bake, so you might want to lollygag with your ragu.

45 minutes before you take your squash out of the oven heat a generous squirt of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery.  Add a little salt to draw the sugars out of the onions to help them soften and caramelize. (FYI this is called a mirepoix, shi shi shoo shoo, right?)  While this is working, start a small saucepan with two cups of water boiling with the cup of rinsed quinoa.  Make sure to rinse it well since the powder on the quinoa is full of saponins that can taste bitter and gross.  Once it's at a boil, reduce to medium heat and cover until the quinoa has absorbed all the water.

Add the bay leaf, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper to the mirepoix along with the can of un-drained crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Add Bragg's and pepper to taste.  Add the quinoa and mix until well incorporated.  Let heat on low while you prep your spaghetti squash.

Remove the squash from the oven and turn over the face-down slices with an oven mitt.  You'll need the mitt to hold the slice while you use a fork to scrape the flesh out of the rind and into a medium bowl.  Continue until all the flesh is separated and stringy.  Dress with a little olive oil, Bragg's and pepper.  Portion into bowls and ladle a generous portion of the quinoa ragu on top.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese if you're vegetarian.  Enjoy!


  1. Oooo that looks good!

    I am totally envious of your peeps :)

    I think I will have to try this one soon. I remember I made your goat cheese recipe one and that was bangin'

    I still have the squash sitting on my counter...I hate to admit this, but I don't know how to cut it hahaha pretty sad, huh?

  2. Cutting squash can be a scary undertaking!


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