Before you skip over this post or write off spaghetti squash entirely, let me assure you that this recipe was made with spaghetti squash in mind, and it is not a substitute for anything here.
It kind of irks me a little bit when people try to sub in healthier alternatives for classic foods. Black beans will never be beef, and spaghetti squash will never be spaghetti. I do, however, love a good black bean burger, and spaghetti squash, when cooked to display its own merits, is good. I think the key to enjoying these foods is to use them for what they are, and not think you're going to get a perfect substitute for a food you'd rather be eating.
This recipe, found on Pinterest, is a really good vegetarian main dish. There are a lot of flavors going on, and it doesn't use a lot of oil, so it's lower in fat and really packed with nutrition. I used stage cooking to bring everything together fairly quickly the night I made it. What does that mean? Well, I cooked the chickpeas ahead of time in a slow cooker. I roasted the squash that morning, when I was getting ready for work, shredded it, and refrigerated it for use later that night. I toasted the pine nuts in a pan (watch them!) that morning while making breakfast. IF I had been smart, I would have also de-stemmed and washed the kale ahead of time. This breaks up the cooking process so that it's not T minus 2 hours until dinner.
Spaghetti Squash With Kale and Chickpeas
slightly altered from Love and Lemons Blog
feeds 2 with a little left over, in my experience
1 smaller spaghetti squash
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of chile flakes
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of chopped kale leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (or capers or olives)
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
Salt & pepper
Optional: a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice your squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the middle. Place the squash on a baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour or until the flesh is tender and you can scrape noodle-like strands with a fork. (If your squash is difficult to cut, roast it whole for the first 20 minutes until it softens a bit, then cut and continue). Remove squash from the oven, let it cool slightly and use a fork to scrape the squash into strands. (set aside).
In a large skillet over medium heat, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan, then add the shallot, garlic, chile flakes, salt and pepper. Once the shallot starts to soften, add the chickpeas and cook for a few minutes until they turn lightly golden brown. Add the kale leaves, lemon juice, and then give everything in the pan a good stir.
Once the kale is partially wilted, add the squash strands, a little grated cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and more salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to incorporate. Remove from heat and top with toasted pine nuts and extra grated cheese.
- If your kale is not wilting quickly, make sure your heat is above medium (somewhere between medium and medium high works best for me), and also add in a tablespoon or so of water at a time. The steam the water creates as it hits the pan really helps me to wilt and soften the kale.
- We still had some oven dried tomatoes in the fridge, so we used those. So good! If you use fully dried tomatoes, you may want to reconstitute them in some heated water or other liquid before adding them to the pan.