Have you been looking for a fun Meatless Monday recipe? These Mediterranean spaghetti squash boats are perfect for that. They're stuffed with the Mediterranean flavors of cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, chickpeas, parsley, and feta cheese - a great addition to Meatless Monday or any weeknight meal!
Nutrition and Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash has been exploding in popularity because it's the low carb very distant cousin of spaghetti. While it doesn't taste like spaghetti, the strands of spaghetti squash are certainly a fun, gluten-free alternative to pasta. And like other squash varieties, it's packed with nutrition.
Spaghetti squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. Half a a whole spaghetti squash contains 7 grams of fiber (source). Fiber provides so many benefits for gut health and heart health.
Mediterranean Diet Food List
The Mediterranean Diet has been studied for its many health benefits, but have you ever wondered what foods are included? Here is a brief list of foods that fall under the Mediterranean Diet:
- Vegetables: Asparagus, artichokes, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, garlic, leafy greens, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, zucchini.
- Fruits: Apples, apricots, bananas, berries, dates, figs, grapes, lemons, oranges, pears, pomegranates.
- Starches: Barley, bulgur, buckwheat, couscous, oatmeal, pita, potatoes, quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes, yams.
- Cheese: Feta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese
- Legumes: Black beans, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, white beans
- Poultry and lean meats
- Seafood: Salmon, sardines, shell fish, white fish
- Healthy fats: Almonds, avocados, avocado oil, cashews, extra virgin olive oil, hazelnuts, olives, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini, walnuts.
- Herbs and spices: Basil, bay leaves, cinnamon, mint, parsley, paprika, oregano, rosemary.
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How to Roast Spaghetti Squash
When I first bought a spaghetti squash, I'm not going to lie - I was pretty confused about how to cook it. But after repeated effort, I found that this is the best method for roasting spaghetti squash in the oven.
- First, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife (this is key!), cut the squash in half lengthwise. Then, with a large spoon, scoop out the seeds in the middle. You can either toss them out or roast them to enjoy later - up to you!
- Brush the insides of the spaghetti squash halves with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle some salt on top.
- Place the squash halves face down on the parchment paper. Roast for 35-45 minutes, or until fork-tender.
- When it’s done cooking, let the squash cool for a few minutes. Flip it over and use a fork to scrape the strands off the side of the squash. It should look somewhat similar to spaghetti strands!
Ingredients in Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash
- Spaghetti squash. The squash is what takes the longest to cook, but you'll be so glad you did it!
- Extra virgin olive oil. I love sauteing vegetables in olive oil or avocado oil.
- Red onion and garlic. These add so much flavor and aroma to the dish.
- Bell pepper. Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, adding to the nutritional profile of this dish.
- Cherry tomatoes. I just love the flavor of cherry tomatoes when they "burst" after being cooked.
- Spinach. This leafy green cooks down quickly so add it last to the pan.
- Chickpeas. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) provide the plant-based protein in this dish.
- Feta cheese. Providing a tangy and salty flavor, feta cheese balances out the dish.
- Parsley. This herb provides a beautiful and fresh garnish. Add it last to make the dish pop!
Love squash? Then you'll love my most popular squash recipes:
- Lemon Ricotta Butternut Squash Toast
- Butternut Squash and Farro Salad
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- ½ tsp salt divided
- ½ medium red onion chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper chopped
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned) drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp oregano
- 3 cups spinach
- 2 oz feta cheese crumbled
- parsley for garnish
- Roast the spaghetti squash. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the inside of the spaghetti squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle ¼ tsp salt on top. Place the squash halves face down on the parchment paper. Roast for 35-45 minutes, or until fork-tender. When it’s done cooking, flip the squash over. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then use a fork to scrape the strands off the side of the squash.
- While the spaghetti squash is roasting, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and cook until somewhat translucent.
- Add bell peppers, tomatoes, chickpeas, garlic, oregano, and ¼ tsp salt, and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until slightly wilted.
- Top the spaghetti squash with the veggie and chickpea mixture. Serve and garnish with feta cheese and parsley. Enjoy!
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