Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Repice: Spaghetti Squash Salad

It’s weird for me to consider a salad “recipe.” I have a hard time following recipes in general, and especially not a salad one. To me, salads are about the vegetables in your fridge and the dressing category you’re in the mood for (mayo-y or olive oil-y, sweet or salty). I tend to approximate, ignore ingredients that I don’t have, make often-inaccurate substitutions, and “fix” the recipe to accommodate my culinary preferences. I’ve had some success in doing so, but not enough to keep me from resolving to follow recipes more conscientiously. In that spirit, here’s my formal recipe. I got into spaghetti squash just recently and stumbled upon this idea while throwing together ingredients from my fridge. In the structured, measured way of “handfuls,” “pinches” and “bunches,” of course. Occasional cups and spoons, but no “ounces” involved.



1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
2 handfuls (or 1 ½ cups) of cherry tomatoes (or 2 stem tomatoes, diced)
1 medium red onion, diced
2 handfuls arugula
1 avocado, cubed


Juice from ½ small lime
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp salt
¼ cup olive oil (or to taste)


1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise. (First, eat your wheaties, ‘cause this can be tough). Remove seeds and pulp. Be thorough about the pulp removal. I wasn’t, the first time around, and it led to a bunch of the strands still being connected to the pulp after cooking. It’s not chewable and looks gross.

2. Bake, rind side up for 30-40 minutes at 375 F.

3. Once the squash is tender, remove from oven and let cool. Then separate the strands by running a fork through the flesh. It’s pretty cool the first time you do it.

The rest is easy (it is salad, after all). Combine the spaghetti squash with the rest of the salad ingredients. Add the dressing ingredients. You can prepare the dressing separately and add later, but I find this just gets more dishes dirty.

Playing around with it (other options):

  • Add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Add ½ tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
  • Replace the 1 tbsp of salt with 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • Add diced cucumbers, 3 tbsp feta cheese (or as much as you prefer- can’t go wrong with feta), ½ cup pitted kalamata olives. Don’t replace salt with soy sauce if you do this, though, and get rid of the salt in the dressing altogether if the olives are salty enough.
  • Add 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • Remove arugula. Add baby spinach. Or no greens at all. I made this last week and wanted greens, but had neither spinach nor arugula nor green gummy worms. I did have broccoli sitting in my fridge for an almost unacceptably long period of time. I removed a few florets, chopped finely, and it added some green and some crunch. Delicious.
Spaghetti Squash/Salad: Tips
  • At the grocery store: Choose an even light yellow squash; no bruises.
  • Making its way home: Store whole at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
  • Making it: Spaghetti squash can also be prepared by steaming (after cutting it lengthwise, and in quarters if you want shorter strands or to fit it in the pot, and steaming until tender- about 10 to 15 min), boiling or even microwaving. Can be baked whole by piercing it with a fork a few times throughout, and leaving it in the oven for a bit longer (about an hour).
  • FYI: the lime in the dressing keeps the avocado from going dark, which keeps the salad looking scrumptious, as they say, even as leftovers or next-day lunch.

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