Ladies and gentleman, I would like to introduce my dear friend, Bernard.
We met at the Bayou City Farmers’ Market two weeks ago. This unassuming, unidentified squash is something of a country bumpkin, so he’s a little shy around the camera. Fortunately, I convinced him to share his good side with you.
Then I sneaked this shot of his bad side when he wasn’t looking. Shhhh…don’t tell.
Now, you might be thinking, “Gee, this Bernard guy doesn’t look like the brightest gourd in the garden.”
Three days ago, I would have agreed with you.
But not anymore.
This is one sneaky squash. I mentioned before that he is unidentified (stupid me forgot to ask the farmer what kind of vegetable I was buying!). If you had to take a stab at the answer, though, what would you guess? Some kind of winter squash? Maybe with flesh something like a butternut squash? Yeah, that’s what I thought too..
Oh, how wrong I was! Would you believe that Bernard turned out to be . . .
A SPAGHETTI SQUASH???
In what universe does a spaghetti squash look like this?
It may sound like I was upset by this turn of events. Not at all! In fact, I adore spaghetti squash and was thrilled beyond belief. But, I’ll be honest, the revelation threw me for a loop. I didn’t realize what I had on my hands until the squash was cooked. I had cut the head and neck off, then sliced the body in half lengthwise. I placed one half in the oven whole, and the other half I cut into thick slices before baking. When we sat down for dinner and I took a chunk out of a slice with my fork — only then did I perceive the truth.
Since this puppy made a lot of spaghetti, I had plenty leftover for the next night’s dinner when I prepared my favorite vegetable marinara sauce. I thought I’d share it with you here. Although we ate the dish vegetarian-style, it tastes wonderful with some sliced grilled chicken breast on top. Of course, you could also serve the marinara over real pasta or gluten-free pasta. But I’m stickin’ to the spaghetti squash. It really is one of my favorite meals. Ah, spaghetti squash bliss.
Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Vegetable Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, butter, ghee, or olive oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
3 large carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
4 medium stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 regular can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (10 oz) mild or regular Rotel tomatoes (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 heaping tablespoon fresh, chopped basil OR 1 rounded teaspoon dried basil
1 heaping tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano OR 1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano
1 large spaghetti squash, baked OR whole wheat or gluten-free pasta
Grilled, sliced chicken breast (optional)
Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When hot, stir in the garlic and onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 or 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the fresh herbs. If using dried herbs, add them now.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until all vegetables are very soft. If using fresh herbs, add them now.
Process the sauce in batches in a blender until smooth. Reheat in the pot if necessary, then serve over spaghetti squash or pasta. Add the grilled chicken on top, if desired, and garnish with fresh basil.
NOTE: If you prefer a non-spicy sauce, simply use 2 large cans of diced tomatoes (28 oz each).
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