RECIPE: Garlic Parmesan Spinach Spaghetti Squash

IMG_3018Spaghetti squash is one of the weirdest – and best – vegetables that I’ve discovered.  As a self-proclaimed pasta lover looking to cut back on my carbs, you could say I wasn’t too happy.  I wanted to try a spaghetti squash to see if it was really what people say it is and if it would easily become stringy and delicious. Spoiler: it did. So here’s the delicious recipe for it!

1 medium spaghetti squash

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 T (ish) of olive oil

5 oz fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 cup milk

1 T cream cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

salt & pepper to taste

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Then, you need to prepare the spaghetti squash.  They’re not very easy to cut open, but you can prep it a bit to make it work for you.  Using a fork, poke holes around the squash lengthwise along the path you intend to slice it in.  Microwave it for about 4-5 minutes to soften it up a little.  It’ll be hot when you take it out, so be careful when slicing it.  Cut it along the poked holes and it should open easily into 2 halves.  Scoop out the seeds & strings in the middle, kind of like a pumpkin. (Side note: I kept the seeds & roasted them in the oven for about 10 minutes for a nice little snack)

Next, place the squash on a baking sheet and brush olive oil over the cut side of the squash.  Turn it over so it’s face down, and bake it for about 40 minutes.  You’ll know it’s ready when you can poke through the skin with a fork.

Now you can prepare the spinach mixture.  Start by sautéing the garlic in a pan with some olive oil.  Add the spinach and stir until it’s wilted.  It’ll seem like it’s cooked down to nothing, but it’s plenty for this recipe.  I actually did this step the night before, since my spinach needed to be cooked ASAP before going bad.  Once it was cooked we refrigerated it overnight and simply warmed it again in a pan, then continued with the next steps.

Once the spinach is wilted, add your milk.  I actually used almond milk and it turned out just fine, but I imagine a dairy milk with some fat might make it creamier.  Then, add the cream cheese and allow it to start melting.  Add your parmesan and mozzarella next, and stir it all together.  Once all the cheeses melt, you’ll end up with a consistency similar to a spinach dip, which works really well when tossed with the spaghetti squash.  At this point the squash should be nearly ready!  Once it’s finished cooking, take it out of the oven.  It’ll be pretty hot so you might want to grab a oven mitt to handle it.  Use a fork to fluff the squash into individual strands.  Make sure you scrape all the way down and all around the edges to get as much as possible!  Mix in the spinach mixture and bake it again for 20 more minutes, but this time at 350 degrees.  If you wanted to top it with cheese, you could, but I didn’t add any extra and it was cheesy enough for me.

Take it out of the oven and feel free to serve it using the squash as a bowl!  This ended up making way more than I had expected, and I ended up with leftovers that reheated pretty well in the microwave the next day!

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