Let vegetables come to the rescue as an alternative to carbohydrates by adding a new flavor to your favorite comfort food recipes. When you switch to vegetables, you get more nutrient content, including antioxidants, phytochemicals, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals, and fiber.
Spaghetti squash has nothing to do with your favorite Italian dish. The name comes from appearance. Once the inside of the squash is pulled out and cooked, it strongly resembles spaghetti noodles.
And, you can do more with these ‘noodles’ than make spaghetti. When you want a burrito, consider switching the tortilla for spaghetti squash, and you’ll get all the flavor of your favorite burrito without the complex carbohydrates.
Besides, adding that spaghetti squash gives your burrito a new look and extra nutrition.
FOR SPAGHETTI SQUASH
2 medium spaghetti squash, halved, seeds removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
FOR THE FILLING
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-oz.) can black beans
1 ½ cups chopped cherry tomatoes
1 cup corn, canned and drained or frozen
1 cup shredded Monterey jack
½ cup shredded cheddar
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°. Drizzle cut sides of spaghetti squash with oil and season with salt, chili powder, and cumin. Place the cut side of the squash down on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender.
Let cool slightly, and then break up the squash strands using a fork.
Start making the filling while the squash is cooking. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, then stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until the beef is no longer pink.
Be sure to drain the fat when it is done cooking.
Stir taco seasoning into the meat, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the black beans, cherry tomatoes, and corn. Fill each cooked spaghetti squash with beef mixture and top with cheese. Return them to oven to melt the cheese, which will take about 5 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Why Choose Squash?
Most people consider squash a winter vegetable, but it’s actually available all year long. Its bright yellow color adds vibrancy to any meal, and its nutrients add health to your life.
Essential minerals: Along with a healthy dose of vitamins, spaghetti squash gives you important minerals. The most dominant mineral you get is manganese, which helps in the production of healthy bones, tissues, and sex hormones. It also aids in the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels to support metabolic health. The magnesium and potassium in spaghetti squash support blood vessel health, promoting circulation, regular heartbeat, and healthy blood pressure.
Essential vitamins: Spaghetti squash contains vitamin A, which supports liver, lung, heart, and kidney health. In addition to this, you also get vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamins. Of particular note, this squash is one of the richest sources of folate, which is essential to the process of making blood cells as well as converting carbohydrates to energy and the production of DNA.
Dietary fiber: Getting enough fiber is essential to promoting healthy digestion and provides nutrients to your gut bacteria that aid proper digestive processes. Daily fiber also supports healthy cholesterol levels for optimal heart health and leaves you feeling full for longer, so you avoid snacking on unhealthy foods.
Spaghetti squash also contains only a few calories and no fat. As an alternative to carbohydrates, squash will leave you feeling just as full while also delivering essential nutrients to support healthy energy, help you avoid the temptations of unhealthy calorie-dense foods, and support healthy weight management.
Spaghetti squash is a winter favorite and it can now add nutrition and a new spin on a classic comfort meal. Take a break from carb-loaded burritos and try these new spaghetti squash burrito boats.
With the new flavors and amazing health benefits you get from switching over, spaghetti squash will be your new go-to food for comfort and taste.