Quick, Cozy Comfort Food: Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Feta
Confession time: Squash isn’t my favorite thing, whether it’s a summer or winter variety. (Have I said that already? Probably that last time I wrote a post about squash.)
But you know, I’m warming up to it. Especially now that the cooler weather has come to stay for a few months. And especially when the winter squash is spaghetti squash.
I think my lukewarm feelings toward winter squash stem from the fact that they’re tough to cut. Intimidating, right? Even when I’ve spent a lot of years in kitchens, and even when I have a lovely, freshly sharpened chef’s knife, cutting through the skin of hard squash still freaks me out a bit.
But I found a simple trick which has, so far, saved me from needing any first aid: Cut a tiny bit off each end before you slice the squash lengthwise. This way, you flatten out the end that’s going to sit on your cutting board, and you don’t have to slice through a thick stem at the top. Whew!
I’ve used spaghetti squash before as a substitute for pasta. It does a great job as a grain-free stand-in, especially with a chunky tomato sauce. But I was after a lighter dish, although something that would still qualify as comfort food. It is bucketing rain outside these days.
Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Feta hits the spot. There’s a very slight nod to Greek cuisine, kind of like a spanakopita without the phyllo—and with spaghetti squash added. (Okay, I suppose it’s only vaguely like spanakopita, but you see where I’m headed.)
The great thing is that you can make this dish in less than an hour, and almost all of it is roasting time. You could even roast the squash ahead. If you do that, it’s a dinner you can pull together in less than 20 minutes. Talk about speedy comfort food. And it’s good for you. Yes!
I like that this spaghetti squash-spinach-feta dish is easy, healthy and satisfying, and requires only a fairly minimal effort. Sure, the tang of feta cheese is always welcome to add some brightness, but the squash itself was really flavorful. I added a pinch of nutmeg and found it added a lovely background note. It is not strong enough to pick out a lot of spice, but enough of a hint to give your tastebuds a little extra to ponder.
And, who knows, with a bit more cutting practice, I won’t be intimidated by tough winter squash anymore. Now wouldn’t that be something?
Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Feta
Serving Size: 2
Roasted spaghetti squash combines with the Greek flavors of feta and spinach to make this a simple, healthy, flavorful dinner. It is effortless to put together, and if you roast the squash ahead of time, the rest of it takes only minutes to prepare.
- 1 2-pound spaghetti squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces spinach
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 3-1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- freshly cracked pepper
- optional garnish:
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
How to Make Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Feta
First, roast the squash:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice a small bit off of each end of the squash so that both ends are flat. Stand one of the flat ends on a cutting board and slice lengthwise.
- Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon, and place the halves on a foil-lined baking sheet. (You can put them skin side up or down; I tried both ways and found no difference in how they turned out.)
- Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper before placing in the oven.
- Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces all the way through the skin. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using a kitchen fork, scrape the squash flesh into a small bowl and set aside.
For the spinach and feta:
6. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add garlic and green onion, and saute for a minute or until the garlic has softened slightly.
7. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan and mix it in. (I find tongs are a particularly good tool for this.)
8. Add the spinach and sauté for about 30 seconds or until wilted. Remove from heat, add nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of oregano and stir in.
9. Add the feta cheese and stir to melt—season to taste with pepper.
10. For serving, cut a strip of spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and place it on each serving plate. Spoon the spaghetti squash and spinach over the skin. As an optional garnish, sprinkle each plate with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and a teaspoon of fresh oregano.
If you roast the squash ahead of time, scrape the flesh out of its skin and keep it refrigerated in a covered container.
This recipe is reprinted with permission from Ant & Anise.
We’re Eve and Kris, an aunt and a niece. We love food. And while we have a lot in common in our approach, we also have our differences. So why not hash it out in a blog? Ant and Anise is a conversation about food in our lives, past and present. We like real food that doesn’t take hours to prepare but has something unexpected about it. It helps if it’s pretty, too.