As a wife, busy mom of three and certified holistic health counselor, Pamela Salzman doesn’t have a ton of free time in her schedule. Her recipes tend to be conducive to her active lifestyle—they’re hearty and filling but easy enough to make on a weeknight. Below, Pamela offers us a taste of her Spaghetti Squash with Cherry Tomato-Basil Sauce, which provides a healthier alternative to pasta and makes the most of in-season veggies!
Spaghetti squash with cherry tomatoes and basil is the perfect transitioning-into-fall recipe—you can take advantage of winter squash and tomatoes while they’re at their prime! This meal reminds me of a pasta dish my mother used to make weekly in the summer with the tomatoes and basil that overflowed from my father’s garden. I still love that dish, but sometimes I need to go easy on the carbs, especially at the end of the day when I’m not as physically active. Like pasta, spaghetti squash is very bland and can take on a number of flavors. It’s also slightly sweet, so it pairs really well with the acidity of the tomatoes and the hint of heat from the crushed red pepper. It’s a light dish that can be made a bit heartier with the addition of grated Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts or chickpeas. Whip up a fresh green salad or some grilled vegetables, and dinner is served!
Spaghetti Squash with Cherry Tomato-Basil Sauce
(serves 4 to 6)
- 1 spaghetti squash, about 3 ¼ pounds
- ¼ cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling on the squash)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 2 ½ to 3 pints), stemmed and halved
- ½ cup basil leaves
- Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Rub the inside of each half with a drizzle of olive oil, then season with ½ teaspoon of salt and desired amount of freshly ground black pepper. Arrange cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes until tender. Set squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle. (Note that a smaller spaghetti squash requires less roasting time and a larger squash requires more.) Check doneness by inserting a fork between the squash’s skin and flesh. If it’s tender and you’re able to create strands with the fork, it’s done.
2. Heat the ¼ cup of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes, then swirl mixture until fragrant. When the garlic just starts to turn golden around the edges, increase the heat to medium. Add tomatoes and two big pinches of salt, plus pepper to taste. Cook tomatoes, stirring until they start to lose their shape (about five minutes). Check seasoning, then remove from heat. Tear or slice basil leaves and stir them into the tomato mixture.
3. Using a fork, pull strands from the squash’s peel. The strands should resemble traditional spaghetti. Put them into a serving bowl and add the tomato sauce. (If you cooked the spaghetti squash in advance and it’s no longer hot, add it to the sauce in the pan and sauté over medium heat until it’s warmed through.) Add grated cheese if desired and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning—since spaghetti squash is rather bland, you’ll need to add extra salt and pepper. Enjoy!