The mere thought of squash makes me want to bust out my, most-very-special, 90’s dance moves. I love it. I love it so much that when I put one in my grocery cart, a little piece of my heart, which is specially-devoted to all of nature’s most wonderful foods, warms with contentment. Sometimes, I even catch myself smugly smirking to myself.
My most recent squash-escapade involved the spaghetti variety. I can’t rule out the possibility that spaghetti squash is the most fun of all the squash cousins. ‘El spaghetti would, undoubtedly, be the one to carve-up the dance floor alongside me, whilst we macarena the night away at the squash-family reunion. It’s just that kind of a guy: never one to disappoint.
Having made my vegan meatballs, I decided that I was going to make a spaghetti squash & meatball gratin. And, boyy, was it ever delish. I think that it running-manned all the way across my tastebuds and down my esophagus. How’s that for talent?
This can definitely be made with meaty-meatballs, but the little vegan-wonders worked marvelously.
Although the spaghetti squash is very much aware of his squash-in-spaghetti-clothing status, the little guy is a lovely alternative to pasta.
Just so you know: I’m chair-dancing as I reminisce about my time spent with my spaghetti squash & meatball gratin. True story.
Spaghetti Squash & Meatball-Gratin
Spaghetti squash (one squash will serve two people)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pasta sauce (your favourite store-bought brand, or homemade)
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut your spaghetti squash(es) in half lengthwise.
3. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard (or roast them as you would pumpkin seeds!).
4. Lightly oil the flesh of both squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flesh side down, side-by-side in a baking pan.
5. Place in the oven and bake until soft. Somewhere between 40 minutes-1 hour. Don’t worry too much about it, it’ll be fabulous even if you “overbake” it a little bit. Just don’t underbake it, or you won’t be able to separate the squash strands easily.
6. Once they are tender to your touch, remove from the oven and cool until you can handle them easily.
7. Flip them right side up and, using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash until the start to separate from the shell like little spaghetti strands. Try to keep the shell intact but get all the lovely spaghetti free from its shell.
8. Spoon a little bit of pasta sauce into each squash half and stir it around to mix it into the squash strands.
9. Top each squash half with a few vegan meatballs, some more sauce, and then cover it lightly with grated sharp cheddar cheese.
10. Bake in the 375 degree oven for another 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted. If you want a brown top, put it under the broiler for a short stint, being careful not to burn the cheese.
11. Serve them in the squash shells for extra cuteness points.