I often get asked by my friends what I cook when I don’t want to cook. And, yes, that does happen to me sometimes! I usually rely on left overs. I truly believe that is one of the first steps you can take in beginning to eat better on a regular basis. Make food that can be stored for a few days, or even better, takes to freezing and reheating well.
The other thing I do to keep my inspiration going in terms of cooking is belonging to a CSA – community supported agriculture (link on wikipedia about it). The short of it is that I get a box of organic produce from a local Minnesota farm delivered right to my grocery store every week. We just finished up our 10th week of the summer share with Featherstone Farm (Oh how I LOVE THEM!) and are heading into the fall share. It is truly the ultimate answer to the notorious “what’s for dinner?” question. The answer is staring back at you from that box in the form of nutrient rich food. A CSA can be daunting when you think about having to use up all that food in a week, but I feel like it frees me. A lot of spaghetti squash this week? Well, let’s run with that!
If looking at a bundle of produce and coming up with a plan of how to put it all together daunts you (or simply doesn’t interest you), type a list of ingredients into google and behold the multitude of food bloggers (like yours truly) providing you with options for dinner.
Thus, as many of my posts have been lately, this one is also inspired by my CSA. My box was full of tomatoes and spaghetti squash among other things.
There are two ways to cook a spaghetti squash; whole or cut in half. Some chefs are very particular about cooking it a specific way. I lean towards cutting it in half, removing the seeds, and cooking it face down. The edges of the squash brown a little, which is delightful for the eyes and mouth. However, the picture here does not show a squash cooked this way. My son needed my attention as I was testing this recipe, and thus the squash went in, halved, seeds in, and top up. The world continued to spin.
Pesto is simple and beautiful. Why mess with greatness? I have been making this vegan (dairy-free) pesto for years. It is by Katrina at Gluten Free Goddess. All the ingredients and instructions are in my recipe below as well.
Also, there are two different ways to serve this meal. You can serve it with the pesto placed on top of the squash, with the tomatoes on top of that, which I prefer in looks, but it’s harder to eat that way. The second option is to use a fork to scrap the cooked squash flesh to create the “spaghetti” strands, mix the pesto with the strands, and finish it off with the tomatoes. This version is easier to eat.
Spaghetti Squash Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 small - medium spaghetti squash
- 5 cups tomatoes slicer or cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2 cups fresh parsley
- 1 cup pine nuts
- ½ cup olive oil a little more may be needed
- 2-4 garlic cloves
- parsley and pistachios for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Place the squash face down on a baking sheet at roast for 25-35 minutes depending on size. The squash are easily pierced with a fork when done.
- If working with slicer tomatoes, dice them into ½" pieces. Be sure to get as much of the water and seeds out of the pieces as possible.
- If working with cherry tomatoes, slice them in half.
- Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. (Try to cook with the squash if you have enough room, otherwise place foil over the squash after they are done, while the tomatoes are roasting.)
- Place basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and garlic cloves in a food processor and blend until desired texture is acheived (15 seconds or so). Taste for extra need of garlic or olive oil. Parsely can also be added to give it more depth of flavor.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
- Once the squash have been removed from oven and have had a minute to cool slightly, use a fork to scrape the flesh to make long strands.
- Divide the pesto equally among the squash halves and mix it in well.
- Place the roasted tomatoes on top of the pesto, squash mixture.
- Garnish with parsley, pistachios (optional), or even parmesan reggiano if you can easily digest dairy.
- After tomatoes are removed from oven, drain as much water from them before adding to final dish.