Spaghetti squash with Sun-dried tomatoes and capers

"What!! this is not pasta??" I asked surprised to my office cafeteria vegetarian station server. I had just asked him for a pasta dish that a coworker in front of me had ordered and he was shaking his head saying "no pasta, vegetable only". He pointed me to the menu board written "spaghetti squash with pesto". Hmmm, I had never seen something that looks so much like spaghetti but is not! I was intrigued and ordered one. Well, like any other dish served in our cafe this one was barely appetizing.. pasta (or squash) was overcooked and to hide that fact the server was drenching it in pesto sauce. I could hardly taste the spaghetti squash but it looked interesting enough to give it a second try!

The weekend after that I found myself roaming in our local farmer's market looking for spaghetti squash. I found one vendor carrying one. While I was staring at the squash trying to make sense of how I am going to make "pasta" out of it, the vendor possibly sensed my confusion and stopped by suggesting I try it, its really good and all I have got to do is roast it for 40-50mins and then the strands will come out. I bought one and couldn't wait to try it out!

Spaghetti squash is an interesting vegetable ( It is a very good low-cal veggie alternative for regular spaghetti. Its readily available in winter and is very nutrient rich; taste is mild so it pairs very well with various sauces! This is how I prepared mine:

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 red onion - chopped
3 garlic cloves - minced
1 red pepper - sliced
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes (mine were packed in oil)- chopped
handful of capers
1Tbsp oilve oil
red pepper flakes/salt/pepper
lemon juice

You can either roast the squash or microwave it. My microwave is a low end one so I almost always prefer roasting over microwaving. Farmers market vendor had asked me to cut the squash in half and roast skin-side down but the squash was quite heavy and I found it a bit scary to be able to cut into half without cutting myself :-) So I instead decided to roast the whole squash and cut it later when it is soft. Pierce the squash with knife a few times for the stream to release during roasting. Preheat the oven for 400F. Roast the squash for ~50min until a pierced knife comes out easily. Do not overcook or you will have mushy spaghetti.Roast for lesser time for a more al-dente "pasta".

Let the squash cool completely and then cut into half. Remove the seeds and using a fork spoon out spaghetti like strands. This is how it looked when I was removing strands:

Any standard pasta dressing would work wonderfully; I wanted to try one without any tomatoes or pesto based sauce to taste the squash on its own. This is what I did: Heat olive oil; saute onions-garlic-red bell peppers-sun dried tomatoes for a few minutes. Mix the spaghetti strands. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon juice and serve!

I will surely be making this squash over and over again as a guilt-free pasta :)