I’ll be brutally honest – and this is just my personal opinion – but I’m tired of seeing people talk about spaghetti squash as if it’s THE ultimate substitution for spaghetti because let’s be real: it’s nothing like it. Spaghetti squash is amazing, which is why I would love to see more people glorify it for what it actually is and stop making a sad and weird attempt at pasta out of it. Zucchini noodles? Yes. That shit works. It has the same length, shape, and density as linguini. If you’ve been using spaghetti squash as a sub-in for spaghetti and nothing but, please step outside of that box. You will be so happy that you did.
But I mean…if you really love it, and it’s your thing, then that’s cool.
Upon digging into this Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash I realized that living on a mostly plant-based diet is, in fact, going to be exciting and full of surprises. I could not believe how tasty this dish was. It was like eating a bowl of nacho toppings with a fork – which is basically a dream, am I right?
To add to the mega-delicious-yet-totally-guilt-free factor: that dollop of sour cream isn’t actually sour cream – it’s plain Greek yogurt. And the melted cheese? Well, that’s definitely cheese, but I only used 1/4 cup per squash boat of shredded pepper jack and it created the ooey-gooey mess I was longing for. So, I win. Really. I feel like a winner in this.
And on a scientific note, this dish is a great way to get your iron on because, albeit the beans are a non-heme source of iron, I fried them in a cast iron skillet with some Vitamin C to increase that absorption. BOOM. Ironed.
Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil divided
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 of one yellow onion diced
- 1 jalapeno minced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1/2 cup of black olives sliced
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz can of black beans or kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup pepper jack mozzarella, or cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons of sliced scallions for garnish
- 2 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.
- Carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half. I find it helps to first slice off the end with the stem, because it's near impossible to slice through.
- Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on each halve.
- Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- While the squash bakes, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet (cast iron if you've got one) over medium heat.
- Add the onion, jalapeño, and bell pepper.
- Simmer until the onions are translucent, stirring often, approx. 5 minutes.
- Add the beans and the olives.
- Add all of the spices, and stir until everything is evenly coated.
- Add the tomato sauce, mix, and bring the heat to low. Let it simmer until the squash has finished baking.
- Once the squash is ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle (or handle while wearing oven mitts, if you're impatient like me).
- Drag a fork across the inner flesh of the squash to string it. Do this until you're close to the outer skin of the squash - but definitely leave some room in between.
- Empty the spaghetti squash into the skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Carefully spoon the spaghetti squash mixture back into the squash halves, or "boats" as everyone likes to call them.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the tops of the boats evenly and put back in the oven for approx. 8 - 10 minutes or until the cheese fully melts.
- Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream and garnish with sliced scallions before serving.