Meat Free Monday: Baked Caprese Spaghetti Squash

This Caprese Spaghetti Squash is a simple healthier dish that you could use as rotation to one of your dinner or lunch meals. It’s flavorful, with loads of fresh Cherry Tomato, low carb Spaghetti Squash and touch of freshness from Basil. What is caprese without a cheese? Of course, to finish it off, top it with sliced fresh Mozzarella cheese to seal the deal and all the deliciousness in one bowl.

It has been awhile since I shared any Spaghetti Squash dish, it’s about time I share another one with you guys. The thing is, it is not like I am not making it often, because I do. I make spaghetti squash dish a lot of times, this is one of my favorite pasta replacement when I feel like having something healthy and satisfying. You know that often time, the word “healthy” is associated to bland boring food, right? But for me healthy doesn’t have to be bland, and definitely it doesn’t have to be boring. Have you seen any of my Meat Free Monday recipes? Well, I certainly do not call them bland, and they are never boring. So this Caprese Spaghetti Squash is on of those delicious meat free dish, low carb (as compared to traditional pasta) and flavorful meal that you can serve for lunch or dinner. It is super easy to make and can be made ahead-of time. Let me show you how to make it. First, let us talk about the Ingredients

Caprese Spaghetti Squash

What are the Ingredients for Caprese Spaghetti Squash?

  • Spaghetti Squash – medium size, about 2 lbs. If using a large squash, adjust baking/roasting time.
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Salt – Be generous, the squash has a natural sweetness while the tomato has a combination or sour and sweet taste. Salt will balance this out
  • Pepper – You can use any kind of pepper,
  • Basil – fresh is always better for a stronger nicer flavor, but if you do not have one, you can substitute it with dried basil or Spinach for a more touch of green.
  • Olive Oil – You can substitute it with any flavorless oil
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – Fresh is recommended, do not use the pre-shredded one

How to Make Caprese Spaghetti Squash

I should have made this sooner. This is one of the best veggie recipe ever that I have and I cannot wait to make other variations of this spaghetti squash. You should really try it, it is really good! Let’s get started!

Caprese Spaghetti Squash For Two

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

The most difficult part of using spaghetti squash is the cutting part because the squash is quite hard. I almost gave up on it, but then with few small tricks, it made the process easier. There are 2 ways that you can do it, here are your options of cooking the spaghetti squash

Microwave Method

If you are in a hurry, this is the fastest and easiest way to cut open and cook the spaghetti squash. First, you need to poke holes around the squash to allow the steam to come out, this is very important. Microwave it, start with 5 minutes for medium size squash (about 1 -2 lbs). The length of time depends on how big your squash is, adjust in 2 minutes increments. To test if it is done, simply push a sharp knife in the center, if the knife pass through end to end with no effort at all, then it is done. You can start cutting it into half, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and spices of your choice.

Oven Method

In this method, you have to cut the Spaghetti Squash in half before roasting it in the oven. Use the microwave to slightly soften the skin for easier cutting. About 4 minutes for medium size Squash. Trim one end so that it can easily stand when you cut it in half. Remove the seeds and sprinkle with olive oil and spices of your choice. Finish the cooking in the oven by baking/roasting it at 350F for about 35 – 40 minutes. Let cool until manageable to handle, then cut into half and scrape the inside. You can now use it in any spaghetti squash recipe, flavor it as desired. Although this takes longer than straight forward microwave only method, I find that roasting the squash produces better flavor. The squash have ample time to absorb the flavor of the oil, seasoning and spices as it roast in the oven. I also like how it gave a slight browning, it brings out the sweetness and the depth of flavor. So I encourage you to roast your spaghetti squash, unless you are in a tight schedule then go ahead and microwave it. Just like the microwave only method, the length of time also depends on the size of the squash. The ideal size for me is about 1 – 3 lbs, often times i stick to 1-2 lbs if it is just for me.

Easy Caprese Spaghetti Squash

Do NOT Over Cook

Important thing to remember, regardless which method you decide to use, do NOT over cook the squash. You don’t want a mushy spaghetti squash and you do not want to destroy the trademark of spaghetti squash which is the lovely noodles like strand. Make it aldente just like when you cook your pasta, trust me, it makes a huge difference. Making use of spaghetti squash is all about texture, mushy spaghetti squash is a No. No.

Are you ready? Choose which method you want to use and let us make some healthy delicious Caprese Spaghetti Squash. You are going to love this, promise.

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

Oven Method: How to Cut and Prepare Spaghetti Squash

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Microwave the Squash: Poke holes all over the squash with a fork or a knife, then microwave for 4minutes. The squash that I used is 2.5 lb, increase the time as needed if your squash is bigger. The idea is not to cook the squash, but to soften the skin of the squash a little bit for easier cutting. Remove from the microwave and let cool.
  3. Cut the Squash into Half. Start by trimming one of the the hard end of the squash. This will help the squash to be in an upright position while you cut it in half. Using a sharp knife, mark a line on the squash (this is called scoring), this will serve as a mark that you can follow. Cut the squash into half, following the line that you have created. Remove the seeds and clean the center.
  4. Spice it Up: Drizzle olive oil and brush all throughout the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any of your favorite spice.
  5. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. The bigger the squash, the longer baking time you need. Check it 30 minutes mark to see if the center is already soft but not mushy. You don’t want to over bake it as you will end up with a mushy squash and the strand of the squash will be deformed. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle it.
  6. Remove the Squash “Meat”: Using a fork, gently scrape the squash. If you cook it right, it should come off easily without any effort. Transfer in a bowl and let cool before covering and storing in the refrigerator, otherwise use as per your recipe.

How to Use Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash can be used in variety of ways. You can used it as a replacement for pasta, I guess that’s the main idea of spaghetti squash. It goes well with white and cream based sauce, or just plain butter and garlic with herbs and spices. You can also use it as side dish to meat like Chicken, Beef, Lamb and even Fish. For this post, I made 4 Cheese and Garlic Spaghetti Squash. Check it out!

Spaghetti Squash Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black or White Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Paprika

Chunky Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 (approximately 250 grams) cup Cherry Tomato
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt (Divided: 1/2 tsp for Tomato and the rest for the Squash when you mix it with the sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black or White Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil or 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 100 grams (or more) Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions:

  • Prepare the Spaghetti Squash. Scrape the “meat” and set aside. See the discussion above on how to cut and prepare Spaghetti Squash.
  • Cook the Tomato: In a heated pan, add olive oil and cherry tomato. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes in medium heat. Add salt, sugar, basil, and black pepper. Stir to distribute. Cook until the tomato starts to burst. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  • Bake: Transfer the spaghetti squash in a bowl then pour the tomato mixture. Mix to combine, then taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Transfer in a baking dish or in the spaghetti squash shell. Sprinkle top with basil and top with sliced fresh Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until the Mozzarella cheese is melted.

Make it Vegan

Alternatively, if you want to keep this vegan, simply use a vegan cheese or skip the cheese entirely. This taste as good without the cheese.

Small Batch Caprese Spaghetti Squash

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Hi, I'm Marilou. Welcome to my website SweetNSpicyLiving. My website is where I share my passion for baking, cooking, photography and traveling. It's a small piece of my Sweet & Spicy Life that I like to share with you.

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