Monday, February 14, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Squash, squash, squash. I love squash. All kinds, all colors, all textures. But I must admit I’ve always wondered what is so special about spaghetti squash that makes people love it so much. The stringy flesh is fun – I get that. But the texture never fully softens like some of the more tender squashes, and the taste isn’t sweet or light like other types. It’s almost bitter with a borderline tasteless flavor. Perhaps I am just not skilled at selecting spaghetti squash. I’ve just never fallen for it as a varietal.

Nevertheless, I purchased one as part of a detox plan and was entirely committed to eating it. I mustered and searched for some crazy, fun idea for how to prepare the stringy structure, but my contemplative quest was fruitless. I stumbled across a vast array of side dish recipes that mainly mix spaghetti squash with herbs or garlic. Nothing stood out as a potential show stopper. It wasn’t until I started delving into pasta ideas that I saw the word “primavera.” Eureka!

Primavera is so easy that it feels weird to even write down a recipe for it. For anyone that has had any exposure to cooking, pasta primavera is about as basic as it gets. It certainly doesn’t seem like it should get special props, but I was amazed by the satisfaction from these simple, fresh flavors and so very please with how they took to spaghetti squash. First you take fresh veggies and garlic, then you splash 'em with a little white wine, and top it off with fresh herbs. You can mix up the veggies and the herbs to your liking - this is a highly customizable dish. Just don't cook the veggies too long, al dente is best here. And always throw the herbs in at the end when you've taken the dish off heat, it keeps their flavors bright and vibrant.

This recipe mad a heaping portion for 2 and as I licked the bottom of my plate, I felt more than satisfied. I felt accomplished! That’s the wonderful thing about primavera. It’s so little work with such fabulous results. You can certainly substitute the squash here for actual pasta, but I would highly recommend going for the squashventure.

Spaghetti Squash Primavera
Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 15-20 minutes


1 small spaghetti squash (about 4x7 inches)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
¼ tsp. salt
½ medium red bell pepper, sliced
12-16 asparagus spears, chopped (tips reserved)
1 ½ c. broccoli, chopped
¼ c. dry white wine
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T. nutritional yeast
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Fill a medium baking dish with 2 inches of water. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place both halves in baking dish skin side up, flesh side down. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes or until squash is tender. Let sit until cool enough to handle and scoop out flesh. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook slowly until it starts to brown, stirring constantly to coat in oil for about 1 minute. Add crush red pepper and salt, stirring to blend evenly. Increase heat to medium high and add vegetables. Stir to coat with spices before adding wine. When pan is very hot, pour wine over vegetables and continue to toss in pan. Let cook/steam about 5 minutes or until vegetable become al dente. Add squash, parsley, cilantro and nutritional yeast. Stir to incorporate all ingredients and remove from heat. Season with salt and lots of pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh tomatoes if desired.


  1. Looks yummy...I'll have to try it out.

  2. This recipe looks so healthy! I recently started eating more healthy so I going to add this to my weight loss plan meals. I am trying to lose about 70 pounds, but I am committed to getting thin and healthy.