Intro: How to Make a Healthy Squash Pasta Dish
Looking for a tasty meal option that won't break your diet? You'll see how two different types of squashes can be transformed into the sauce and noodles of a delicious pasta.
Swap out that high-fat Alfredo sauce for a sauce made from butternut squashes, and replace those carb-loaded, starchy pasta noodles with noodles easily obtained from the inside of a spaghetti squash. Best of all, these trade-offs won't leave you sacrificing anything in terms of flavor!
The following instructions serve as a guide to making this appetizing main course. Basic experience cutting vegetables and using the stove top burners are the only cooking skills required. This recipe is simple, takes just over an hour, and provides enough leftovers to last any busy working professional or college student for a few days.
Step 1: Ingredients and Appliances
To make the squash pasta, you will need the following ingredients.
- 2 butternut squashes
- 2 spaghetti squashes
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Note: The garlic will need to be minced. You can also find "pre-minced" garlic at the store. This works, too!
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
The following two ingredients are used solely for additional flavor or garnish. Thus they are optional, and the choice to add them or not is up to you.
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup cilantro
Additionally, this recipe requires the following equipment and supplies.
- Food processor
- Large sauté pan (3 or more inches deep)
- Cutting board
Step 2: Cube the Butternut Squashes
Repeat the following procedure to cut up both of the butternut squashes. Upon completion, you will end up with many 1-inch cubes.
- Slice off each end of the squash.
- Lay the squash on its side and cut off both ends.
- Cut or peel off the outer layer of the squash.
- Note: This can be done with either your knife or a potato peeler.
- Halve the squash lengthwise.
- Warning: Some squashes may be very hard. Be careful to not let the knife slip for risk of injury.
- Scoop out and discard the seeds of the squash.
- Cut each of your halves in half crosswise so your squash is now in four pieces.
- Cut each quarter of the squash lengthwise at 1-inch increments.
- Place these pieces on their sides in small stacks and again make lengthwise 1-inch cuts.
- Make crosswise cuts to complete the cubes.
Step 3: Start Pan Frying Onion and Garlic
- Put 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large sauté pan.
- Place the pan on the stove top and set the burner to medium heat.
- Dice the onion.
- Mince the 3 cloves of garlic.
- When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and garlic to the pan.
- Stir fry until the onions are tender.
- This should take about 5 minutes.
While you wait for the onions to tenderize, move on to the next step - preparing the spaghetti squash.
Step 4: Put Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave
The following procedure is used for each of spaghetti squashes. They both will require quite a bit of time in the microwave, so throughout the rest of the recipe, keep checking back to make sure they are attended to. Start with one spaghetti squash for now; you will prepare the second one later on.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out and discard the seeds on the inside.
- Put just a little bit of water (about 1 teaspoon) in the cavity where the seeds were.
- Put the halves back together like they were before you cut it.
- Place this "reconstructed" squash in the microwave for 9 minutes.
- After 9 minutes, flip it over (so the other half is now on the bottom), and microwave it for 4 more minutes.
- Warning: Be careful when flipping the squash. Both it and the container it is in will be very hot.
While waiting, you can move onto the next step - adding the butternut squash cubes to the pan on the stove top .
Step 5: Add Butternut Squash Cubes to the Pan
- Now that the onions are tender, add all of the butternut squash cubes to the pan.
- Add chicken broth to the pan until the squash cubes barely peak out above the liquid.
- This should be about 2 cups of chicken broth, depending on your pan size.
- Reduce the burner heat level to medium-low.
- Wait for the squash to soften, which should take about another 10 minutes.
- While waiting, monitor the spaghetti squash in the microwave. It will need to be flipped soon.
Step 6: "Sauce It" in the Food Processor
- After the squash has softened, take the pan off the stove and scoop out all of its solid contents (everything except for the chicken broth) into the food processor.
- Note: The content of the pan can be added in stages if your food processor is not large enough to house all of it. Just reduce the amount of cream and cheese added in the following two steps appropriately.
- Add 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream to the food processor.
- If you wish, add a dash of Parmesan cheese to the food processor.
- Turn on the food processor until the mixture has blended to the consistency of a sauce.
Step 7: Scrape Out Spaghetti Noodles
- After the final 4 minutes of microwaving are complete, take the spaghetti squash out of the microwave.
- Warning: Both the squash and the container it was microwaved in will be very hot!
- Wait for the squash to cool a bit, then with a fork, scrape out the inside of the squash into strands. These are the noodles!
- Note: If the spaghetti squash is still hot, it may help to use a paper towel to avoid touching it directly.
To obtain more noodles, repeat the preparation procedure outlined in Step 4 with your second spaghetti squash. Then, scrape out the inside of that squash as well when microwaving is complete.
Step 8: Putting It All Together
Your pasta is complete! It is now ready to be served and enjoyed. Place the noodles and sauce in separate bowls. To prepare a portion, pour sauce on top of the noodles to your individual preference. Add a sprig of cilantro and a dash of Parmesan cheese as garnish if you wish. Additionally, remember to keep any leftovers refrigerated.