This Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash with White Beans is a healthy meatless meal that's packed with flavor!
This hearty vegetarian spaghetti squash dish with white beans, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and melted cheese is a delicious and hearty meal you will love.
One of the most common requests I get for meatless dishes is to suggest recipes that are lower in carbs. That doesn't mean completely carb-free necessarily, but what you mean is you want more recipes that eliminate the usual vegetarian staples like pasta, rice, and quinoa. Honestly, this can be challenging because I want to make sure that the vegetarian dishes I share are as filling and hearty as any meat dish and sometimes when you eliminate those things you end up hungry an hour after dinner.
That's why I love using spaghetti squash combined with other plant protein sources as a meatless alternative, like in today's recipe for Mediterranean White Bean Spaghetti Squash Boats. Although the beans do have carbs, they are a good alternative to grain and normally pack more fiber.
Anyway, enough about carbs, right? Let's talk about this recipe for a minute. It's delicious! Packed with white beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach all cooked with garlic, onion, and lots of herbs — you'll get tons of flavor in every bite. Plus, it is covered in feta, for an extra dose of yum.
Ideas for Customizing Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Boats
Even though there's no pasta in the spaghetti squash boats, you can treat it like you would a pasta dish. That means, you can swap ingredients in and out depending on your tastes. For instance:
- If you aren't a feta fan you could use mozzarella or even provolone. Or, go for a mixture of feta with another cheese (that feta just really makes the dish, in my opinion).
- You could always use tofu, seitan, or tempeh to lower the carbs even more if you like (instead of beans).
- Pump up the flavors even more by adding some olives, roasted red peppers, capers, or artichoke hearts.
- If you do want some meat in your dish, you could always add in ground turkey or chicken instead of (or in addition to), the beans.
- Try kale instead of spinach or add bell peppers instead of mushrooms — there is no "wrong" veggie here.
- You could bake this all together in a baking dish and not use the hollowed out squash at all. You wouldn't have your "boat" but it would still taste just as delicious.
- Add a pre-cut veggie mix (or frozen) if you don't have time to dice and slice.
- You can swap in other beans for the white, like pinto or chickpeas.
How Is Spaghetti Squash Good for You?
Spaghetti squash is low-calorie, low-carb, and full of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin B. While a cup of pasta contains over 200 calories, a cup of spaghetti squash only contains 42. The low carbohydrate count in spaghetti squash means it is good to add into low-carb diets and is keto-friendly.
How to Choose Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is technically a "winter" fruit (yes, it's a fruit), meaning it's at its peak from early fall through the winter. However, you can probably find it at your local grocer year-round (although, it will be the most flavorful when it's in season). When choosing out your squash, make sure it isn't cracked, bruised, or spotted and that it feels firm and not soft at all. If it still has a stem, then all the better. Stems help keep bacteria from getting inside the flesh and spoiling it.
Ideas for Cooking Spaghetti Squash
Roast it. Preheat your oven for 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Spray the halves with cooking spray or olive oil, then salt and pepper the insides as well. Add them, cut side down, to the baking sheet and let them cook for 35-40 minutes. You can check for doneness with a fork.
In the microwave. Not in the mood to turn on your oven? In a hurry? No problem — just "nuke" them whole. That's right — whole! Pierce them all over with a fork or knife first, then put them in the microwave for 10-15 minutes (they should yield to your touch). When they have cooled, you can slice them in half and scoop out the seeds.
In the slow cooker. Want to get these babies done while you're at work? Put them in the slow cooker. You can put the whole thing in (pierced first), or halve it first, then place them in the slow cooker for a cup of water for about 4 hours on high or 8 on low. Remove the seeds and enjoy!
In the pressure cooker/ Instant Pot. For this method, you'll want to slice the squash in half and remove the seeds before placing them in the steamer basket. Add a cup of water to the pot, close the lid and set it to manual mode for 7 minutes. When they are finished, follow your appliance's directions for venting and opening the lid when the pressure is released.
No matter how you choose to cook them, when they are done, simply shred the pulp and then follow the directions to put together the rest of the Mediterranean White Bean Spaghetti Squash Boats.
Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash with White Beans
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- 2 spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 20 oz. canned white beans, rinsed and drained
- 14 oz. canned diced Italian tomatoes
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 6 oz. spinach
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. rosemary
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup reduced fat feta cheese (or other cheese)
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Season with salt and black pepper. Bake for about 1 hour on a baking sheet with the cut side down. To microwave cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds. Place on a microwave safe dish and cover. Microwave 8-9 minutes or until soft. Scrape out all the flesh. Save the shells.
Add the beans, tomatoes with juice, mushrooms, spinach, thyme, rosemary, and dried basil. Let simmer on low while spaghetti squash, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Be careful about adding too much salt since you will be adding feta at the end.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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