Dreaming of Fall: Spaghetti Squash + Spinach
One of the reasons I left California for college was my desire to finally experience seasons. I had never seen leaves changing, had never made snow angel, or basked outside in the first crisp, sunny day of spring. Instead, I was stuck in perpetual, arid heat. Sure, it got cold every so often (by cold, I mean 50 degrees) and sure, we had awful seasonal winds. But, otherwise, living in Rancho Cucamonga is living in perpetual summer.
Lo and behold, I ended up across in the country in Nashville. Tennessee was a wonderful introduction to seasons - I discovered I wasn't much one for the icy, bitter winters, but I did discover that fall is truly the most beautiful time of the year. I loved crisp fall mornings where the cold just nipped at your nose, the beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges of leaves all around, pumpkin spice everything, scarves and riding boots, tailgates, hard cider, cozy nights snuggling inside, my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving...and did I mention pumpkin spice everything?!
As much as I love California, I've been really missing the beginning of fall. Instead of crisp fall days, my mornings have been hot and humid. Plus, palm trees....well, the leaves don't really change. I miss flannel, boots, a constant pink to my cheeks and nose from the brisk air, and a perpetual PSL in my hand.
Pumpkin isn't the only fall-themed food I am obsessed with - fall squash is up there too! I'd never tried spaghetti squash, but I found one amongst some acorn squash I was buying at Trader Joe's and decided to just go for it.
Upon creating dinner, I had literally no idea how to cook spaghetti squash, what to make it into, but I decided to mimic one of my favorite pasta dishes in a low-carb, low-cal version.
Spaghetti Squash & Spinach
1 spaghetti squash
1 package of spinach
1 tbsp EVOO
Sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash length-wise (this was tricky for me - just keep at it). Remove the seeds and strings - just like cleaning out a pumpkin! Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on cut side of squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Place cut side down in a roasting tray and cook for 35 minutes or until tender.
While squash is roasting, heat remaining 1/2 tbsp EVOO in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté spinach with salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste until spinach is wilted.
When squash is tender, remove from oven and carefully (it can be really hot) use fork to scrape inside of squash - it will come off as "spaghetti."
Mix spinach and squash into big bowl and top with parm-reggiano cheese and serve!
My first attempt with spaghetti squash was successfully and so delicious. I was really shocked at how filling it was and how it eradicated my craving for pasta (which I thought was impossible). More than that, though, it reminded me of fall. Something about squash made me feel cozy and warm inside and let me reminisce on those brisk, beautiful fall days.