(Note: this post was originally published on March 29, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Cozy But Also Fresh
Squash stuffed with salad?? Oh yes! This is the perfect transitional meal when you're caught between winter and spring, feeling like you're beyond cozy stuffed squash but not quite ready for a giant dinner salad yet.
Generally speaking, I think most of us see stuffed squash as winter food. But what happens in March and April, when there's still beautiful squash in the stores, but we're all ready for lighter, fresher spring food? Enter this Greek Salad Stuffed Spaghetti Squash, which is the best of both worlds. There's a raw, crisp, bright Greek salad, nestled into a cozy spaghetti squash. All of the sudden, like magic, stuffed squash becomes spring food!
Loads of Veggies!
Are you a spaghetti squash fan?? I love this bizarre, delicious squash. It's so versatile. Of course the fibers can be scraped out and treated like spaghetti, but it's also great for stuffing. The key to making it a satisfying stuffing squash is to fluff up the fibers a bit after baking; the fluffing action makes the whole thing seem lighter and easier to dig into (see photo below!). The other key is to drizzle part of your dressing down into the squash fibers so that it's flavorful throughout.
For the Greek salad component of this dish, I've omitted the lettuce since the squash "spaghetti" serves as the base of the salad. Then load it up with all your Greek salad favorites! Here, I've shown baby cucumbers, all sorts of beautiful little tomatoes, some cubes of Vermont feta tossed in sumac, pine nuts, and plenty of fresh herbs, but feel free to use what you love.
And let's not forget about the dressing! I like to use a mix of lemon juice and red wine vinegar for big acidity, some coarse-grained mustard, a dash of olive oil, the tiniest bit of honey for sweetness, lots of fresh thyme, and lots of black pepper. I've included a dressing recipe below, or you could just as easily use your favorite vinaigrette; anything with Mediterranean flavors will work nicely. Regardless, remember to drizzle a bit of dressing into the squash fibers before stuffing to really disperse the flavor evenly.
Make It Your Own
In some ways, this post is really more of a concept than a specific recipe. You can use whatever salad components you love most! Anything Mediterranean will work great. You could add things like olives, pickled banana peppers, capers, grilled or pickled red onion, other cheeses, and whatever fresh herbs you have on-hand.
Want to make it heartier? Feel free to add your grilled protein of choice, some crispy roasted chick peas, or even a big dollop of this lemon hummus. I suggest assuming that half a squash will be a good dinner portion size, but you could get away with a quarter of a squash if you add in some more robust elements.
This meal is super make-ahead friendly and would be great for entertaining or meal prep. You can easily roast the squash a day or two ahead of time. You can also make the dressing ahead of time and cut up the veggies. Just store everything separately. When you're ready to eat, either reheat the squash in the microwave or just enjoy it cold or at room temperature, then add the toppings. I don't suggest assembling it in advance since the toppings will get wilty.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Red wine vinegar
Coarse-grained mustard. Learn to make your own here!
Honey. You can sub agave if you don't do honey, but I like to give the dressing just a tiny touch of sweetness.
Fresh thyme. Fresh is best! But dry can work alright if that's all you have.
Salt and pepper
Colorful baby tomatoes
Feta. You can certainly use a vegan feta here, or even little cubes of tofu.
Toasted pine nuts
Sumac. Not strictly necessary... but gosh is this stuff wonderful.
You really can have so much fun with these. Go crazy with the toppings! I've made these many times over the years, and always have fun choosing the prettiest baby tomatoes and arranging all of my ingredients so that the colors really pop.
Happy spring! Happy salad season! But let's not forget about our squash friends.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
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Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly oil a baking dish.
Cut the top and bottom stems off the squash. Then cut it in down the middle vertically, to make two identical halves. Scoop out the seeds.
Roast cut-side facing downward for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. You should easily be able to fluff up the spaghetti with a fork, but the spaghetti itself should have texture and maintain its shape. Don't overcook them! If you cook the squash too long, you end up with wet, mushy spaghetti.
While the squash roasts, mix the dressing and prep the salad ingredients by chopping the veggies, very finely chopping the herbs, and cubing or crumbling the feta.
Remove the squash halves from the oven, flip them over, and gently fluff up the spaghetti strands with a fork.
While the squash is still warm, drizzle about half the dressing down into the squash fibers so that it becomes flavorful throughout.
Assemble! Layer in the veggies throughout and on top of the fluffed spaghetti strands. Top with feta and nuts. Finish it all off with an additional drizzle of dressing, some fresh herbs, a generous grind of black pepper, and a sprinkle of sumac.