Fall vegetables combine to add flavor and texture to the lovely little winter squash that disguises itself as pasta.
It’s a funny vegetable. A squash that thinks it’s pasta, offering up spaghetti-like strands when scraped with a fork, or, a plastic pumpkin scraper. As winter squashes go, this one has a mild flavor, almost bland by itself, so it just asks to have flavorful ingredients piled on top of it.
Spaghetti squash comes in different sizes and colors, but the one I most commonly find is yellow, fairly large, and keeps in a cool place for months. It’s easy to cook, and versatile in the many ways it can be served. Nutritionally, it is a great vegetable to add to your rotation having only 40 calories and 10 carbs a cup, but is loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and lots of minerals. It is often used to help weight loss, control blood sugar, and promote strong bones.
With harvest time well upon us, we have our choice of delicious hardy vegetables. Fennel, potatoes of many colors, Swiss chard, leeks and garlic are some of the best autumn flavors, and I used them all here.
Just to keep things interesting
I added a bit of saffron and white wine to keep things interesting, and the lemon juice and zest to liven it up. Season each step of the way while cooking this, and don’t skimp on the black pepper.
I chose the purple potatoes because they have more minerals than white potatoes, and because they are pretty, especially next to the yellow squash! If you can’t find them, use any potato you like.
Spaghetti Squash with Fennel, Chard, and Potatoes
- 1 large spaghetti squash (or two small)
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head garlic
- 2 cups cubed purple potatoes
- 1 large bulb fennel
- 1 large leek or sweet onion
- ½ cup dry white wine or stock
- Pinch of saffron
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 small bunch of rainbow Swiss chard
- 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
While you are prepping everything else: pierce the spaghetti squash to vent steam and place in a 425-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is soft and browned on the exterior. Alternately, you can cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place cut-side down on a baking sheet with a little water. Both methods are good.
Once cooked, they will need to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, with a large knife, slice the squash in half, then carefully scoop out the seeds. Using a pumpkin carving scoop or fork, scrape from side to side to shred the interior into spaghetti.
While the squash is cooking, prep the veggies and start cooking:
Remove the stems from the Swiss chard, dice them up and set them aside. Tear the leaves into four or five pieces, and set those aside as well.
Separate the garlic cloves, peel, and slice them. You will want 8 to 10 cloves. Dice the potatoes into ½ inch dice. Slice both the fennel and leek thinly.
Heat a large skillet over medium high and warm the oil. Add the garlic and keep them moving in the pan, you don’t want them to burn, but you want a nice brown and toasty smell. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the cubed potatoes to the pan, a little salt and pepper. Cover and cook until tender, turning a couple of times, then remove the potatoes from the pan.
Add the fennel, onion, and chard stems to the pan, seasoning with salt and liberal amounts of freshly grated black pepper. You might need to add a bit more oil. Continue cooking until everything is tender. Add the potatoes back to the pan along with the wine, the saffron, lemon zest, and the chard leaves, and cook just until the leaves have wilted to where you like them, taste, and correct seasoning.
Plate the squash spaghetti, add the veggies and mix lightly, then top with the garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice. If you like, sprinkle on some Parmesan or vegan Parmesan.
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