Vegan Spicy Spaghetti Squash 2014

It used to be very difficult to eat or cook vegan. A vegan is one who does not eat or use animal products. Many think that a tasty vegan dish is limited to some salads or cooked vegetables. I was challenged by one of my health coach clients to help find dishes that have roots of being vegan but can have animal protein added simply in a pinch. This time of the year, when fall splashes cold and the trees are robust in colors, I like to look for squash dishes that can often spice up our palettes and warm our bellies.

I love Mexican food flavors, and I just love the color of spaghetti squash, so this recipe adopted from wholefoodsmarket.com was a treat to taste test.

(Fit2bWell Tip: There is vegan protein such as seitan and tofu that would be good additional “toppings.” But be mindful, seitan is not gluten free. Feel free to also explore many type of vegan cheese on the market and sprinkle it on last minute for a nice finish to this tasty meal)

Vegan Spicy Spaghetti Squash (serves 2 for dinner)

Ingredients:

• 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/2 onion, chopped (any type)

• 1 jalapeño pepper (can be more if want more spicy)

• 2 cloves of garlic diced

• 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

• 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped

• 1 cup cooked black beans

• 1 cup corn

• 1 teaspoon chili powder

• 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

• 1 tablespoon lime juice

• 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange squash in a large baking dish, cut-sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Rake with a fork to remove flesh in strands. Yes, it looks like spaghetti! Don’t rake too deep as to puncture your squash as that will now serve as a dish for your meal.

For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, jalapeño and bell pepper and cook until soft. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add beans, corn and chili powder; cook, stirring frequently. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt, cook a few minutes until heated through. Try using tongs to fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center. Tongs will help protect the fragile root vegetable, while maintaining its integrity as you lay it into the “bowl.”

(spaghetti squash photo credit: www.skinnymom.com)