Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Mexicana topped with Tropical Salsa

In keeping with this week's emerging theme, tonight's dinner was Spaghetti Squash Mexicana topped with Tropical Salsa.  (This is another great recipe from the ever-reliable cookbook Veganomicon.)  I've made this dish numerous times before and it never ceases to amaze me.  Spaghetti squash is awesome.  There's no better way to put it.  It starts out looking like a regular old squash, but once it's done it looks like spaghetti!  It's a miracle of nature.  Spaghetti squash is a versatile, lower-calorie, vegetable version of spaghetti.  What's not to like?     

The incredible edible spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti Squash Mexicana topped with Tropical Salsa

  • 1 spaghetti squash (in the 3-pound range)
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 mango, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1.5 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 cup frozen corn, partially thawed
  • 1 - 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
First, bake the squash.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the squash in half widthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.  Fill a baking dish with an inch of water and place the squash cut side down in the dish.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.  Then, take the squash out of the pan and let cool for about 10 minutes until you can handle the squash.  Shred and scoop out the flesh with a fork into a bowl, cover, and set aside.  While the squash is baking, prepare the tropical salsa and the bean mixture.

Salsa: stir together the tomato, mango, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Bean mixture: Heat the olive oil, onion, and jalapeno in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, spices, salt, and wine, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring often.  Next, lower the heat to medium and add the corn, black beans, and hot sauce.  Cook for 5 more minutes or until heated through.  Finally, add the squash to the bean mixture and toss to mix.  (It's helpful to use tongs here to ensure that the squash breaks up and everything is well incorporated.)

Top with salsa and serve.  Serves 4-6 people. 


This is a good dish.  Simon remarked that "it might not be phenomenal, but [he's] happy to eat it."  I particularly like this dish--it's interesting, unconventional, surprising, and tasty.  It also has a great combination of textures.    
Unfortunately, this isn't a particularly accessible dish.  Many of the ingredients might be difficult to find--such as ripe fruits and spaghetti squash--while ingredients like wine could be expensive.  Nonetheless, we found all of these ingredients at Giant.    
Ease of Preparation:   
The squash takes a long time to bake, but I bet you could do so in advance to save time.  I might try that next time.  Once it's ready, though, the rest of the recipe is quite simple. 
Non-vegan friendliness:  
Simon pointed out that this dish doesn't lack meat or cheese (or any other animal product).  It's a dish best served vegan.  However, it's also a dish based around a potentially intimidating food for vegans and non-vegans alike: spaghetti squash.  I first tasted this kind of squash a couple years ago, and I must admit I wasn't excited about it.  I've been fully converted, though, and I recommend that everyone give it a try.

1 comment:

  1. Not going to lie, my mom made me try spaghetti squash when I was younger and I remember being doubtful but after trying it (we had it with tomato sauce) I was surprised with how delicious it was!

    Thanks for reminding me to give it another try!