For sometime now, I have been hearing and reading about spaghetti squash and wanted to try cooking something with it. Since the squash inherently has a sweet tinge to it, I wanted to compliment it with flavors that would not mask it completely, but also not make it too evident. That is how this recipe was created and I liked the outcome! Mexican style spaghetti squash is a layered dish consisting of layers of flavored spaghetti squash, cooked beans and corn, and guacamole. You can add an additional layer of stir fried onion and bell pepper.
Spaghetti squash has a spaghetti (noodle) like flesh and hence the name. Raw spaghetti squash has a very hard peel and cutting it can be a bit of a challenge. If you find it impossible to cut it raw, you can bake the entire squash in the oven and then cut the cooked, soft squash. Alternately, you can heat the entire squash in a microwave for about 5 minutes, until partially tender, cut it, scrape the seeds and then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. You can also cook the entire squash in the microwave for a longer time, without having to use the oven at all. It is very important to pierce holes in the squash using a knife or a skewer before heating, for the gases to escape while cooking.
Guacamole is an avocado-based sauce that is traditional in Mexico. It is commonly used as a dip for chips and nachos (corn-based snack) or as a condiment. Avocado, although native to Mexico, is now largely available in other parts of the world as well. It is commonly referred to as butter fruit in India. They have a thick green skin and a fleshy body. An avocado is perfectly ripe when it is soft enough to make a small dent but not mushy. The skin turns brown as the avocado ripens. The fruit has a single large seed in the center, that has to be removed before scooping out the flesh. Avocado flesh discolors when exposed to air. Lemon juice is added to the scooped flesh to prevent it from turning brown.
Mexican Style Spaghetti Squash
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup black bean
1/2 cup corn kernels
For the guacamole
2 ripe avocado/butter fruit
1/2 tomato, de-seeded and finely chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cayenne or red chili powder
Pierce the spaghetti squash with a knife or a skewer, at least ten times. Cut it into half lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the inside. Place the halves in a baking tray with cut sides down and bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 40 minutes or until tender. (If its hard to cut the raw squash, you can bake the entire squash for an hour. If baking is not an option, you can microwave the squash for 9 – 10 minutes on high, rotating the squash after the initial 5 minutes. Cool, cut lengthwise and scrape off the seeds.) After the squash cools a little, scrape the squash flesh using a fork.
While the squash is baking, pressure cook black beans and corn kernels until tender with a pinch of salt and water just enough to cover the beans. Drain the liquid and keep the beans aside. Save the liquid for using in a soup or a gravy.
Heat olive oil in a wok on medium heat. Add minced garlic and fry until golden. Add red chili flakes and dried parsley and fry for 10 seconds. Add squash flesh (spaghetti), sprinkle salt and fry for two minutes.
Cut the avocados lengthwise. Remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Using a fork, mash the flesh until mushy. Add chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, cayenne pepper powder or red chili powder, and salt and mix well.
Spread the flavored spaghetti noodles in a bowl to form a layer. Spread cooked beans and corn kernels over it. Spread a layer of guacamole and serve.
*Its best to prepare guacamole at the end, when you have everything else ready to prevent it from discoloring before serving.