I love the IDEA of spaghetti squash. It is a squash (good for you, practically burns more calories eating it than you take in, full ‘o fiber, etc.) and yet, I can use it in place of spaghetti. Except that, unless you are the most hard-core vegan/health-fooder you are going to notice the fact that what you’re eating IS NOT pasta! You can only fool your taste-buds so much before they revolt and demand chocolate cake as payment for your deception. So, I have realized that when I eat spaghetti squash I need to love it for itself, not for what it looks like it could be. It is a great side dish all on its own tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil (or butter) with a little sprinkle of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon freshly grated parmesan, and a sprinkling of fresh oregano, parsley, and basil. But, it is even more fun incorporated into a lovely main-dish salad like this one.
This recipe is inspired by a recipe in the old Marcel Desaulniers Salad Days book (which I talked about here). He calls it: “Broccoli Bouquet with Garbanzo Bean and Tomato Relish, Spaghetti Squash, Chiffonade of Spinach, and Balsamic Vinaigrette”. Whoa. So many words. My version is simpler and faster to prepare. It is equally good on a bed of baby spinach or all on its own. I also sometimes serve it as a side dish.
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I recommend buying the oldest you can afford)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine or club soda
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Whisk together until well combined. Although this is an excellent recipe regardless of the quality of the balsamic, it is taken to a whole new level if you invest in an nicely aged one. You’ll be surprised at the difference between a $4 balsamic and a $10 one. This can be made even days ahead of time and just shaken up before using here.
Spaghetti Squash, Chickpea, & Broccoli Salad
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas*
- 4 medium plum tomatoes or 2 regular beefsteak tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups broccoli slaw (either raw or slightly steamed, depending on your tastes)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 medium cooked spaghetti squash (below)
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (above)
Combine all the ingredients (except the squash), toss with dressing. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days before serving. Separate squash into four servings, sprinkle with salt & pepper and top with broccoli and chickpea salad. Makes 4 servings = 5 points per serving
* I prefer the texture of dried chickpeas (follow directions on the package for cooking and plan ahead, depending on method can take 12 hours or so with soaking, etc.) but I have certainly used canned chickpeas with good results. In that case, the only thing you have to cook is the squash.
Wash and dry whole spaghetti squash. Pierce outside with sharp knife (far enough to reach inside of squash) at least 2 times on at least 2 sides. Microwave on high for 15 minutes (it should vent and steam while cooking). Let sit in microwave for at least 5 minutes. Remove from microwave, carefully cut in half. Remove the seeds and middle part (like a pumpkin) from each half of the squash. Separate the rest of the flesh from the skin using a fork such that it looks like strands of spaghetti.