Spaghetti Squash Soup

Spaghetti Squash SoupWhen you love to cook like I do and a friend mentions anything that even remotely sounds like a request, it is often the beginning of a mission. The other day, a dear friend of mine was talking about how busy she’s been and how nice if would be to come home some days to something warm that doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. On top of that, while it may not feel like it some days, soup season is starting to wind down and that makes me a little sad. I happen to love soups and stews year round, but my family doesn’t feel the same way about sitting down to a piping hot curry or chili in the middle of July, so I need to get my soup fix in fast.

This soup does take a little prep, but you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, I don’t even recommend it. Something I have started doing over the weekend is roasting a spaghetti squash. It takes a little while to roast and it’s easier to string it once it’s cool, so I just do the entire process when I’m not planning on using it. The whole batch gets put in a container in the fridge for whenever I need it, just like this soup.

This soup is a twist on a big bowl of spaghetti. The spaghetti squash will be a bit crunchier than traditional noodles, but it still gives you that same fun feeling. It would be beautiful topped with some fresh basil or parsley or you could sprinkle some parmesan on the top if you’re into cheese. I found it just perfect with some fresh cracked pepper and a great big spoon!

Spaghetti Squash Soup

2 tsp. coconut oil

1/2 large onion, chopped about 1 c.

1 lb. ground beef

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. fennel seed

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

2 c. beef stock

2 c. water

14 oz. canned tomato sauce

2 c. cooked spaghetti squash

Directions

1) Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onions for about 4-5 minutes, until translucent. Add the beef and garlic and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.

2) Add all the spices, beef stock, water, and tomato sauce, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes.

3) Add the spaghetti squash, simmer for about 10 minutes more to bring all the flavors together, add additional salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

Serves 2-4

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Buffalo Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash

This one’s a bit unusual. My husband really likes buffalo chicken so I’m always trying to think of ways to try something new, while giving him the flavor that he loves. When I don’t have a lot of time, or any meat defrosted, shrimp often comes to save the day.

You definitely get the kick from the hot sauce in this, but it’s tempered by the coconut milk which lends a bit of a tropical flair. It’s surprising at first, but once you settle in, it’s really tasty.

Buffalo Shrimp with Spaghetti Sqhash 2013

Buffalo Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash

10 oz. uncooked, peeled shrimp

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/8 + 1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. bacon grease

1/2 small onion, chopped, about 1/2 c.

1 c. full fat coconut milk (I like Native Forest)

1/3 c. Frank’s RedHot Original (NOT buffalo sauce which has some unsavory ingredients)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

4 cups of roasted spaghetti squash (directions below)

2 T. cilantro, chopped

2 scallions, finely sliced

Squeeze of lime, about 1 tsp.

Directions

1) Squash: Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Cut the squash lengthwise and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt. Place face down in a glass baking dish and add about 1/4 in. of water. Bake for 45 minutes, until cooked but still al dente. Allow to cool face-up and then shred with a fork to look like spaghetti noodles. Check out my post with pictures here.

2) Shrimp: In a medium bowl, massage shrimp with crushed garlic, paprika, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.

3) Melt bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add coconut milk, Frank’s hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Turn heat down slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.

4) Add shrimp and 4 cups of cooked spaghetti squash (reserving any extra for another use). Stir to coat everything in the sauce and allow to cook for 7-8 minutes, until the squash is hot and the shrimp are cooked through.

5) Turn off the heat and add chopped cilantro, scallions, and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 2-3

How to Open (and roast) a Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great vegetable, especially once you stop eating noodles from grain sources. It works as a fairly neutral base, taking just about any flavored sauce and making you feel like you just had pasta. Super comforting! Here’s the catch…the thing is a pain to cut open! I have often thought that if it were easier, I’d eat more of it. And then Halloween came along.

You know those cute little serrated mini-knives that are sold for less than a dollar around this time of year? They are AMAZING at cutting squash open! Guess what else? If you get the fancy (under $3) pumpkin scraper with the teeth to go along with it, you’re in business! Quick and painless. Trust me. Stock up – I did!

Spaghetti Squash tools 2013

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash

A few pinches of salt

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Use the small serrated knife to cut all around the squash, lengthwise. Then crack it open to reveal the seeds. It should be really easy since the little knife has already done all the work. Use the serrated scraper to remove the seeds.

Spaghetti Squash cutting 2013

Spaghetti Squash breaking

Spaghetti squash scraping 2013

3) Sprinkle a little salt on the cut sides and place face-down in a large glass baking dish. Add water to the dish to measure a little less than a 1/4 in. deep. Bake the squash in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. If you squeeze the outside of the squash with tongs, there should be some give, but not squishy. I like mine to be pretty al dente because I will invariably cook it again. BUT if you want yours a little softer, go ahead and leave it in another 5-10 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash with water 2013

4) Let squash cool cut-side up until you can handle it easily. I often bake it whenever I have a moment and leave it to cool – even for a couple hours. Scrape the squash with a fork to make spaghetti-like strands. Reheat before serving.

Spaghetti Squash - Shredding 2013 (2)

Note: This is a great vegetable to roast on the weekend, shred, and store in the fridge. Now you have noodles ready to go. I will almost always microwave, sauté, or otherwise cook them before eating, which is why I like them still firm when I roast them.