Spaghetti squash steams quickly in a microwave and is the perfect deliciously edible vessel for heaping with savory fillings for a satisfying dinner like this Mexican Spaghetti Squash.
We’re in Tahoe for the summer (more or less), where outdoor activities and books rule. So do easy dinners I can whip up in 30 minutes or less after a long hike when all I want to do is flop down on the closest sofa with a soft pillow for a nap. Even Rika, our almost 2-year-old dog, naps more here from all the freedom she gets off leash. For every mile I hike with her, I swear she gets in at least triple that between all her racing ahead to see what’s around the next bend of the trail, and then galloping back as if to speed me along.
Spaghetti squash is one of the vegetables I lean on when I need something quick, because the microwave does almost all the work. I whack the squash in half with a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds with a spoon, and arrange the squash in a baking dish so the pieces don’t overlap. I add a little water, just enough to cover the bottom of the dish, and cover it with plastic. Twenty minutes later, with one brief intermission to flip the squash halves over, and it’s dinner.
The scooped cavities of spaghetti squash invite so many ideas to turn this vegetable into a meal. Pasta sauce with meatballs and shrimp with garlic are two favorites at our house, but this vegetarian approach with black beans, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and cheese is the winner for us. (Disclaimer: my husband, Carnivorous Maximus, takes his with steak strips tucked in with the peppers and tomatoes.)
Mexican Spaghetti Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 8 - 9 small baby bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange)
- 2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-ounce can
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or Gourmet Garden garlic paste)
- 1 cup grated Mexican cheese mix (or more)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Slice the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Arrange the squash halves, cut side facing down, in a microwavable baking pan. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish, cover with plastic, and microwave for 10 minutes. Flip the squash over, recover with plastic, and microwave for another 10 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking, get everything else ready. Broil the baby bell peppers until soft and lightly charred. Remove the stems, and coarsely chop.
- Add the olive oil to a small pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Heat up the black beans.
- Assemble the Mexican Spaghetti Squash by laying ¼ cup grated cheese along the bottom of each scooped out cavity. Layer the beans, chopped peppers, tomatoes with garlic, and finish with the remaining cheese.
- Microwave for 2 minutes to warm up, if necessary, and serve with (optional) sour cream.
- For the meat eaters, add shredded chicken, pork, or steak strips to the layers before finishing with the cheese.
Looking for more dishes with Mexican flare from The Wimpy Vegetarian?