Roasted Spaghetti Squash in an Avocado-Cilantro Pesto with Feta & Pecans

February 1, 2017

OMG! So I had some avocados and half a bunch of cilantro at home and wasn't sure if I wanted to make my regular guacamole or turn them into something different, so decided to experiment a little and this is what I came up with.  This pesto would work great with pasta too, and I definitely want to make that next time. But today I felt like having a carb-free "pasta" and using roasted spaghetti squash is a pretty good alternative. Instead of adding the nuts and cheese to the actual pesto, I decided to use it as a garnish to add a crunchy and salty component to the dish, and more because both the squash and avocado tend to be smoother and sweeter. It's all about balance in the dishes!

 

I recommend trying it both ways, with regular pasta or with the roasted spaghetti squash and seeing the difference. Both as a main course or a side-dish you have to try it, I think it's delicious. Make it and send me your comments, I would love to hear them! Enjoy!

 

 

Yield: 2-3 portions as a main dish or 4-5 as a side dish

 

Ingredients:

 

For roasted squash:

 

1 each                          Spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds removed

As needed                   Grape seed oil

To taste                        Kosher salt

To taste                        Fresh ground pepper

 

For pesto:

 

2 each                          Avocados, ripe

1/2 bunch                   Cilantro, washed

2 Tbsp                         Extra virgin olive oil

1 each                          Jalapeño, cored and seeded (add more or leave the seeds if you like it spicier)

1 each                         Large lime, juiced

To taste                       Kosher salt

To taste                       Fresh ground pepper

 

For garnish:

 

As needed                   Feta cheese, crumbled or grated

As needed                   Pecans, toasted and chopped

 

 

Method:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.

  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds using a spoon, add a drizzle of oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and rub all over the flesh side.

  3. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper (helps with the cleaning) and roast, in the preheated oven, for 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce with a knife. I recommend roasting for 30 minutes with the flesh side down and then flipping it for the last 15 minutes. Make sure not to overcook it or it will become mushy.

  4. Using a fork scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash into the strands that define this type of squash. Place in a strainer or colander or strainer while you make the pesto.

  5. For the pesto: in a food processor, place the cilantro, core & seeded jalapeño, avocados, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and process until smooth.  Scrape the sides, taste and adjust seasoning.

  6. Place the squash in a bowl, add the pesto and mix thoroughly, but be gentle.

  7. Serve immediately, garnish with feta cheese, either crumbled or grated and chopped toasted pecans.  Enjoy!!

 

 

Notes:

 

  • This dish can also be made with regular pasta. Substitute the spaghetti squash with cooked spaghetti or fettuccini.

  • It is important not to overcook the spaghetti squash or the quality of the dish will suffer.  

  • You can use the cilantro stems as they are packed with flavour and you're using a food processor, just make sure you wash the cilantro properly. 

  • You can use more jalapeños or leave the seeds if you want a spicier pesto.

  • Perfect side dish for fish or chicken.

 

 

 

 

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#1 

Prep, cut and measure ingredients before you start cooking to ease the process.  Organization is key and lists are your friends.

 

#2

Put a dish towel or a damp paper towel under your cutting board to keep it from slipping and moving around.

 

#3

Grate garlic and ginger with a microplane instead of mincing them with a knife.

 

#4

"Clean as you go" so you are not overwhelmed when you are done.  Find those down moments to wash utensils, pots & pans, and wipe counters, so you can enjoy your food and not have to clean all at the end.

 

#5

Use fresh herbs at the end of the cooking process to add freshness and flavour to the dish, but add dry herbs at the beginning to extract the most flavour possible.

 

#6

Season in layers...  this means to add a little salt and pepper every time you add a new ingredient to the pot/pan.  This will ensure all your ingredients are well seasoned and you will just have to adjust seasoning at the end.

 

#7

Recipes are just guidelines.  Feel free replacing ingredients with similar ones you like.  And remember, time and temperatures may vary according to sizes of the food and your appliances.

 

ABE'S COOKING TIPS & POINTERS

© 2016 by Abraham Wornovitzky for On My Table Today