I'm a busy mom, so I am always on the hunt for quick and easy recipes….and for new things to shake up our mundane meals. This Summer Spaghetti Squash Salad totally fits the bill.
It's easy to throw together, tastes amazing, and if you cook your spaghetti squash in a pressure cooker (I LOVE my pressure cookers), or crock pot, then you can make this dish without heating the kitchen up at all. And since the temps where I live are hitting 90 degrees this weekend, you can bet I won't be heating up the oven — no way!
This recipe comes from my dear friend, Candace, who used to write at Candida-Free Candee. Her blog is gone, but her fabulous recipe lives on.
My youngest danced around the kitchen after eating this, singing “This is the BEST! This is the Best!”
He said that this is the best dish I have ever made, next to My Most Requested Recipe — Pakistani Kima (Ground Beef Curry), and I think I agree.
In fact, it's quite addictive.
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My Personal Thoughts on Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is kind of a funny thing to get personal about, but — here goes.
I've always had a love – hate relationship with spaghetti squash.
I love that it's low carb, and I love thinking about how good it's going to taste when I put some salt and olive oil or butter, or spaghetti sauce on it, but then……well, once I cook it, I quickly get sick of it.
First of all, I buy too much of it. But secondly, I don't have any fantabulous recipes for the thing.
I tend to buy a lot of it when it's on sale (especially if I can find it for a really really low price), thinking that I will cook a bunch of this amazing low carb pasta, and then freeze it for future eating, but I never do it.
What happens instead is that I end up making the spaghetti squash, and really enjoying it…
For about 1. meal. total.
Then I am stuck. In a big Spaghetti Squash Rut.
For some reason, I get really tired of it quickly and end up trying to slug it down, and not doing very good job of it.
Not to mention the fact that it's hard to cut it — and hard to cook it.
I know — you can cook it in the oven, but I really don't like heating the oven up just for a lone squash, and cooking a spaghetti squash in the oven takes a LONG time.
At least I've had a good solution for the cooking part for a long time.
The pressure cooker.
You can literally cook a spaghetti squash (or any winter squash, for that matter) in only about 8 minutes in the pressure cooker. And I know–the pressure cooker thing. You're worried about it exploding all over the place like my Irish grandmother's did (I think she ended up with spaghetti sauce on the ceiling), but the new fangled pressure cookers of today just have so many safety valves that you don't need to worry about tie-dying your kitchen ceiling or endangering your life :).
Seriously, if you have never considered getting a pressure cooker, please do consider it. I wrote about my love for pressure cookers here, and recently bought the Instant Pot, but have yet to break it in. From what I hear, it's going to be one of the best things I have EVER bought for my kitchen. So looking forward to it!
So — this Salad totally takes away the “I can't stand to see another plate of spaghetti squash” conundrum.
In fact, you and your kids are sure to love it. The tangy dressing and the vibrant colors are sure to keep you coming back for more.
And it's fast! With the squash ready in 8 minutes, the dressing comes together so fast — that you've basically got a side dish ready in about 10 min (not counting the time for the pressure cooker to come up to pressure and all that).
Not to mention, if you've got leftover squash lying around, you've got an incredibly fast 2 Minute Side Dish.
What You Will Need
- Spaghetti Squash (see variation suggestions for other options)
- Red Onion
- Red Pepper (if you don't have fresh, use a mix of dried peppers, and for AIP, use chives instead of peppers)
- Yellow Pepper (see above)
- Fresh or Dried Basil
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes (use Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes or purchase those without additives. Omit for AIP)
- Olive Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Mustard Powder (optional; omit for AIP)
Instead of spaghetti squash, you could make this dish using regular pasta, of course, or bean pasta (we made it that way and it was amazing!) We really like this Bean Pasta.
It's got a pretty high amount of protein and a much lower carb count than most pastas. In addition, it's grain-free!
This salad would be a great addition to any outdoor barbecue, but is of course just great as well for a tasty side dish at home.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (approximately 4 cups of flesh)
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced (or ¼ cup dried mixed peppers, or use approx. ½ cup more onion instead of peppers for AIP)
- 1 yellow pepper, diced (see above for alternative and for AIP)
- ¼ cup fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp dried)
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted and chopped (use Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes or purchase a variety without additives. Omit for AIP)
- Slice squash in half, lengthwise, and remove the fibrous strings and seeds. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place facedown on a foil–lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° F for 30-40 minutes or until the squash pulls apart in “spaghetti” strings. Cool. Alternatively, cook the spaghetti squash in a Pressure Cooker for a much faster (and cooler) alternative.
- Using a fork, remove the squash's flesh and place in a medium bowl.
- Add in all other Salad Ingredients.
- Place dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to mix well.
- Pour over salad, then toss and serve.