Creamed Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter Walnuts
Crazy as this is, I don’t believe I’ve ever shared my history with spaghetti squash. Over the years, I’ve only shared a handful of spaghetti squash recipes. But did you guys know that spaghetti squash was one of the first real dishes I learned to cook?
Way, way back in the day (think little thirteen-year-old Tieghan), my mom turned me onto roasted spaghetti squash. She would roast it in the oven, scrape the strands, and simply toss with butter and salt. She’d serve it to me straight out of the spaghetti squash shell and I remember it tasting SO GOOD. Buttery, salty, and the noodles had just the slightest bit of sweetness to them. To this day, it’s still a favorite. I make roasted spaghetti squash every single year for Thanksgiving. I’ve done so since my family’s very first Thanksgiving in Colorado. It’s always one of the first side dishes to disappear.
Also? Thinking about it now, I have no idea how my mom discovered spaghetti squash. She’s not the most adventurous eater and crazy looking vegetables like spaghetti squash wouldn’t be something she’d typically reach for.
Who knows, she does love buttered noodles…so. Thankfully she turned me onto spaghetti squash, and it’s been one of my favorite fall vegetables to roast ever since.
Roasting spaghetti squash is easy….
If you’ve let spaghetti squash intimate you, don’t. Simply microwave the squash to soften the shell, then slice in half, scrape the seeds out, and roast. It does take a while to fully roast, about 30 minutes. But the time in the oven is worth it.
Roasting the squash brings out its sweetness and turns its strands into buttery deliciousness. Sounds too good to be true, but promise, it’s not.
Now for that cream sauce…
While the squash is roasting away in the oven, make the sauce. This cream sauce it extra special. It’s made with browned butter and a little milk (you can use any variety you’d like). But the real the secret?
Goat cheese. Using goat cheese keeps the sauce creamy. It gives it an almost Brie like flavor, and it’s all-around delicious. In addition to the cheese, I also use a little pesto to flavor sauce, and a good amount of garlic too. Once the spaghetti squash is roasted, just scrape it into “spaghetti” and toss the strands with the sauce.
That final touch…
The last thing you must do is toast the walnuts in butter with a little bit of fresh sage. This step takes five minutes to do this, but it makes ALL the difference and creates a recipe that’s truly mouth-watering. The butter turns nutty, the walnuts golden, and the sage gets perfectly crisp. Simply spoon the nuts over the creamed squash, kind of like a bread crumb finish, SO GOOD. Without a doubt, this is one of my current favorite recipes. I made it on a whim the other week and it’s already been remade multiple times.
It’s simple, but warming, and so delicious. And yes, this is the perfect addition to your menu. It makes for a great, updated, but still traditional side dish or a vegetarian main course.
Creamed Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter Walnuts
- 2 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter
- 1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 cup whole milk, nut milk, or canned coconut milk
- 3 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place the squash on a plate and microwave 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash in a baking dish and season the cut sides with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes or until the squash is tender.
3. Meanwhile, heat 6 tablespoons butter, the walnuts, sage, and a pinch of salt in a large skillet. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter is browned and the walnuts are toasted. Remove the nuts from the skillet to a plate.
4. In the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with the garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, milk, goat cheese, manchego, and pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Remove from the heat.
4. When the squash is ready, use a fork to scrape the squash into strands, then toss the squash with the pesto cream sauce. Serve the squash warm, topped with buttery walnuts.
To Make Ahead: prepare the squash through step 4, but leave the walnuts off the squash. Cool and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, gently warm the squash over low heat on the stove, stirring until warmed. Top with walnuts.
To Keep Warm in the Slow Cooker: prepare the squash through step 4, but leave the walnuts off the squash. Transfer the squash to the slow cooker and keep on the WARM setting for up to 4 hours. Keep the walnuts to the side of the squash until ready to use for topping.
Healthy Halloween Stuffed Peppers
Halloween Stuffed Peppers
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
- 4 small peppers (a mix of orange, red and yellow looks nice)
- 25g pine nuts
- 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 1 red onion , chopped
- 2 fat garlic cloves , crushed
- 1 small aubergine , chopped into small pieces
- 200g pouch mixed grains (we used bulghur wheat and quinoa)
- 2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
- zest of 1 lemon
- bunch basil , chopped
- STEP 1
Cut the tops off the peppers (keeping the tops to one side) and remove the seeds and any white flesh from inside. Use a small sharp knife to carve spooky Halloween faces into the sides. Chop any offcuts into small pieces and set aside.
- STEP 2
Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for a few mins until golden, and set aside. Heat the oil in the pan, and heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cook the onion in the oil for 8-10 mins until softened. Stir in the garlic, pepper offcuts and aubergine and cook for another 10 mins, until the veggies are soft. Add a splash of water if the pan looks dry. Season.
- STEP 3
Squeeze the pouch of grains to break them up, then tip into the pan with the tomato paste. Stir for a minute or two to warm through, then remove from the heat and add the lemon zest, basil and pine nuts.
- STEP 4
Fill each pepper with the grain mixture. Replace the lids, using cocktail sticks to secure them in place, and put the peppers in a deep roasting tin with the carved faces facing upwards. Cover with foil and bake for 35 mins, uncovered for the final 10. The peppers should be soft and the filling piping hot.