How to Cook Spaghetti Squash!
What does it mean to “eat a rainbow”?
This Lesson Plan is part the Nutrition Module of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.
All fruits and vegetables have differing levels of phytonutrients, which are a variety of chemicals that may aid a host of health sustenance processes. While phytonutrients are not essential for living (like vitamins and minerals), they are responsible for giving foods certain colors; therefore, consistently eating an assortment of produce -- and colors -- with every meal will give the consumer key attributes for living a long and healthy life. With this lesson, we explore one way to prepare spaghetti squash, and use a colorful arrangement of ingredients to aid the mission of “eating a rainbow,” and guarantee that our bodies have a diverse profile of phytonutrients, as well as vitamins and minerals.
Students will be able to...
Prepare spaghetti squash bowls
Understand the importance of incorporating many colors of food into every meal
phytonutrient /ˌfīdōˈno͞otrēənt/ noun. - a chemical produced by plants that defends against certain threats, aiding the survival of that plant (some of which may also be beneficial for consumption by animals)
1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies:
knife · cutting board · spoon · basting/pastry brush · baking sheet · oven · frying pan · fork · several bowls, as needed · spaghetti squash (1 medium sized) · balsamic vinegar (1 tablespoon) · olive oil (1 tablespoon) · molasses (1 teaspoon) · basil pesto (~ 1 cup) · cherry tomatoes (~ 1 cup, halved) · shallot (1, diced) · garlic cloves (2, minced) · chickpeas (1 - 2 cups) · peeled, raw shrimp (1 lb [optional] + lemon, butter, red pepper flakes) · butter, for frying (or oil) · salt · pepper
2. Watch the following YouTube video to see a demonstration of how to prepare a spaghetti squash bowl. Then, follow along with the remainder of the lesson by reading the steps below.
🎥 Phytonutrient highlight … Carotenoids, which produce red, orange, and yellow pigments, can be found in foods such as spaghetti squash. While spaghetti squash have numerous other health benefits, they are high in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A, and helps prevent cellular damage.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
4. Microwave the spaghetti squash for 2 minutes (to make it easier to cut into).
5. While microwaving, prepare the glaze: in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and molasses and stir until combined.
6. On the cutting board, carefully use a large knife to cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
7. Use a spoon to remove the insides (seeds and pulp) of the spaghetti squash, and discard (compost!) contents.
8. Use a brush to spread the glaze on the inside of the spaghetti squash, or simply drizzle it over the inside. Use about a teaspoon of both salt and pepper to coat the inside of each half.
9. Place the spaghetti squash halves on the baking sheet face-down, and bake for 40 - 50 minutes (until tender).
10. Prepare other ingredients: make (or open jar of) basil pesto, halve cherry tomatoes, dice shallot, mince garlic, and defrost shrimp (if necessary and desired).
11. [Optional] Cook shrimp: Heat about one tablespoon of butter in a frying pan on medium heat, and add shrimp. As the shrimp begin to turn color, add salt, pepper, the juice from half of one lemon, and red pepper flakes (all to taste). Cook until much of the water has evaporated, and the shrimp are pink all the way through (about 8 minutes total). Remove to a plate.
12. Heat about one tablespoon of butter in a frying pan on medium heat, and add the shallot and garlic. Cook until the garlic and shallot begin to soften -- a few minutes.
13. Add the chickpeas and the cherry tomatoes to the pan, and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, continuing to stir. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Remove to a bowl.
14. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven, and let it cool for 5 or more minutes. Use a fork to test if it is tender enough to peel strands of “spaghetti” from one another (if not, put back in the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes).
15. Combine ingredients (using a plate, or using one-half of the squash as the bowl itself). Place the (yellow!) spaghetti squash on the bottom, followed by the (green!) pesto, the cherry tomato topping (red, brown, purple, white!), and shrimp (pink!). Enjoy.
Download the PDF version of this lesson plan: