Some time ago when my eldest child was still a preschooler, we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner. Another couple brought in the vegetable dish they had made to contribute to the dinner. It was the first time I had tasted spaghetti squash and I was instantly hooked to its delicious taste and noodle-like texture. I decided to come home and try my hand at this dish. After a few modifications, I came up with the recipe below. This is such an extremely easy dish to whip up at dinnertime or as a vegetable side dish for guests. In fact, for a recent holiday dinner, I taught my husband how to cook this dish and the guests all enjoyed this Toasted Corn & Spaghetti Squash dish immensely.
A delightful vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free vegetable side dish that forms the perfect accompaniment to the main course.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 3 large garlic cloves (minced)
- 3 cups frozen corn [411 g] (or fresh corn kernels)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided (or vegan margarine)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Boil the spaghetti squash (see how to do this, read Tips on Using Spaghetti Squash). When the spaghetti squash is cooked through, remove it carefully from the pot and let is cool/drain in a colander. Then cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the inner strand-like flesh with a fork into a large bowl.
Alternatively, you can roast the spaghetti squash. To do so, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Next, wash the outer surface of the spaghetti squash and then cut the spaghetti squash into 1 inch rings. There is no need to scoop out the seeds yet. Place these cut rings on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, then lightly brush the cut surface of the rings with a tiny bit of olive oil (about 2 teaspoons total for all the butternut squash rings). Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the spaghetti squash rings cool before removing the seeds, and scooping out the strands into a large bowl using a fork.
While the squash is being cooked in the pot of water (or roasted in the oven), heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a separate large saucepan. Once hot, throw in the minced garlic to fry. When the garlic pieces are browned, remove the toasted chopped garlic to set aside in a bowl.
Using the same saucepan, add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. Then put the frozen or fresh corn into the pan to cook on a low-medium fire stove setting. Cook the corn until it is golden and toasted (takes approximately 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Add the salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder to the spaghetti squash strands in the bowl and mix until combined. Let the spaghetti squash sit to marinate with the seasonings at least 10 minutes.
Finally, add in the shredded marinated spaghetti squash strands and the toasted garlic pieces back into the saucepan to combine with the toasted corn kernels. Stir to combine well.
After a few minutes, when the spaghetti squash strands are heated through, taste the combined mixture and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm and enjoy!
If you like, towards the end of the cooking process you can add in a tablespoon of coconut oil or vegan margarine for a more buttery feel and texture. Feel free to also add in another protein-rich source like toasted pine nuts, cooked black beans or roasted pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds. Sprinkle some vegan 'cheese' shreds on top for a finishing touch!
It is surprisingly how filling this can be as a side to a meatless dinner! My eldest child loved this paired with mashed potatoes. I’m sure you could also just combine the strands of spaghetti squash into mashed potatoes as you are mixing it. However, it also works great separately as you can come up with all sorts of fun creations which are sure to appeal to little ones. My then nearly 4 year old loved having a monkey face on her plate using yellow spaghetti squash ‘hair’ and a white mashed potato ‘face’!