The Topic: How to cook an enviable, cheap and easy vegan version of spaghetti Bolognese using squash with Editorial Assistant Hilary Pollack
The Dish: I'm not the best cook at the VegNews offices, or at my own apartment, for that matter. However, there are a few dishes that I've mastered and managed to replicate time and time again to excellent critical reception. One of my greatest crowd-pleasers of all time is a spaghetti squash version of Spaghetti Bolognese, which is not only more healthful, but more interesting—and in my opinion, tastier—than the traditional stuff. Better yet, it's virtually fool-proof. Here's the lowdown on how I make mouths water without fail.
Easy Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
What You Need:
1/4 cup water
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash, halved with seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 to 5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup vegan ground crumbles
1-1/2 cups prepared vegan marinara sauce
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup mozzarella-style vegan cheese (I use Daiya)
What You Do:
1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, add water. Invert one half of spaghetti squash on bowl, cut side down, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 8-1/2 minutes.
2. In a medium frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil, shallot, and garlic. Stir periodically until shallots and garlic are almost translucent, then add mushrooms and crumbles. Continue to stir periodically until crumbles and mushrooms darken slightly. Add marinara sauce, pepper, and salt, and allow to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring periodically.
3. Carefully remove plastic wrap from squash and flip over so that cut side is up, and allow to cool slightly. With a fork, comb sides of squash to extract noodle-like strands. Continue until all flesh has been separated into strands.
4. In a large saucepan, add spaghetti squash strands and cheese. Add sauce and mix well. Serve hot!
The Final Word: This dish is super hearty and much healthier than carb-loaded white pasta. And, even a culinary dunce can whip it up without incident. If you want to make a fancier rendition, try roasting the spaghetti squash halves in the oven topped with olive oil and freshly ground pepper, or replace jarred sauce with our Homemade Marinara or the filling from our Bolognese Lasagna. Spaghetti squash is so easy, tasty, and versatile, it's hard not to get hooked.