Southwest Spaghetti Squash

southwestern style spaghetti squash bowl with avocado crema

 A healthy, creative southwest spaghetti squash bowl topped with southwest succotash and avocado crema.  So good you’ll forget it’s good for you!

Remember back towards the beginning of January when I announced it was time for me to stop being a fatty?  It’s about time I give you an update with how that’s all been going.

My buddy Steve and I have been going to the gym several times a week before work.  It’s hard rolling out of bed in the pitch black knowing full well it’s stupid cold outside.  But we’re committed.  He’s getting married in July and we need to look good in tuxes.

Weeknight take-out dinners have been replaced with strategic healthy cooking.  All junk food snacks have been hidden from sight.  And I managed to only take a single bite of those homemade brownie sundae klondike bars I made.  That was the toughest moment of my “diet” so far.  I had to dig down deep for some willpower.

And, in three weeks, I’m down 14 pounds.

southwestern style spaghetti squash bowl with avocado crema

I still have about 20 pounds to lose, but to know that I’m on the right track is a great feeling.  We can do this!

So I could tell you 2 things right now.  I could try to make a case for how spaghetti squash tastes just like pasta and blah blah blah.  But that would be a complete and utter lie.  It doesn’t taste like pasta.  What it does taste like is spaghetti squash.  And you know what?  That’s okay, because spaghetti squash is delicious and like a bajillion times healthier than pasta.

So although it’s not pasta and doesn’t taste like pasta, it does make for a great base to build on tons of different flavors.

southwestern style spaghetti squash bowl with avocado crema

The southwest succotash has the normal suspects… onions, peppers, jalapeno, black beans, corn, lime, and some of those Mexican-y spices.  But I threw in some cooked edamame as well simply because it was lying there in the freezer looking at me and it adds a nice pop of color.  Feel free to omit that if you’re not feeling it.

No matter what,  don’t skimp on the avocado crema.  It’s totally crucial to maximizing the full enjoyment of this Southwest Spaghetti Squash.  And since it’s made with Greek yogurt, you can go nuts with the stuff.

Southwest Spaghetti Squash
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, or 1 (15 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked edamame beans
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Avocado Crema (recipe below)
  • Queso fresco, crumbled, for garnish
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish
for the Avocado Crema
  • 1 ripe avocado, roughly mashed
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Carefully cut your spaghetti squash in half with a large, sharp knife. Remove seeds and stringy guts, and brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place spaghetti squash, cut side down, on an aluminum-lined baking sheet and roast until tender, about 45-60 minutes.
  2. To test if your squash is done, scrap the flesh with a fork. If the strands come off easily, it's done. Let the cooked spaghetti squash cool for about 5 minutes, then scrape all the flesh into a beautiful pile of spaghetti strands. Taste and season with some more Kosher salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, and jalapeno. Season with Kosher salt and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, and Mexican oregano, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring to avoid burning garlic. Add beans, corn, and edamame. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, stir to combine, and cook until heated through. Squeeze in the juice of the lime and give it one last quick stir.
  4. Divide spaghetti squash among four bowls. Top with southwest succotash, avocado crema, crumbled queso fresco, and cilantro.
for the Avocado Crema
  1. Combine avocado, Greek yogurt, lime juice, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Good for you Chris for taking the healthy path (no matter how much it might suck sometimes!) *High-five man*

    Needless to say it, I’m a huge fan of fan spaghetti squash, especially when loaded with a mixture of mouth watering ingredients. Awesome recipe!

    • says

      Thanks so much Mike and virtual high-five right back at ya, haha. Yes, spaghetti squash is pretty darn awesome… I’m a fan and am having fun experimenting with all sorts of different flavors.

  2. says

    ugh MEN. yes it sounds like you’re working hard but a woman could never lose 14lbs in a month!! lol proud of you tho, esp with the klondike bars!! even at my most determined I would never pass those babies up :)

    this recipe looks awesome, just a great way to inject loads of flavor into squash.

    • says

      Hahaha, I know. So many people said the same thing to me. My body loses weight really easily… but it also gains weight really easy! The hard part is keeping it off! I know, the klondike bars keep looking at me every time I open the freezer!

  3. says

    This looks very decadent … but it isn’t, of course. Sounds like a lovely combination of flavours. I guess that queso fresco is a crumbly white cheese? Could I substitute something like feta?

    • says

      Thanks so much Helen! Yes, it’s a crumbly white salty cheese. Queso fresco, cojita cheese, famers cheese are all good substitutes.. and feta is similar in texture but I think it’s a bit saltier… it would defitely work though I think :)

  4. says

    Shut the front door! This looks amazing Chris. I am totally on board with you and the spaghetti squash thing, does not taste like pasta at all but I actually think its better. Has a sweet taste which goes perfect with any additions you add to it. And LOVING the Southwest twist you took on this. Totally making it and will have to do a double dose of that avocado crema, more so my husband can have some because I might eat all of it!! Pinned!

    • says

      Haha so glad we are on the same page with the whole spaghetti squash thing Krista! I love it too.. and since it’s healthy, I don’t feel so guilty going back for seconds! Yes, double dose of the crema might be necessary ;)

  5. says

    YAY for your weight loss, Chris! I think this looks awesome (and you know I won’t skip the avocado crema!). I’ve been trying to cut back on my pasta intake, too — I have found quinoa pasta and brown rice pasta to be pretty good substitutes as well.

    • says

      Thanks Ninj! I am a huge fan of quinoa pasta… there is a really great one at Whole Foods in a greenish box that has a great texture just like the real deal.

  6. says

    “He’s getting married in July and we need to look good in tuxes.” Haha, I literally laughed out loud. Congrats on the 14 pounds! That is amazing! And this recipe is also amazing! I am a huge fan of anything spaghetti squash and anything southwest style. So this is basically a winner in my book. Yummm! Definitely getting pinned.

  7. says

    Congrats on your success so far! That’s awesome that you’re sticking with your goals! And some impressive willpower to only have one bite of those awesome bars!

    I really enjoy spaghetti squash and this sounds delicious! It does crack me up though when people say it tastes just like pasta… umm what? Tasty yes, but not exactly just like pasta : )

    • says

      It was an amazing moment of willpower for sure! Once in a while I get lucky with those things :) I know, I totally crack up too when I read that!

  8. says

    Congrats on the weight loss Chris, that is SO awesome!!!
    I love Spaghetti squash and I SERIOUSLY need some new ways to eat it…and this looks like just that. And I definitely lol’d @ “it doesn’t taste like pasta. It tastes like spaghetti squash.” Someone has to be honest!
    I want that avocado on all. the. things!

  9. says

    Wow. Great job. It sure is hard to keep away from the food as a blogger. I tell myself only a bite and then it’s so good I can’t stop. Keep at it. Sounds like you’re doing well!.
    Looks like the perfect combination of southwest flavors. Yum!

    • says

      Hahaha that’s the problem I have normally. Oh, just one bite. Oops, I just ate the whole thing! Or, ooooh a new restaurant opened up and I “need” to try it for the blog!

  10. says

    This dish looks deeeelicious! Congrats on the weight loss! That’s awesome and yes, you can do it! I happen to love Spaghetti Squash, but thank you for being honest that it does not taste like pasta. So many pass it off as being the same. Um, it’s not. It’s a great substitute and lovely but no, it’s not the same. Have a great weekend!

    • says

      Haha thanks so much Tina! I appreciate the encouragement! Yes, it’s totally not the same! Great substitute agreed, but no one try to pass it off as pasta!

  11. says

    Wow! This looks so delicious! I love spaghetti squash, black beans, and edamame Top that with avocado crema…yum!! I’ve got the fork, just pass me a bowl :D

  12. says

    Congrats Chris! I’m sure you’ll get there in no time!
    I love that you’re coming up with healthy delicious recipes like this one. It looks crazy awesome and your pictures are gorgeous :–)
    Pinning! x

  13. says

    14 lbs in one month…wow! Congrats to you! Those sundae bars look TO. DIE. FOR… only taking one bite is a seriously huge feat. Those look SO good.

    This spaghetti squash looks so good, too! Thanks for being real about it not being a dupe for pasta. Thinking it’ll be just like eating a plate of spaghetti is just setting yourself up for disappointment in my opinion. But knowing you’re eating spaghetti squash with a bunch of awesome flavors (especially with that incredible sounding avocado crema!) sounds satisfying in the utmost. Yum!

    • says

      Thanks so much Alyssa! I know… it was shocking that I had willpower in that moment. Even my wife was shocked. She ate a whole one happily while I watched. It was painful to sit on the sidelines.

  14. says

    Wow, 14 pounds?! I’m so impressed! You clearly have some great willpower if you were able to resist those delicious looking Klondike bars! I love dishes like this one, that are healthy but that do not sacrifice any flaovr. This looks amazing!

  15. says

    14 pounds in 3 weeks!? You are my hero. I need to lose a good 10 pounds or so ASAP, and this dinner looks like a great place to start. Thanks for an awesome recipe, and keep up the good dieting, exercising, and blogging work!

  16. says

    This looks like such a DELICIOUS recipe! Congrats on your weight loss….that’s incredible! So glad you shared this “secret weapon” recipe at Saturday Night Fever! Pinning!!

    • says

      Thanks so much Cathy! Healthy eating that actually tastes good is totally my secret weapon… I can’t eat healthy just to be healthy… flavor is always #1 :)

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