Have you noticed that colorful winter squash of all sorts are popping up everywhere? With prices low, it’s time to stock up on these extremely versatile, long shelf life vegetables. All you need are some great recipes to use them in and some tips on how to prepare them.
How about a roasted-to-perfection butternut squash with whole grain, gluten-free spaghetti noodles you can enjoy on a cool fall evening? With the addition of some fresh Thai basil from my garden, oven roasted spicy tofu cubes, and some pecan halves for garnishing, this healthy meal is beyond what any words could describe.
What’s your favorite winter squash, butternut, acorn, or spaghetti? I like all of them (see my lentil butternut squash soup recipe). Whenever I see them showcased in the grocery stores, I know the colorful fall in Michigan is on its way. The naturally sweet flavor in butternut squash pairs extremely well with fresh garden herbs, such as basil, rosemary, or sage. In today’s recipe, I chose basil that is still growing in my garden.
How to work with butternut squash?
Have you ever found it difficult to cut one of these large hard squash. Of all the squash, butternut squash is one of the easiest to work with. Because of its elongated shape, you can use a peeler to remove the skin (if required by the recipe or you are making a puree) and then cut the squash in half at the neck. If you like to have some crunchiness in your baked squash, you can keep the skin on. By the way, I found an interesting article on safety tips for cutting hard and large vegetables here.
While the seasoned squash cubes were baking in the oven, I prepared the rest of ingredients and boiled a pot of water on the stove to cook the spaghetti. An important thing to note is that you should get everything else ready (such as sauté the vegetables and tofu together) before the spaghetti is cooked. Since the gluten-free spaghetti tends to be soggy if it is overcooked or sits on the counter too long, I will rinse them well with cold tap water and then use right away as recipe calls.
This is a simple and wholesome dish you can easily make at home. The golden yellow butternut squash, the perfectly seasoned and roasted tofu cubes, and the fresh green Thai basil leaves all come together to make this spaghetti an appealing and satisfying dish you can enjoy this fall.
- 1 butternut squash (approximately 22 oz)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sage powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz uncooked gluten-free brown rice spaghetti
- 10 cups water
- 1-½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 large green bell pepper, cubed
- 10 oz oven roasted tofu cubes (see note)
- 12 fresh basil leaves, cut lengthwise into strips
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cups pecan halves
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Cut the Butternut Squash: Use a peeler to remove the skin of butternut squash. If you want to have some crunchiness in the baked squash, you can keep the skin on. Remove the ends and then cut the squash in half at the neck. Cut the neck and body part in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove and discard the seeds and stringy bits. Cut the squash into approximately one-inch cubes.
- Season and Bake the Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 400 °F. Place the squash cubes into a large bowl and add salt, sage powder, and olive oil to toss. Transfer the seasoned squash cubes onto a baking pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the squash cubes are easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.
- While the squash is baking, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add uncooked spaghetti and cook according to package directions; rinse with cold water and drain. Toss the cooked spaghetti with olive oil and salt gently to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
- While the spaghetti is cooking, heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add canola oil when the pan is hot. Wait for approximately 10 seconds until the oil is hot and then reduce the heat to medium. Add garlic and crushed pepper. Stir quickly until they are fragrant; approximately 20 seconds. Add green pepper, roasted tofu, butternut squash, and half of the basil leaves. Stir until the green pepper cubes are crispy and tender; approximately 3 minutes. Stir briefly.
- Add the spaghetti and stir briefly; approximately 1 minute. Garnish with pecan and the remaining basil leaves. Serve immediately.