Here’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner – Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Pecans, Kale and Dried Cranberries. Vegan and gluten-free, this meal is quickly becoming one of our favorites around here – savory and subtly sweet, infused with delicious fall flavors. I hope you give it a whirl!
This week I’m so excited to have partnered with The American Pecan. Did you know, pecans are being harvested right now – typically October through December – all across the Southern States! This is when they are at their peak of flavor – their sweetest and freshest! Pecans are harvested in the fall by literally shaking tall pecan trees, which are among the largest in the hickory family and the only major nut tree to grow in America naturally.
This nutrient-dense nut has soooooo many health benefits! Pecans contain “good” monounsaturated fats, zero cholesterol, and plant-protein. They’re also a good source of fiber, which helps us feel fuller longer and energized all day long.
In this recipe, they give the meal a boost of healthy plant-based protein.
A quick tip. Always keep your shelled pecans in the refrigerator, this way they’ll stay fresh and sweet tasting. They’ll keep for about nine months in an airtight container, and up to two years in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer!
Roast the spaghetti squash in the oven for 35 minutes, cut-side down. (Alternatively you can microwave for 10-12 minutes, or until tender.)
An awesome Spaghetti Squash Tip: Cutting the spaghetti squash this way (horizontally) instead of the long way, helps keep their strands long and intact, more like spaghetti! When you cut the squash vertically, you end up cutting all the strands in half, so you end up with short strands.
Cut a sliver off the bottom to create a stable base, so when you stuff them, then they can stand straight and upright.
While they are roasting, make the simple filling with onion, garlic, mounds of kale, pecans and the dried cranberries. Finish with a splash of balsamic and maple syrup.
Loosen the strands with a fork. See how long they are? Much more fun to wind around a fork! Season each side with salt and a little drizzle of maple syrup and olive oil (or butter if you like) then gently toss the filling in with the spaghetti squash. My husband likes to add a little butter – but I leave mine pretty lean.
How easy is that!!??
A satisfying and filling, nutritious meal that is full of flavor!
Hope you are having a beautiful week!Print
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Pecans, Kale & Dried Cranberries – a vegan, gluten-free, wholesome meal that is simple to make and perfect for busy weeknights!
- 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half, horizontally
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 2 heaping handfuls chopped Lacinato or tuscan kale
- ¼ cup pecans halves
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 4–5 fresh torn sage leaves- optional
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice a sliver off each bottom, creating a flat surface so they can stand upright when stuffed. Roast them open side down on a parchment lined sheet pan, until you can pierce the skin with a fork, 35-40 minutes. ( Alternatively, for faster cooking, microwave cut side down for 10-12 minutes in baking dish with a little water)
While they are roasting, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the onions. Saute 2-3 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes or so, until fragrant and golden. Add the kale, pecan and craisins, and keep stirring and sautéing, lowering heat if necessary until nicely wilted. Stir in the sage, salt and pepper. Finally add the balsamic and maple. Turn heat off.
Once the spaghetti squash is tender, flip them over and unravel and fluff the strands with a fork. Sprinkle each half with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup (about a teaspoon each) and toss the strands well with the fork. Incorporate the filling.
Divide the filling between the two shells, using a fork, gently mixing it in with the strands, mounding it up high. Taste, adjust salt and maple, then enjoy!