Spaghetti Squash with Beluga Lentils, Parsley Pesto & Shiitake

My mothers husband is Italian. And as most Italians he loves Italian food. He can talk forever about how to make the perfect melanzane parmegiana. And how you always should rub the garlic against the bread when making bruschetta. Or debate why the pizzas are better in Napoli than in Rome. And while he talks, he is of course gesticulating frenetically with his hands. He is always very passionate when it comes to things like that. But whenever he watches us try modern alternatives of traditional pasta recipes he just puts his palms together and says “Spaghetti, spaghetti, that is not spaghetti, mama mia che schifo”.

If you are like my mothers husband you should probably stop reading here, because this is another healthier and gluten free version of spaghetti – The Spaghetti Squash (Squaghetti). A yellow and orange striped squash with a special talent. When cooked you can run a fork through it and it’ll separate into spaghetti like strands in no time and without any expensive kitchen appliance. The only down side is that it can be a little hard to come by. Some supermarkets sell it, otherwise check with your local farmers market or look at organic grocery stores.

–Luise

You can serve the spaghetti squash with any of your favorite pasta sauces. Or try this rustic parsley pesto, beluga lentils & roasted shiitake topping. Here we have kept the pesto very chunky, by simply grinding it in a mortar. But you could also make it creamier if using a food processor.

Spaghetti Squash with Beluga Lentils, Parsley Pesto & Shiitake
Serves 2

1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (120 ml) beluga lentils, rinsed
1 cup (240 ml )water
a pinch of salt

1 cup (around 100 g) fresh shiitake mushrooms

Parsley Pesto
2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
3 tbsp pine nuts or nuts of choice, toasted
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Divide the spaghetti squash lengthwise with a large sharp knife. Rub the cut sides with coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Place both halves on a baking tray, cut side down. Bake in the oven for 40-60 minutes (depending on the size of the squash). The halves are ready when the skin is bubbly and slightly browned. Meanwhile prepare lentils, pesto and shiitake. Place water and lentils in saucepan, cover and bring to a boil, lower the heat and let gently simmer for 30 minutes or until tender and can be mashed easily between two fingers. Drain any excess water and set aside. Place all pesto ingredients in a mortar and grind until creamy, but still chunky, set aside. Remove the squash from the oven, turn it so you’ll have the cut side up and let cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile heat the shiitake mushroom in a frying pan with a little coconut oil until soft and browned, set aside. Use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti strands. Place on serving plates, top with beluga lentils, pesto and shiitake.

40 Comments

  • What a beautiful dish! I love spaghetti squash and am always looking for new ways to use it in a meal. The parsley pesto sounds wonderful!
  • I love crazy combinations like this! It may not be traditional, but that's what makes it so fun.
  • Carissa
    Lighten up G! I'm Italian too and I loved this. It's so true all of it. I'm a vegetarian and my family would never accept a spaghetti alternative like this. I'm trying it tomorrow! Keep writing from your experiences from the heart. Don't hold back a thing! It is what makes this site so special.
  • oh delightful! always looking for new things to do with spaghetti squash. looks incredibly fresh and lovely.
  • I love squaghetti (What a great name, I'm completing stealing that word!). I've currently got a seedling in the garden and hoping to get some homegrown spaghetti squash to play with in a few months :) Beautiful recipe, yum!
  • To me it looks great but my husband would be like your mother's husband because it has nothing to do with spaghetti. But if I present it as a vegetable dish, then he would love it. When we get together with my husband's family, they all talk about the food we are eating with great passion. It is a part of being Italian.
  • I love spaghetti squash from living in Canada but haven't found it back in NZ so grew some in the garden from seed and still getting through our stash from the harvest. Thanks a new recipe idea :)
  • Oh, yum! The freshness, and slight bitterness of the parsley would be just about perfect against all that sweet grainy squash. Add some texture from the lentils? Gorge.
  • emily
    Lovely recipe. Want to try this for dinner soon. Great combination of ingredients!
  • Ann-Louise - where have you found spaghetti squash in GBB? Jag hoppas nära Majorna. :)
  • Giulia
    Thank you, David. Your comment is much appreciated. I can tell that you like Italy... it just saddens me to see so many stereotypes and sweeping characterizations made of people from a culture that is – outside of the way it is portrayed, mainly in English-speaking venues – quite rich and complex. Just like any other culture, after all. But your kind comment speaks to the value of intercultural dialogue, and for that I thank you again.
    • Mrs G
      I agree with Giulia's comment. And, I would add, "che schifo" is not really an expression I would write in relation to food. It refers to something very dirty and bad. I was taught that you should never ever use it to speak about food, good, edible food that you simply do not like. It would be acceptable to describe perished, rotten food or food prepared in a non hygienical environment. Unfortunately too many people use it as synonymous of "I don't like". I appreciate that being non Italian native speaker that nuance might have been missed.
      • Hi Mrs G, I agree that "che schifo" is a strong expression, but he actually says so (although with a smile on his face). Again, sorry if we offended anyone. It was not our intention. /Luise
      • Bianca
        Mrs. G., don't get your knickers in a knot. Nothing wrong with using "che schifo" in light hearted banter no matter what the subject of conversation is. Literally, it means, "that's disgusting" or...in more current terminology "that sucks". Please don't put your limitations on every Italian or non-Italian as to when and where it's appropriate to use that expression. As you know, despite our regional differences, we should all remember our sense of humour.
  • Elizabeth
    Hej! Rigtig god blog. Ved I hvor man kan købe spaghetti squash i København? Synes efterhånden jeg har prøvet de fleste steder. - Elizabeth.
  • What a fabulous recipe! This is gorgeous!
  • Looks marvelous! I'm loving everything about this recipe!
  • Giulia
    Thank you for reducing me and my culture to yet another silly cliché.
    • Hi Giulia, I am so very sorry if we offended you. That was never our intention. I can assure you that we love Italy, Italian food and everything about the Italian culture. During my six months in Rome I did everything I could to learn how to speak (and become) an Italian. I love how you gesticulate with your hands when you speak. And how colazione, pranzo e cena are topics that from my experience most Italians love to talk about. We would never make fun of that if we didn't love everything about it. Luise's step dad is just VERY traditional when it comes to food, and that was the cliché that we were actually making fun of, not the Italian culture. Mi dispiace tanto! /David
    • Amy
      Chill, hon! Life is too short.
  • Sunniva
    Oh, this looks amazing! What is spaghetti squash called in Swedish? (I haven't seen it here in Norway..)
      • Hos oss i Skane kallas den spagettipumpa. :) Antar att det är samma sak.
  • I absolutely adore spaghetti squash. Even in Gothenburg it is a bit tricky to get ahold of but with a little bit of luck you can find it. I love how you have pared it together with beluga lentils. YUM.
  • i love spaghetti squash but have yet to make any this autumn! thank you for reminding me of this ;) i love beluga lentils and am looking forward to trying out this dish!

Leave a comment