Spaghetti Squash and Lentils

Every couple of weeks I stare at the squashes.  I contemplate whether I will actually cook them if I buy them. Acorn, butternut, delicata, and of course, the spaghetti squash. Now the butternut I can buy already peeled and cut up.  I use that one all the time.  It’s a no-brainer. But the yellow, football shaped spaghetti, the one they always say you can substitute for real spaghetti (ha!), now that one always gives me pause.  It sound so simple to prepare: bake until soft, and scoop out the strands.  So why do I let it sit in my fridge until I’m not sure if  it’s good anymore?  It’s so intimidating, and it doesn’t seem like it will be as simple as it sounds.  Well, today I decided I was going to bite the bullet and DO IT!   Accompanying my spaghetti squash is a delicious tomato lentil stew.  It came out gorgeous AND delicious. (And total prep and cooking time under an hour!) See for yourselves!

Butternut squash with Lentil Stew

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO LENTIL STEW

Prepare the squash:  Cook either in the microwave, or the oven.  For the microwave, prick the squash all over with a fork (so it won’t explode!).  Place in microwave safe dish with about an inch of water in the bottom, and microwave on high for 6 minutes at a time, for 18 minutes. Poke the squash with a knife, it should be pierce the skin easil.  Take out and set aside.  When you can handle touching the squash, cut it lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds in the center and discard.  To cook in an oven, cut the squash in half (careful, its very hard!) Scoop out seeds and place cut side down in a pyrex dish, with an inch of water, and cook, covered with foil for 30-45 minutes until skin is easily pierced with a fork.

spaghetti squash 2

Then scrape out the flesh of the squash, it should come apart in strands, and place in a serving dish.

spaghetti squash 1

Prepare the lentils:

1 lb. lentils, (about 2 cups) checked for foreign matter, and rinsed well

6 C. water

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. Herbs de Provence

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)

1 Tbsp. maple syrup (or sugar)

8.5 oz. jar of julienned sun dried tomato, packed in oil, drain well

Add lentils and water to a 3 or 4 quart saucepan.  Bring water to a boil.  Add the onion, garlic, herbs, oil and salt, and reduce heat to simmer. Mostly cover with lid.

lentils

After about 10 minutes add the tomato paste by the tablespoon, stirring to incorporate.  Add maple syrup. and continue to cook another 10 minutes.  Taste lentils at this point to see if they are tender.  Don’t let them get mushy, unless you like them mushy.  If they are still hard and the liquid is all absorbed add another half cup of water, and continue to simmer.  Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and simmer some more.  When the lentils are tender to your liking, spoon over the spaghetti squash and enjoy!  My kids could not wait for me to take the picture so they could dig in!

Daniel with Lentils